Resources

The King's Civil List shows all the resources that the Nation places at the disposal of the Head of State in order to enable him to carry out his royal function in complete moral and material independence.

On the one hand, it contains an amount of money, called "dotation", fixed once and for all and, on the other hand, it gives the King a right of usage of the royal residences in order to enable him to continue to provide continuous representation of the country with the necessary dignity and prestige.

Top

The financial resources

The Civil List

The Civil List, as a budget allocation, must enable the King to commit in total independence all the expenditure inherent in the exercise of the royal office. These include mainly staff costs (salaries, allowances, and social security contributions). As to the operating costs, they are mainly the administration costs, heating and maintenance of royal residences and furniture, the vehicle fleet, as well as the personal and representation expenses of the King and Queen.

The Civil List is therefore not a gift to the King and still less an allowance for performing the kingly office. The Civil List must enable the King to carry out his constitutional tasks.

As the Civil List is determined for the duration of a reign, when it is set by law, it is in essence an act looking to the future. The law setting the Civil List of King Albert II provided mechanisms that ensure that purchasing power will be maintained, and take account of the actual changes in salary costs.

Top

Setting the Civil List

The law of 6 November 1993 sets the Civil List for the duration of the reign of King Albert II and stipulates (extracts):

"Article 1 The Civil List is set at two hundred and forty-four million francs (244,000,000 francs, or 6,048,604 euro) for the duration of the reign of His Majesty Albert II.

Article 4. The amount set in Article 1 (244,000,000 francs, or 6,048,602 euro) is linked to purchasing power on 1 August 1993, i.e. to the retail price index for the month of July 1993.

This amount will be adapted to change in the retail price index once one of the pivot indices is exceeded. "Pivot indices" are deemed to be the numbers belonging to a series, the first of which is 116.08 and where each subsequent number is obtained by multiplying the previous one by 1.02.

Article 5. The amount set in Article 1 is revalued every three years from 1994 onward, based on the change in real salaries in the general administrative services of the federal state, and increases in employers' social security contributions."

Top

Breakdown of the Civil List

The average breakdown for the years 1995-2007 of the expenditure on the Civil List can be shown schematically as follows:

Staff costs 66,6 %
Maintenance of residences and furniture 12,5 %
Activities, visits ... 5,5 %
Heating, gas, electricity, water 4,9 %
Operation of the administration 2,6 %
Household costs 1,6 %
Vehicle fleet 4,5 %
Miscellaneous (insurance, etc.) 1,8 %

Top

The King's private property

A distinction should be made between the Civil List and the King's private property: these belong to him personally, as a private individual, just like any other citizen. For example, this may concern property that he has received by inheritance. This property is managed in the way that the King deems fit. They are subject to the same rules as any property of any Belgian subject, particularly from the tax viewpoint.

Top

The  Dotations

The Federal State has decided to grant a "dotation" to various members of the Royal Family.

Her Majesty Queen Fabiola

Law of 6 November 1993.
"Article 2. From 1 August 1993, the public Treasury shall grant an annual lifetime "dotation" of 45,000,000 francs (1,115,520.86 euro to Her Majesty Queen Fabiola. "
This amount is linked to the retail price index of July 1993.

His Royal Highness Prince Philippe

Law of 7 May 2000.

Article 2. From 1 January 2000, the public Treasury shall grant an annual "dotation" of 31,800,000 francs / 788,401.41 euro to His Royal Highness Prince Philippe.

This amount is linked to the retail price index of December 1999.

Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid

Law of 7 May 2000.

Article 3. From 1 January 2000, the public Treasury shall grant an annual "dotation" of 11,000,000 francs / 272,682.88 euro to Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid.

This amount is linked to the retail price index of December 1999.

His Royal Highness Prince Laurent

Law of 7 May 2000.

"Article 3bis. From 1 January 2001, the public Treasury shall grant an annual "dotation" of 272,682.88 francs / 788,401.41 euro to His Royal Highness Prince Laurent.

This amount is linked to the retail price index of June 2001 .

Top

Details about the Dotations

The Law of 22 December 2008 specifies that:

"Art. 2. Article 4 of the Law of 16 November 1993 establishing the Civil List for the duration of the reign of King Albert II, awarding an annual grant and annuity to Her Majesty Queen Fabiola and awarding an annual grant to His Royal Highness Prince Philippe, is replaced by the following:

"Art. 4. The amounts referred to in articles 1 and 2, as adapted on 31 December 2008 pursuant to this Law, shall be adapted on 1 January 2009 in the same way as that provided for in the Law of 2 August 1971, establishing a system where wages, salaries, pensions, allowances and grants chargeable to the public treasury, certain social benefits, compensation limits to be taken into account for calculating certain employees' social security contributions, and social obligations imposed on the self-employed are linked to the consumer price index."

Art. 3. in article 3a of the Law of 7 May 2000 awarding an annual grant to His Royal Highness Prince Philippe, an annual grant to Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid and an annual grant to His Royal Highness Prince Laurent, inserted by the Law of 13 November 2001, the final paragraph is cancelled.

Art. 4. Article 5 of the same Law is replaced by the following:

"Art. 5. The amounts referred to articles 2, 3 and 3a, as adapted on 31 December 2008 pursuant to this Law, shall be adapted on 1 January 2009 in the same way as that provided for in the Law of 2 August 1971 establishing a system where wages, salaries, pensions, allowances and grants chargeable to the public treasury, certain social benefits, compensation limits to be taken into account for calculating certain employees' social security contributions, and social obligations imposed on the self-employed are linked to the consumer price index."

