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. The Belgian tax and social security systems are well-developed and this ensures that incomes are distributed fairly evenly across most industries.

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.


Cost of accommodation in Belgium

Rent payments usually account for a large percentage of a worker’s monthly expenditure in Belgium. Accommodation in Belgium’s cities is generally expensive, but expats who are willing to venture outside of major urban centres will find that their rental costs are substantially lower.

Energy prices in Belgium are very steep and the country is known as having some of the world's highest rates for utilities.


Cost of entertainment in Belgium

There are a number of entertainment options in Belgium to suit every budget. Museum and gallery entrance fees are generally low, and expats can also visit most of Belgium’s many public parks and historic buildings free of charge.

High-end clubs and restaurants are available in all major urban centres, as are smaller bars and cafes. 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.


Cost of transport in Belgium

The public transport system in Belgium is efficient and affordable. Its extensive network of bus, tram and metro routes make getting around major cities a relatively hassle-free experience. There are also a number of bicycle hire schemes available for those who prefer to avoid public transport. Transport between major urban centres is often available at a relatively low cost. 

Owning a car is not a necessity, and this should save new arrivals some money when moving to Belgium. 


Cost of living in Belgium

Prices vary depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices for Brussels in May 2019.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

 One-bedroom apartment in city centre

 EUR 850

 One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 EUR 650

 Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

 EUR 1,400

 Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

 EUR 1,000

Groceries

 Dozen eggs

 EUR 2.80

 Milk (1 litre)

 EUR 1

 Loaf of bread (white)

 EUR 1.70

 Chicken breasts (1kg)

 EUR 9.30

 Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

 EUR 6.50

Utilities/household

 Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

 EUR 0.20

 Internet (uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month)

 EUR 43

 Electricity, heating, water (average per month for a standard household)

 EUR 135

Eating out and entertainment

 Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

 EUR 60

 Takeaway meal (e.g. McDonalds)

 EUR 8

 Cappuccino

 EUR 3

 Coca Cola (330ml)

 EUR 2.20

 Local beer

 EUR 3.80

Transportation

 Taxi (rate per km)

 EUR 2

 City centre train fare

 EUR 2.20

 Petrol (per litre)

 EUR 1.40

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