Belgium has a very old stock market history and is the birthplace of the “Bourse” concept: in the thirteenth century, merchants used to gather in the house of “Van den Bürse”, a family in the city of Bruges, in the northwest of the country, to do business. The history of the Brussels Stock Exchange (BSE) begins in the early days of the nineteenth century, when Napoleon Bonaparte established by decree the first exchange – the Bourse de Fonds Publics de Bruxelles in 1801.
By 1858, the bourse was flourishing as a result of the economic and industrial boom So the municipality of Brussels began construction of a new stock exchange which was inaugurated in 1874. The building that houses the Brussels Stock Exchange does not have a distinct name, though it is usually called the Bourse/Beurs. In April 1999, BXS was established as the merger of Belfox (Belgian Futures and Options Exchange), the Brussels stock exchange and CIK (the central securities depository).
On 22 September 2000, the BSE merged with the stock exchanges of Paris, Lisbon and Amsterdam to form Euronext N.V., the first pan-European exchange for equities and derivatives, with common trading and clearing of all products, and was renamed Euronext Brussels. From the regulatory standpoint, companies traded on Euronext are listed on their home markets, but their shares are now traded on a single platform spanning all participating countries.
The most well known index on the Brussels Stock Exchange is the BEL20. It now belongs to the NYSE Euronext group, the first global stock exchange. BEL20 is a real-time basket index that reflects the continuous price evolution of the 20 most liquid Belgian shares listed on Euronext Brussels and serves as the blue-chip index for the Brussels stock market.
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