Living in Belgium

The city Antwerp with its perks and its flaws

Skyline van Antwerpen

The city where I was born and raised, loved to bits but started to be bored by is Antwerp. The city has a lot to offer, nightlife, shopping, and culinary delights, and they are all parts of the city. Besides all the nice things the city has to offer, there are some less pleasant parts of it; criminality, for one, is also part of this beautiful city. The crime rate is not that high, which is a good thing; however, this doesn’t mean we can deny crime in this beautiful city. The local population of Antwerp that has their residence here speak Dutch as their mother tongue; the local accent is called Antwerps, which is just the national language of Dutch spoken in the local dialect. The local culture and history are rich, with famous painters, friendly, lovely historical stories, some very nice museums, and great places to eat and drink. As I was born and raised in this beautiful city, I feel that the nightlife was excellent and is becoming less abundant. Still, I think it’s more of a generational adjustment than an actual geographical change. The city offers some of the best shopping experiences in my opinion and if you know where to look you will find everything you need and much more. The city is filled with hidden gems and also nice places to go for a walk in the park, a drink next to the river or a midnight stroll on the small local beach (Linkeroever) it’s all possible in this nice city filled with charisma and experiences. Moving to belgium will not let you down when you choose to settle in Antwerp.

Meir Antwerpen

The seaside

appartement knokke

Life in Belgium is not complete when you did not yet go to the seaside. The seaside has a lot of things to offer, including fresh mussels, sandy beaches, and the dirty, cold North sea. The coast has many different cities, which all have their specific characteristics. As a non-Belgian citizen, you will not have a big clue on this, but for example, the town of Knokke is related to rich people, and Blankenberge is where all the older adults are. Living in Belgium gives you an excellent opportunity to go for a stroll on the coast in summer and winter. The benefit of the beach is that it is warmer in winter and more fresh in summer than in the center of the country. This provides ideal circumstances in December and July-August when the children are on holiday for a weekend getaway to the Belgian coast. On the seaside will not be many expats as they flock to Brussels or other bigger cities more often than not. Of course, some of the best dishes to look out for on the seaside are mussels which are most likely to be fresh from the north sea. French and German are some of the most spoken languages when you walk around on the shore here. Expats are not to be found very often as most of the expats are flocking to Brussels and Antwerp and maybe some other bigger towns like Gent and Leuven might have an expats scene too. Moving to belgium will not let you down when you choose to settle on the seaside.

oostende

The city of Brussels

When you move to Belgium, most likely, you will end up first in Brussels; Brussels is a lovely, very hectic, and always an alive city. The city is a nightmare for traffic; consider this if you have anywhere to go by car in the capital of Belgium. There are a lot of great cultures to be found around the city. The most spoken language here is French, but more often than not, you will see that people speak Dutch as well.

Brussel

The expat community is obv. The biggest in this capital city, so if you are looking for any international communities, you will most likely find them here. Life here is very vibrant and busy. Moving to Belgium doesn’t need to include Brussels, but more times than not, it will, as you will most likely arrive in this dynamic capital. The city has. A lot to offer, just like Antwerp. There is a fantastic amount of excellent restaurants and great shopping possibilities. The party scene is also huge in this city. Brussels has a lot to offer, and depending on your preference, you will have the option in Brussels. As the life of an expat looks very different of the life of a local you might find yourself a bit lonely or bored, its always a good idea to use meetup or other meet apps to meet other expats so you can get rid of living a lonely life in such a big and vibrant international city. You can find also a lot of international restaurants and Belgians will be able to guide you to the best snack bar as well. 

Luxembourg (forests and greens)

Luxembourg scenery

This European country is just another city in Belgium; it has a lot to offer. While technically not part of Belgium entirely, we cannot ignore Luxembourg; Luxembourg is a nice quiet part of Belgium, speaking natively french. If you want to visit a friendly city full of lovely architecture and excellent social security, you can always visit Luxembourg. The city has a lot to offer and a friendly lifestyle, and you can find the perfect accommodation when looking through Airbnb or booking.com, or any other hotel booking service. Another great thing about Luxembourg is the tax system and taxes in general, which are relatively low compared to Belgium’s.Belgium also has a province called Luxembourg which must be one of the greenest territories of Belgium. Belgians themselves come here often to enjoy the green and peaceful scenery.

 Moving here would be a very quiet choice but the downside is that it is very remote and you are relatively far from everything. If you can cope with this then it might be a good idea to relocate and register in the quietness of Luxembourg. Moving here will make it harder to make new friends and speaking with people will be happening less than in the more international regions like Brussels, Antwerp and other big cities. The official language here is French but you might some people talk German as well in the local community. The region has lesser services like public transport and you will need to register for certain activities. It’s best to get involved in the local community that will help you to settle when you’re moving to this area.

Luxembourg old and new

The rest of the country

There is, of course, a hell of a lot more to do than just Antwerp and the seaside. This website could be filled with 1000s upon 1000s of articles about every little thing to do in Belgium; however, as this website does not only explain everything to do in Belgium, we will keep it short and straightforward. Gentse feesten is another event which is a yearly event full of fun and joy. It is ten days of partying in the city of Gent. The language spoken in the Flemish (North) region is Flemish, and in the Wallonia side (South), the language is French. There is a small part that speaks German, but for the sake of this article, we will not cover this. In the whole country, you will find local dialects everywhere you go. The local food is generally very similar all over the country, with the difference of honey being mainly produced in Wallonia. 

