Share article:
Share article:

Is this Belgium’s longest heatwave? 6 questions answered

Credit: Belga

As Belgium is currently experiencing its seventh consecutive day of heatwave and temperatures are expected to stay up for a few more days, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about Belgium’s heatwaves past and present.

What is a heatwave exactly?

The Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI) speaks of a heatwave when the maximum temperatures in the Uccle measuring station reach at least 25 degrees for at least five days in a row. For at least three of those days, temperatures have to reach 30 degrees.

A heatwave continues until the day a maximum temperature of 25°C is no longer reached.

Is this Belgium’s longest heatwave so far?

No, in fact, this is still quite short compared to Belgium’s records. The top five of longest heatwaves in Belgium all lasted at least two weeks, according to weather reporter Frank Deboosere, who collected figures dating back to 1901.

This is the top five of the longest heatwaves in Belgium, according to the data.

19 days: 10 August to 28 August 1947
17 days: 22 June to 8 July 1976 and 5 August to 21 August 1997
16 days: 15 July to 30 July 2006
15 days: 20 July to 3 August 1911 and 13 July to 27 July 2018
14 days: 9 July to 22 July 1921 and 22 July to 4 August 1947

Is this heatwave breaking records in Belgium?

Yes. On Saturday 8 August, a temperature of 34.3 degrees was recorded in Uccle, which was later adjusted to 35.9 degrees, half a degree above the previous August record.

However, this was not Belgium’s hottest day ever. The absolute heat record was reached on 25 July 2019, when a temperature of 39.7 degrees was reached.

The world heat record dates back to July 10, 1913, when a temperature of 56.7°C was recorded in Furnace Creek, Death Valley, United States.

Related News:


Which summer had the most heatwaves?

In 1947, four heatwaves were recorded, the first on starting in May, the last one in August.

7 days: 29 May to 4 June
6 days: 24 June to 29 June
14 days: 22 July to 4 August
19 days: 10 August to 28 August

In second place is last year, with three official heatwaves recorded in 2019. Third is the year before, with two heatwaves in 2018.

Do heatwaves happen every year?

No. Often, there are many consecutive “cool” summer years. The longest period without one in Belgium lasted 16 years, from 1959 to 1975.

From 1976 to 1990, there was no heatwave for a period of 14 years, and between 1911 and 1921, Belgium recorded no heatwaves for ten years.

Are heatwaves more frequent than they used to be?

Yes. Since 2015, Belgium records at least one heatwave every summer, and sometimes even two or three.

From 2011 to 2020, Belgium recorded ten heatwaves.
In the decade from 1941 to 1950, eight heatwaves were recorded, of which half took place in the summer of 1947.

Between 1990 and 2000, six heatwaves occurred.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...