During the 1960’s, Belgium’s growth reached its maximum peak within the century. This was thanks to many factors.

(Kegels, 2015)

In this graph we can visually represent the growth rate of the GDP per capita throughout the second half of the XX th century. As we can see, the Real GDP per capita grew a lot between 1961 and 1964 before it started to fall.

  • It recovered during the second half of the decade, until it reached its peak in the period 1968-1969. However, this peak led to a drastic fall, which was probably caused due to several economic factors, the main one being the oil crisis.
  • During the 1980’s, as can be seen in the article regarding this economic period, the Economy of Belgium tried to recover from the downfall, which is the reason why there are a lot of fluctuations but without great deviations from the trend.

In 1993 we can see that the growth decreases greatly, which is probably related to the tense social climate at the time, due to the modification of the Belgian Constitution. After this downfall, the growth rate has recovered, with the exception of the year 2009, which is exactly one year after the 2008 crisis which affected most States.

Firstly, output growth accelerated; labor and capital became really efficient; investment increased, starring a boom in this decade; and the openness of the economy, which led to a high level of exports, also contributed to this golden period.

Regarding the last factor, the performance on international markets led to a division of Belgian sectors: the open sector, which was the manufacturer sector and was dedicated to the transformation of raw materials, and the sheltered sector, which included construction, transport and services sectors.

Moreover, there was an increase in government spending which led to a higher control by the government. The Belgian State expected to control that high level of spending. However, it was forced to borrow through the School Pact of 1958.

A main characteristic of this period is the high dynamism of the Belgian economy. This was thanks to its membership of the EEC, which supposed an abolition of all the barriers that the country had had to face in previous periods.

Besides, there was an exponential increase of foreign investment in Flanders, leading to an increase in output and income in this region. The opposite happened with Wallonia, which was hardly damaged by the Belgian adherence to the ECSC. This was because the organization forced Belgium to reduce the production of coal.

In 1959, the Expansion Laws were created in order to stimulate inward and domestic investment through the guarantee of loans and interest subsidies among other facts.

In relation to the labor market, there were an increase in negotiations between trade unions and employers. Consequently, there was an increase in social security development. Furthermore, all the factors explained before contributed to a decrease in unemployment, something which enhanced the bargain power of employees, who achieved an increase in wages.

Captura de pantalla 2018-12-11 15.13.47

(Centre for Economic Policy Research, 1996)

In this graph we can see the division between the open and sheltered sectors of the economy, and we can see that the growth rate of output during the golden sixties affected both sectors, but had a greater impact in the Open one.

  • The most interesting fact about this graph is how the Open sector is severely changed when other States were affected by a specific event. As an example, if we look at the years of the oil crisis, more specifically at the years 1974-1976, we can see that the Sheltered sector had minor fluctuations while the Open sector suffered greatly, reaching its worse economic growth rate in the period.

In conclusion, we can say that thanks to these factors, the economy of Belgium excelled during this period. However, it does not imply that the economy of the country continued with this growth trend, as demonstrated by the analysis of the graphs. For further information: 2.3. OIL CRISIS


  1. Kegels, B. B. (2015). Labour productivity growth in Belgium . Brussels: Federal Planning Bureau. Obtenido de https://www.plan.be/admin/uploaded/201510021314080.WP_1506_11090.pdf
  2. Centre for Economic Policy Research. (1996). Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945.Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: Cambridge University Press


  1. Centre for Economic Policy Research. (1996). Economic Growth in Europe Since 1945.Cambridge; New York; Melbourne: Cambridge University Press

One thought on “2.2. GOLDEN SIXTIES

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s