Foreign relations between Belgium and Mexico commenced in 1836, when Belgium—itself newly independent—recognized the independence of Mexico. In 1919, the Belgian Chamber of Commerce of Mexico was established. Both nations are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations.
In the 16th century, Belgian tradespeople traveled to what would become Mexico. In 1537, Belgians began Mexico's first brewery. Starting in the 1830s, Belgian engineers worked in Mexico to build the first Mexican railroad with Belgian materials; there were even plans for a Nueva Bélgica, a colony to be built in Chihuahua.
Diplomatic relations were started in 1825 when Mexico established consular relations with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Belgium became independent in 1830, and in 1838, representatives were sent to Mexico. The first consulate-level representatives were sent to Mexico in 1842. In 1861, both nations signed a Treaty of Friendship thus formally establishing diplomatic relations.
In 1861, France, under Emperor Napoleon III, invaded Mexico. While the French were in Mexico (known as the Second French intervention in Mexico), Emperor Napoleon III helped Maximilian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, succeed the throne in 1864. During the Battle of Tacámbaro on 11 April 1865, 300 Belgian Legion soldiers fighting for the Mexican Empire fought against Mexican Republicans (those who fought for President Benito Juárez). Several dozen Belgian soldiers were killed during the battle.
When Emperor Maximilian I faced execution, Belgium instructed its representative, Hoorickx, to assist the Austrian ambassador's ultimately failed efforts to persuade the Mexicans to grant clemency. After the execution of Emperor Maximilian I in 1867, Belgium and Mexico would not establish diplomatic relations until 1879.
In 1890 Belgium invested US$1.2 million to open a silver and copper mine in Michoacán. In 1900 Baron Moncheur, the Belgian Minister in Mexico, wrote a study of the conditions and resources of southern Mexican states while "contributing in great measure to the development of the commercial relations between Belgium and Mexico." In 1903 the National Railroad of Mexico, in which the Mexican Government had a large financial interest, opened a standard gauge line. The turning of the previous narrow gauge railroad into a standard gauge railroad was accomplished with 25,000 tons of rails from Belgium. By 1913 the National Railroad of Mexico was lobbying the government of Victoriano Huerta not to grant any further rights to the Belgian syndicate competing against them. Again in 1926 Belgium was shipping 1,000 tons of steel rails for the railroad.
During World War II, Mexico closed its diplomatic legation in Brussels and moved its diplomatic staff to London where the Belgian government in exile was residing. In 1940 Belgian residents of Mexico supported Hubert Pierlot as Prime Minister of Belgium during the Nazi occupation. After the war, Mexico returned to having a resident diplomatic legation in Brussels and in 1954, both nations raised their diplomatic legations to embassies. That same year, Belgium opened its embassy in Mexico on June 5, 1954. In 1980, Mexican protesters peacefully occupied both the Belgian and Danish embassies to demand freedom for political prisoners and better living conditions for Mexicans.
- King Baudouin of Belgium (1965)
- King (then Prince) Philippe of Belgium (1998, 2003, 2009, 2010)
- Prime Minister Jean-Luc Dehaene (1999)
- Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (2002)
Presidential visits from Mexico to Belgium
- President Luis Echeverría Álvarez (1973)
- President Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado (1985)
- President Carlos Salinas de Gortari (1990, 1993)
- President Vicente Fox (2002)
- President Felipe Calderón (2007)
- President Enrique Peña Nieto (2015)
Belgians in Mexico
- Francis Alÿs, artist known for interdisciplinary works of art, architecture, and social practices.
- Carlos Francisco de Croix, marqués de Croix of Lille was appointed as viceroy (1766–1771). He suppressed native Mexican rebellions in the north of Mexico and expelled the Jesuits on June 25, 1767.
- Edgar Everaert founder of Club Deportivo Guadalajara, popularly known as Chivas
- Pedro de Gante, who was active from 1523 to 1572, devised a catechism in rebus form. He organized a craft industry and art education and built hospitals for the native Mexicans.
- Gustave Maryssael, an electrical engineer started SOFINA. In 1936 he was president of the Companía Mexicana the Luz y Fuerza Motriz and later director-general in 1962.
- Simon Pereyns of Antwerp is considered the founder of Mexican painting, and some of his painted screens are in the Mexico City Metropolitan Cathedral.
- Jan de Vos, historian who became guest-advisor to the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) during the peace talks with the Mexican Government.
- Ronald Zollman, from 1994 to 2002, was music director of the National Autonomous University of Mexico Philharmonic Orchestra.