Leuven

Life in Belgium is fast-paced compared to Mediterranean countries or warmer climates. The government is very well and nicely organized. Health insurance is easily acquired, with AXA being one of the biggest insurance companies in Belgium. The healthcare system is very well organized, too; if you have health insurance, a doctor’s visit will be like 80% refunded after returning the doctor visit receipt to your health insurance. If you are employed, you don’t need to worry about social security as it is taken care of by your employer. If you ever want to start self-employment, you must take particular actions to take care of this. Public transport is pretty well organized, and you can get everywhere relatively quickly using public transport, including trains, trams, and buses. Living in Belgium with transportation is relatively easy everywhere, if you don’t own any transportation yet as an expat you will want to live in the busy cities where a car can make you able to live further away so you can reduce the costs of housing and other services like healthcare etc.

The education system

The education system in Belgium is pretty evolved. When a child is three years old, he goes to the early school system, which consists of 3 years, making the child ready to enter the education system. When the child is six years old, it goes to primary school, which consists of 6 years until the child becomes 12 years old and is getting ready to enter high school. High school lasts six years; after high school, the child can opt to attend university or graduate school. 

The education system is generally free with the exemption that the accommodation needs to get organized. The free education system works well and is very organized. This is a part of life in Belgium. As I mentioned earlier, the national languages are French, German, and Dutch. The primary language used in the education system will also depend on the location. In Brussels and Wallonia, the primary language used in the education system is French; when you are based in any flemish part of the country, you can expect the child to be taught in Dutch.

universiteit antwerpen

The political system of Belgium

The government of Belgium consists of 6 different governments. Surprisingly Belgium also had the longest time in the history of any country running without a government. The longest streak was 541 days without any form of government on 25 December 2010; the record was achieved. This news went around the world. The Belgians were somewhat ashamed by this news, but it was to be expected when none of the different political sides nor governments function in harmony ever. Locally and abroad, people know that the Belgian government is complicated. Other regions make it hard to work in harmony when we understand that the flemish parts and the Wallonia ones are always in conflict about many different subjects. The tax is one of the subjects none of the regions will ever be in agreement about. Besides tax is, there also foreign policies, social security, the health care system, and, of course, one of the biggest stumblings that block immigration policies. On a national level, the political government isn’t very productive in general; every Belgian complains about it and the funds these premiers and “chosen ones” receive;

politiek

I reckon the same complaining happens in every country, so let’s forget about this. As the center of Europe, Brussels also hosts the European parliament. Moving to Belgium or living in Belgium would not confront you with the political system of Belgium per se. However, still, I reckon it might come in handy to have a little understanding of how things work in this small but complicated country. Belgium can be easily enjoyed without ever getting into any challenging topics like politics, promising that our small country is one of the better countries to enjoy beer, wine, fries, and chocolate. I never imagined I could fit politics and beer into one sentence, but here we are.

The housing market in Belgium

Property in Belgium is around the median price of real estate in Europe, with apartments going for around 1500 euros per square meter as a standard. The standard of Belgian quality housing is decent. You can expect to use materials that will last at least 25 years. Building your own house is some Belgian culture too, and there goes a saying that every Belgian is born with a stone in his stomach, meaning that every Belgian would like to build their own house. The exact phrase has been heard in many other countries like Slovenia. Solar panels can become subsidized if you want to go green in Belgium. More and more property is getting built with sustainability in the back of the mind. . When you decide to buy property in Belgium, you will need to take care of your residence and think about where you would live for the foreseeable future and raise your family. Depending on the location, you will pay more or less for the same amount of square meters; however, your property will increase in value, and you will generally speak be in a quieter neighborhood the higher the price of the premium. As mentioned earlier, life in Belgium is fast-paced, so get ready to rush in the week. You will need to register yourself with the healthcare system, too; there are two main ones and a few smaller ones; the two most prominent are christlike mutualities and socialistic mutualities.

Living in Belgium also comes with certain liabilities as high taxation. Your employer will pay approximately 50% of your salary to taxes when employed. When you are self-employed, you also pay around half of your income to taxation. This is on the higher side of the European standard. Other European countries like Spain and Portugal have lower tariffs. If you work online and your primary income is generated outside of Belgium, you still tax liable if you live more than 183 days of the year in Belgium; if I remember correctly, the tax ruling in big lines explained. Foreign income is not taxed when you, for example, live in Portugal and have your residency in Portugal. Moving to a tax-friendly country can always become more beneficial; however, for this article, we will not get into detail on this subject. Your residence will always decide your tax liabilities. Home insurance is another thing to consider when settling for a life in Belgium if you choose to build yourself. The insurance that you will acquire depends mainly on your safety tolerance. You can stay pretty cheap if you don’t mind the risk of, for example, burglaries. The primary guidance would be to search until you are satisfied with the options. Go for the one that the search provided. When you sign the insurance, you can sleep on both ears—a healthy way of living with these services as part of your overall living standard.

belgische huizenmarkt

Belgian food

Living in Belgium has the benefit of experience some of the best wines (french) some of the best cheeses (french and Dutch) and of course some of the best beers locally created and fries and chocolate. Living in belgium makes up for a nice amount of culinary hoighlights as we have mainly French cuisine in Belgium. Moving to belgium will make you watch out for your weight as it will be easy to add these hard to remove kilograms. Live in Belgium goes hand in hand with fine dining and great alcoholic beverages. You will need to take care of yourself to not go crazy with these lovely delicious culinary specialties. Belgians know how to enjoy their life with some of the best food choices but also some of the worst snacks. The most famous snack in Belgium are fries which is the golden fatmaker in my opinion. Living in this part of the world will make you need to eat from the snackbar at least once every quarter to include yourself in the local r the official way of belgian traditional food. live in belgium is not complete without a snackbar close.

Belgische friet

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