The country's King Philippe, who was joined by Queen Mathilde and Prime Minister Charles Michel, led a minute's silence at Zaventem airport at 7:58am to mark the time when two young Belgian Muslims blew themselves up with suitcase bombs in attacks claimed by Islamic State.
Commemorations also took place at the Maelbeek underground station where a third bomber detonated his bag on a train shortly after 9am on March 22 last year. The king laid a wreath beside a commemorative wall covered in graffiti left by passers-by in the days after the terror attacks.
A monument to all the victims titled 'Wounded but standing in the face of the unthinkable' was inaugurated close to the headquarters of the European Union. EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said the attacks "struck at the very heart of Europe" but had failed to undermine Europeans' faith in democratic freedoms.
To hate and to violence, you responded with dignity
German Lars Waetzmann, who lost his wife Jennifer, spoke at the remembrance ceremony at Zaventem airport after the king and queen, government ministers, air and rescue staff listened to a roll call of the 16 victims who died in the first two attacks.
Waetzmann, who was due to fly to New York with his partner before the tragic incident, said: "Many times I ask myself 'What if?'
"What if we had left 10 minutes later? What if we had driven a bit slower? What if? But it happened."
Belgium marked the first anniversary of the bomb attacks that killed 32 people
King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium led a minute's silence
He also recounted how a stranger had laid a jacket under his head and stayed by his side.
"It shows that next to horrible things that happened that day, beautiful things can happen," he said.
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Belgian Eddy Van Calster, who lost his wife Fabienne Vansteenkiste, an airport worker, sang a song he wrote for her, called "Stars".
Brussels terrorist attacks Wed, March 22, 2017
The Brussels airport and Metro bombings in pictures, including the aftermath of the tragic scenes.
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A member of the civil protection holds his face in his hands as he come back from the Maalbeek metro station in Brussels
A bronze abstract sculpture which previously sat near the check-in desks was unveiled in a new site by the approach road to the terminal. It still bears marks from the explosions, which were carried out by individuals linked to Brussels-based militants who had killed 130 people in Paris four months earlier.
Kristen Verellen, who lost her husband Johan Van Steen in Brussels, read a poem. She said: "March 22 – it's also my birthday – at first sight not a cause for celebration; and yet still love triumphs."
King Philippe, who was present at all the ceremonies, addressed the families of victims: "To hate and to violence, you responded with dignity."
Prime Minister Charles Michel said reforms have been made in security and intelligence
Last year two young Belgian Muslims blew themselves up at Zaventem airport at 7:58am
Prime Minister Charles Michel said in an interview that the Belgian state, which was criticised in France and elsewhere for failing to monitor large numbers of its citizens returning from fighting in Syria, had learned lessons and made reforms in security and intelligence.
"Belgium is on a sounder footing in security terms than it was a year ago," he said.
"But even today I can't say there is zero risk. We know that whatever we do, when people are ready to kill themselves and blindly destroy as many lives as possible, we cannot have perfect security."