History

The first chamber of commerce was founded in Marseille in 1599. Chambers for trade and industry developed all over Europe from the 17th century through the endeavour of merchants to bring their knowledge together into an organisation able to defend and promote the economic interests of their city and region without self-interest and without any distinction. This origin and the specificity of their mission has allowed the chambers of commerce to survive, and to develop further throughout political, social and economic turbulence. Local and regional circumstances have led to certain chamber networks having a public-law status while other have a private-law one.

Chambers of commerce nowadays form a worldwide network of 10,000 chamber sharing that same mission and philosophy. This global presence and continually reacting to ever-changing socio-economic context means chambers of commerce, at present and in the future, continue to play a crucial role in local, national and international economic development as service-providing organisations, and as advocates of the business world.

Chambers of Commerce in Belgium:

1665

founding of the Caemere van de Negotie ende Commercie in Bruges

1791

(NL) afschaffing van kamers van koophandel en gilden onder Frans bewind

17th - 18th century

founding of chambers of commerce in various cities

1802

Napoleon restores the chambers of commerce

1815

chambers of commerce are official organisations under the authority of the Dutch regime

1841

a royal decree defines the activities, rights and duties of the chambers

1875

government abolishes chambers under the pretext that the chambers prioritise regional and even personal interests, yet merchants and business people throughout the country quickly react and found commercial associations that often acquire the name chamber of commerce.

1st August 1875

founding by the local chambers of the National Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Belgium

1998

tart of the accreditation programme for local chambers of commerce, leading to several mergers among smaller chambers

1999

Federation assumes activities from the Association of Belgian Chambers of Commerce Abroad

2004

start of the accreditation programme for Belgian chambers of commerce abroad

2004

founding of the Voka alliance: collaboration between Flemish chambers of commerce and the Flemish employers association

2006

founding of Beci: alliance of the Brussels Chamber of Commerce and the Brussels employers association

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