Moving to Belgium
Moving to Belgium has never been more exciting. It boasts a rich historical heritage as well as an artistic community, which are both impressively represented in many museums and architectural galleries. From the multicultural streets of Brussels to the quaint architecture in Ghent, the country has a lot to offer.
When it comes to local cuisine, the Belgians do not disappoint. Decadence meets design in the country’s famed chocolate stores. While the warm and welcoming bars offer locally brewed beer. And all of this is set in a picturesque setting. With so many interesting destinations within one country, it’s important to plan ahead before moving. Here’s all the information you need to make sure your move to Belgium is as smooth as the chocolate sauce on your waffle.
When it comes to accommodation, a little online research goes a long way to ensure you find the best house or flat. It is generally easy for expats to find a home in Belgium, as the country sees internationals come and go regularly. Choosing where will come down to where you are living and working or want to settle, as well as the type of property available.
You may want to look at the country from a linguistic perspective. and decide whether to move to the French (South), Flemish (North), or German (East) speaking areas. Using estate agents and personal contacts look at cities individually. Take time to consider whether a central flat or house in the suburbs suits your needs best. Don’t choose to live in Brussels without considering elsewhere, as other places like Bruges or Waterloo are equally charming.
Education in Belgium
The schooling system in Belgium is broad, and reflective of the nation’s multicultural population. When moving here with family you should look at international schools, popular with expats in Belgium. However local schools that offer language courses in whichever language is locally used in addition to English can also be a great choice.
There are also a number of private and state schools with their own set of advantages, and price ranges. For example, if the children attending are younger, it may be worth putting them in a local school as they will learn the local language quicker and qualify for private international schools later on.
School searches can be time consuming and confusing, so why not let our school search experts do all the leg work for you?
The culture in Belgium
With over 11 million inhabitants spread across a fragmented country, the cultural heritage of Belgium is particularly diverse. The country is perfectly balanced between the old and the new. With its medieval castles, northern coastline and bustling political sphere, living in Belgium is like travelling in time.
What’s more, the culinary culture is to die for. Residents of Brussels are spoilt for choice with some of the most delicious national food. Feast your eyes on the chocolate fountains and truffles lined up behind the store windows, while letting the intoxicating smell of warm waffles fill your lungs. Yet if for some reason chocolate isn’t your thing, the oh-so-popular savoury dish moules frites (mussels and chips) will surely win you over.
Good to know
Travelling to Belgium freely is one of the perks of EU nationals, allowing them to work in Belgium without a visa. EU driving licences are also valid here, so all EU citizens should obtain theirs before arriving in Belgium. However, other international expats are allowed in the country visa-free for 90 days, after that it’s necessary to obtain one to be able to stay.
All new residents must register at their local town hall once in Belgium, to begin the process of getting your residence permit. You’ll need to provide 4 passport photos, your original passport and copies, your lease agreement and employment contract/pension documents. You will also require proof of health insurance and pay the €20 registration fee. Everyone in Belgium must carry photographic ID/identity cards with them at all times.
Once you’re in though, you’ll be happy to know that it is very easy to go to neighbouring countries like France, Luxembourg or the Netherlands thanks to the virtually non-existent borders within the European Union.
It is worth noting that Belgium is known for its high tax rate, and relatively high cost of living. These high tax rates are offset by the high standards of social services including health, education and law enforcement.
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