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. When her husband, 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.
- In 1861 a Friendship Treaty was initiated; it was ratified in 1862.
- In 1895 a Trade and Shipping Treaty was signed.
- A double tax treaty was signed between Mexico and Belgium on November 24, 1992. It was published in the Diario Oficial de la Federación of January 6, 1997 in Mexico. The treaty entered into force on January 1, 1997. For withholding tax purposes, the treaty became effective on January 1, 1998. Concerning other taxes on income, the treaty will be effective for taxable periods ending on or after December 31, 1998.
- 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)
Just after the end of World War I, Mexico placed large orders for arms and ammunition from both Belgium and Spain. In 2007, Mexico ranked 38th among Belgium’s trade partners. Belgian exports to Mexico were EUR 748 million, up from EUR 707 million in 2006; they grew by 5.8%. Belgian exports to Mexico accounted for 0.2% of Belgium’s total sales. Belgian imports grew from EUR 812 million in 2006 to EUR 1,050 million in 2007; they grew by 29.3%. 0.3% of Belgian imports came from Mexico. The American/Belgian company Anheuser-Busch InBev owns a 50 percent share in Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer and owner of the global Corona brand. In 2014, two-way trade between both nations amounted to $2.6 billion USD.
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.
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. ...
- Hubert Howe Bancroft, William Nemos, Thomas Savage, and Joseph Joshua Peatfield, History of Mexico v. 14 (The History company, 1888), 315.
- "Belgium in Mexico". 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.". 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 ...
- "Mexico: Treaty Developments – Belgium, Mexico Entry Into Force". Deloitte & Touche. April 1, 1997. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- Visita Oficial del Primer Ministro de Bélgica (in Spanish)
- "Protests Made To Belgium". New York Times. November 19, 1919. Retrieved 2009-06-11.
- "Belgium's Trading Relations with Mexico" (PDF). Abh-ace.org. Retrieved 2009-06-09.
- "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.
- Mexican Ministry of the Economy: Belgium (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". 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.
- Embassy of Belgium in Mexico City (in Dutch, French and Spanish)
- Embassy of Mexico in Brussels (in Dutch, French and Spanish)