• Astrid Coates


The most distinguishing feature of the cooperative in Belgium, compared to other company forms, is its variable capital share. Furthermore, this company structure caters for many tastes: for those wishing to use the structure for its legal flexibility, it offers the possibility to work with multiple voting rights, with different kinds of partners linked to different rights. For those with rather more idealistic aims, keeping the cooperative idea firmly in their minds, there is a wider scope for made-to-measure opportunities. Over the years, the Belgian legislator tried to find ways to focus more on the ideals and principles of cooperative entrepreneurship. Those who give preference to the true cooperative principles can turn to the National Council for Cooperatives' accreditation. The cooperative company, in combination with the social purpose label, also provides an interesting opportunity for founders who are looking for a legal vehicle with a wider social purpose. In this chapter the flexible cooperative law in Belgium, facilitating the freedom of founders, will be analyzed.


Limited Liability General Assembly Legal Form Social Purpose Royal Decree 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The author would like to thank Peter Bosmans (Febecoop), Marleen Denef (Curia Lawyers), Anneleen Steeno (Intui Lawyers), Lieve Jacobs (Coopburo) and Wim Van Opstal (CESOC University College Leuven), for helpful discussions and comments. All potential errors are the sole responsibility of the author.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for social and cooperative entrepreneurship (CESOC)University College LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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