"Two in three marriages in Belgium will fail"

Two in three couples that tied the knot in Belgium in 2009, will file for divorce. That's according to calculations made by the Federal Economy Office (FOD Economie). There are regional differences however.

Statistics show that more and more marriages end up in a divorce. In 1960, the percentage was 6.7 but this increased to 9.6 percent in 1970 in order to reach 20.6 percent in 1980 and even 31.9 percent in 1990. One decade later, in 2000, this number reached a staggering 45.7 percent.

New legislation concerning divorce also triggered a rise. After new regulations were announced in 1985 and 2008, the number rocketed one year later. The new regulations made divorce less complicated. This leads the FOD Economie to the conclusion that 2 in 3 couples that got married in 2009, are poised to break the bond sooner or later.

In general, Flemings have fewer failed marriages than Walloon citizens. This number amounts to 50.6 percent and 64.3 percent respectively. It's difficult to make estimations about the number of divorces in the Greater Brussels Region, as the Brussels figures also include statistics about failed marriages abroad. This makes that the Brussels divorce figures are artificially high. This also influences the country's average of 64.5 percent.

"We look differenty at breaking up"

Dimitri Mortelmans, a sociologist working at the University of Antwerp, says that divorce used to be a taboo, but that this has changed. "The main cause is a change in human values. We think differently about marriage than 30 years ago. In the beginning, people wanted to split up but this was difficult because there was this taboo. However, this has disappeared during the decades which makes that the number of divorces is seeing a sharp rise."