The union's name was formed by joining the first two or three letters of each member country's name-Belgium; Netherlands and Luxembourg - and was first used to name the customs agreement that initiated the union (signed 1944). It is now used in a more general way to refer to geographic, economic and cultural grouping of the three countries.
The treaty between the Benelux countries establishing the Benelux Economic Union was limited to a period of years. The original establishing treaty, set to expire in 201 was replaced by a new legal framework (called the Treaty revising the Treaty establishing the Benelux Economic Union), which was signed on 17 June 2008. The new treaty has no set time limit and the name of the Benelux Economic Union was changed to Benelux Union to reflect the broad scope on the union. Five Benelux institutions remain:
1. The Benelux Committee of Ministers
2. The Benelux Council
3. The Benelux Parliament
4. The Benelux Court of Justice
5. The Benelux Secretariat General
Beside these five institutions, the Benelux Organization! Intellectual Property is also present in this treaty.