The platform for Belgium's international community

Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Polygamy continues in Belgium

09:04 06/03/2014

The practice of having more than one spouse continues to occur in Belgium, despite the fact it has been prohibited since 2004. Although municipal records show that enrollment is falling dramatically since 2012, there were still 31 polygamous marriages registered across municipalities over the past six years. Of the 31, 14 of the marriages were in Flemish municipalities, 11 were in Brussels and 6 in Wallonia. The issue of polygamy came up during question period in parliament, which has shone a light back on the practice.

Polygamy was once permitted in Antwerp as a way of controlling it and monitoring the practice. In 2011 it was revealed that 27 people were enlisted in a polygamous marriage in the city. However, in 2013 all of those in Antwerp registered in a polygamous marriage were ordered to deregister.

The practice became an issue in 2005 when a widow was informed that she would have to forfeit half of her pension to a second wife living in Morocco. 

Written by Andrew King