Moving to Belgium
Expats moving to Belgium will find themselves in one of Europe's most diverse and fascinating countries. Located in the heart of the continent and housing the headquarters of the European Union and NATO in its capital, Belgium is a melting pot of influences from around the world.
Belgium is rich in both cultural history and cultural pleasures. What wine is to France, beer is to Belgium. With a reputation for gastronomy and the greatest selection of the world’s finest brews, this eclectic nation is warm and welcoming to anyone planning to settle here.
The country is, to a large extent, split between two dominant culture groups, the Flemings and the Walloons. The Flemish community is Dutch speaking, mostly based in the north of the country and constitutes around half of the Belgian population. The French-speaking Walloons live in the south and east of the country and make up around a third of the populace. There is also a significant German-speaking population on the eastern border with Germany.
All three of these languages are officially recognised and, while they may be predominant in certain areas, the Belgian capital is bilingual by law. This infiltrates every aspect of daily life in Brussels, from street signs to business dealings. It is this unique mix of cultures that is one of the most challenging aspects to come to terms with, but also one of the most fascinating.
Brussels is the political powerhouse of Europe with its historic Gothic buildings and European Union office blocks. Outside the thriving capital there lies picturesque countryside, the wooded gorges of the Ardennes, and an assortment of undiscovered lazy seaside towns.
With one of the world’s highest standards of living and a great quality of life, expats moving to Belgium can take full advantage of its housing, healthcare, education and infrastructure. The country also boasts a highly developed and incredibly dense motorway network, which links it with other European routes and facilitates access to neighbouring countries.
There is a price to pay for all this, and the good life in Belgium incurs a high cost of living. However, expats who can afford this high cost of living will undoubtedly have a unique and positive experience during their stay.