Cost of Living in Belgium
Belgium has a high cost of living, and Brussels has featured in the top 50 most expensive cities in the world for a number of years. However, comparatively speaking, Brussels is, on average, cheaper to live in than more than half of Western Europe’s capitals, including Paris, Stockholm and London.
Furthermore, the Belgian tax and social security systems are well developed and this ensures incomes are distributed fairly evenly.
For many non-EU nationals, living in Belgium is particularly expensive in the initial transition stages due to the disparity between the Euro and weaker currencies.
Rent payments account for a large percentage of a worker’s monthly expenditure, and with high taxes, net wages are subsequently lower than in neighbouring countries. Energy prices in Belgium are very steep and the country is known as having one of the highest utility rates in the world.
Service charges and VAT are almost always included in prices, but it is customary to give additional tips for excellent service. Brussels is generally a lot more expensive than other cities in Belgium like Antwerp and Ghent and expats should consider buying items like clothing outside of Brussels.
Cost of living in Belgium (Based on Brussels, 2015)
(Prices vary across Belgium – these are average costs for Brussels in August 2015. Prices may vary depending on product and service provider)
|Accommodation (monthly rent in good area)|
|Furnished two-bedroom house||EUR 1400|
|Unfurnished two-bedroom house||EUR 1100|
|Furnished two-bedroom apartment||EUR 900|
|Unfurnished two-bedroom apartment||EUR 700|
|Dozen eggs||EUR 2.30|
|1 litre milk||EUR 1.15|
|Loaf of bread (white)||EUR 1.50|
|Chicken breasts (1kg)||EUR 10|
|Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)||EUR 5.50|
|Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)||EUR 0.24|
|Internet (Uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month)||EUR 50|
|Electricity (average per month for standard household)||EUR 160|
|Eating out and entertainment|
|Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two||EUR 60|
|Take-away meal (e.g. Mcdonalds)||EUR 7.50|
|Coca Cola (500ml)||EUR 1|
|Beer in a bar||EUR 3.88|
|Taxi rate per km||EUR 2|
|City centre train fare||EUR 2.10|
|Petrol (per litre)||EUR 1.38|