Top

History of the Civil Lists and Dotations

The following table gives an overview of the amounts, at the beginning of each reign, of the various Civil Lists and "dotations" since 1831.
The amounts at the start of each reign are updated to "1994 francs".

Civil Lists and "Dotations"

Table of updated amounts (1994) at the start of each reign

 

Basic amounts

Amounts

at 1994 prices

HM King Leopold I (1831-1865)

 

 

Civil List

2.751.323
(68.204 €)

502.116.448
(12.447.141€)

"Dotations" (from 1853 onward)

650.000
(16.113 €)

115.960.000
(2.874.573 €)

HM King Leopold II (1865-1909)

 

 

Civil List

3.300.000
(81.805 €)

524.700.000
(13.006.973 €)

"Dotations"

200.000
(4.958€)

31.800.000
(788.301€)

HM King Albert I (1909-1934)

 

 

Civil List

3.300.000
(81.805 €)

588.720.000
(14.593.988 €)

"Dotations"

50.000
(1.239 €)

8.920.000
(221.121 €)

Civil List after the devaluation of 1927 (see Note 1)

9.500.000
(235.499 €)

193.800.000
(4.804.177 €)

HM King Leopold III (1934-1950)

 

 

Civil List

12.000.000
(297.472 €)

289.200.000
(7.169.081 €)

"Dotations"

2.000.000
(49.579 €)

48.200.000
(1.194.847 €)

Contributions by the State 1945-1951

(see Note 2)

 

 

HM King Baudouin (1951-1993)

 

 

Civil List

42.000.000
(1.041.153 €)

226.800.000
(5.622.225 €)

"Dotations"

14.000.000
(347.051 €)

75.600.000
(1.874.075 €)

HM King Albert II

 

 

Civil List

244.000.000
(6.048.602 €)

244.000.000
(6.048.602 €)

"Dotations"

73.800.000
(1.829.454 €)

73.800.000
(1.829.454 €)

Note 1: Following the devaluation of 1927 the Civil List of King Albert I was reduced to 9,500,000 (or 193,800,000 in 1994 value) instead of 23,100,000 (or 471, 240,000 in 1994 value) as proposed initially.

Note 2: From 1945 to 1951, the contributions by the State were granted annually in addition to the Civil List of King Leopold III. The value of this contribution in 1945 was 10,500,000 (or 65,100,000 in 1994 value)

Top

Real estate

  • The law of 6 November 1993 setting the Civil List for the duration of King Albert II's reign (in exactly the same ways as the previous laws setting the Civil List for each of our former Kings):

"Article 6. The royal residences are made available to the King, and the Civil List is to be used for their internal maintenance and furnishing. The fuel necessary for heating the Palace of Brussels will be supplied by the Federal State."

By "royal residences", at present the following are meant:

• the Palace of Brussels
• the Castle of Laeken

These are residences belonging to the state and made available to the King.

  • In the context of the Royal Trust ("Donation Royale - Koninklijke Schenking" ) and in accordance with the wishes of the donor, King Leopold II, certain other residences are also made available to the King. At present, they are the following residences:

• the Castle of Belvédère
• the Stuyvenberg estate
• Villa Clémentine
• the Castle of Ciergnon
• the Castle of Fenffe

These residences belong to the Royal Trust, and therefore, via that Trust, to the state.

  • King Albert II owns in his own name the residence "Le Romarin" located in France in the local authority area of Châteauneuf de Grasse.

As far as the King's personal property is concerned, the Royal Palace published the following notice on 18 October 2001, in response to certain publications: "Several articles and books have been published recently or are due to be published, reporting that the King's fortune amounts to some ten billion, or at least claim that this is a very realistic estimate. The Royal Palace feels it necessary to formally deny this figure of 10 billion (BEF). The King's personal fortune mainly consists of a property located at Châteauneuf de Grasse (France), a yacht named Alpa, and financial investments which are not worth even one-twentieth of the amount published".

Top

Royal Collection

The Royal Collection consists of an extensive range of objets d'art and decorative objects such as sculptures and paintings, as well as furniture, silverware and porcelain. It belongs to the Belgian state, which makes it available to the king.

When the Belgian monarchy was established, the Collection included objets d'art and furniture of French and Dutch origin, which had been used to furnish royal and imperial residences in the Netherlands.

This ensemble was supplemented essentially by the large art collection of King Leopold II, purchased by the state at the time of the King's death. This collection, assembled by King Leopold I and King Leopold II consisted of high-quality objects, mostly of Belgian origin.

That is the reason why it gives a faithful image of the artistic output of Belgium during the nineteenth century. The collection of paintings is representative of the great art collections of the period. Its value is even greater in that it has been conserved in its entirety.

When the Palace of Brussels opens in summer, a part of this collection can be seen. The Empire furniture of the White Rooms covered with Beauvais tapestry or the precious dinner services laid out in the Blue Room are representative examples.

Top

Bibliography:

  • Herman Balthazar & Jean Stengers, "La Dynastie et la Culture en Belgique," Antwerp, Fonds Mercator, 1990.
  • Arlette Smolar, "Le Palais de Bruxelles. Huit siècles d'art et d'histoire", Bruxelles, Crédit Communal, 1991.