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Got a support call from a few recent converts in the past days over this and they flagged it as important to get fixed for them.
Surfing about I found many pointers that Office 2008 does obey the settings in the international settings under system preferences, but I knew it didn't for date formats while inputting them (output is controlled with the format cells as usual, no problem there).
I was about to complain loudly to Microsoft's mac team, when I did reopen that panel and saw there the text:
This region is incompatible with some older applications. Such applications will use the most recent compatible region.
Now wait, Excel 2008 was made in 2007 ... not an old application for Leopard at all. It's even aware of Intel CPUs and something I'd been waiting desperately for when it came out to get rid of rosetta.
But yes indeed: switching to UK and then immediately back to Belgium (where I live) does fix the input of dates in Excel 2008 to be DD/MM as dates should be out here.
Now if they only had that bit of info in the FAQ over at Microsoft. Or better yet: if they had not used obsolete APIs to build office on -hey maybe that's the reason why Office is about the only program I know that doesn't play nice with spaces ...
Just trying to increase the odds of somebody finding this faster than I did when I needed it.