Both nations have signed several bilateral agreements such as a Treaty of Friendship, Navigation and Commerce (1861); Treaty of Trade and Shipping (1895); Extradition Treaty (1938); Agreement for Cultural Cooperation (1964); Agreement to Avoid Double Taxation and Prevent Tax Evasion in Taxes on Income (1992) and an Air Transportation Agreement (1999).
In 1997, Mexico signed a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union (which includes the Netherlands). In 2018, two-way trade between both nations amounted to $3.3 billion USD. Belgium's main exports to Mexico include: chemical based products; medicine and pharmaceutical products; and automobiles. Mexico's main exports to Belgium include: chemical based products, medical equipment, computers, automobiles, tractors and telephones. Belgian multinational companies such as Agfa-Gevaert, Janssen Pharmaceutica and Katoen Natie operate in Mexico. Belgian company Anheuser-Busch InBev owns a 50% share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer and owner of the global Corona brand.
Resident diplomatic missions
- "Geschiedenis van Belgie en de Belgen in Mexico" (in Dutch). Belgium. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- Loriaux, Florence (1993). De Belgen en Mexico (in Dutch). Leuven University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-90-6186-576-6.
- "Herdenking van de 50e verjaardag van de Belgisch-Mexicaanse diplomatieke relaties op niveau van Ambassadeur" (in Dutch). Belgium. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- Bilateral relations between Mexico and Belgium (in Spanish)
- Phantom crown: the story of Maximilian & Carlota of Mexico. Ediciones Tolteca. 1967.
- "Toad Skin? Fernando del Paso's News From the Empire". The Nation. May 20, 2009. Archived from the original on May 29, 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
Maximilian and his wife, Princess Charlotte of Belgium, were enthroned in 1864. ...
- Michoacán y Bélgica estrecharán lazos de amistad por 150 años de historia (in Spanish)
- Hubert Howe Bancroft, William Nemos, Thomas Savage, and Joseph Joshua Peatfield, History of Mexico v. 14 (The History company, 1888), 315.
- "Belgium in Mexico". The New York Times. March 1, 1890. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- Pan American Union, International Bureau of the American Republics, Bulletin of the Pan American Union v. 8, nos. 1–6 (1900), 839.
- "Belgian Steel Rails for use in Mexico". Los Angeles Times. 1902-01-11. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "Change Now Complete Without Traffic Interference. Steel Trust Bought 25,000 Tons of Rails in Belgium to Fill Mexican National Contract". The New York Times. November 5, 1903. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "General is Hailed as New Man in Mexico". Evening Independent. November 27, 1913. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
Huerta and his dictatorship is tottering today ... the government proposition to grant railroad rights to a Belgian syndicate, ...
- "Belgium Ships Mexico Rails". Los Angeles Times. August 1, 1926. p. E7 (1 page). Retrieved 2009-06-10.
For Road to Link With Capital Paunco River Bridge is Now Under Way Artery to Reach From Coast to Coast
- History of diplomatic relations between Mexico and Belgium (in Spanish) Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
- "Belgians Favor Continuing War". Evening Independent. 1940. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "2 Mexico City Embassies Are Cleared of Protesters". Associated Press in The New York Times. February 24, 1980. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
Unarmed policewomen cleared 24 rural protesters from the Belgian and Danish Embassies tonight, a government ...
- "Flores mexicanas tapizan La Grand-Place de Bruselas". Excélsior (in Spanish). 16 August 2018.
- Guanajuato lleva tapete de flores monumental a Bruselas (Video) (in Spanish). México Desconocido. 16 August 2018. Event occurs at 5 min 35 sec.
- Visita Oficial del Primer Ministro de Bélgica (in Spanish)
- Carlos Francisco de Croix (in Spanish). Enciclopedia de México. 1987.
- "Pedro de Gante" (in Spanish). Franciscans. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
- "Simon Pereyns" (in Spanish). Biografías y Vidas. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- "Ronald Zollman". Archived from the original on 2010-11-13. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
Ronald Zollman was Musical Director of the National Orchestra of Belgium, a position he then held since 1993 with the Philharmonic Orchestra of UNAM in Mexico City.
- Bilateral agreements between Mexico and Belgium (in Spanish)
- Mexican Ministry of the Economy: Belgium (in Spanish)
- Trade between Mexico and Belgium (in Spanish)
- "Anheuser-Busch agrees to sell to InBev for $49.9B". The Business Journal of Milwaukee. July 14, 2008. Retrieved 2009-06-10.
Grupo Modelo said it has been talking with InBev about how the two companies can work together should Grupo Modelo consent to InBev becoming a minority owner of Grupo Modelo through its acquisition of Anheuser-Busch.
- Embassy of Belgium in Mexico City
- Embassy of Mexico in Brussels