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

Prices vary depending on product and service provider, and in cities across Belgium. The list below shows average prices for Brussels in May 2016.

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

Groceries

Dozen eggs

EUR 2.80

1 litre milk

EUR 1.10

Loaf of bread (white)

EUR 1.80

Chicken breasts (1kg)

EUR 10

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

EUR 5.90

Utilities/Household (monthly)

Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

EUR 0.19

Internet (Uncapped ADSL or Cable – average per month)

EUR 40

Electricity (average per month for standard household)

EUR 140

Eating out and entertainment

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

EUR 60

Take-away meal (e.g. Mcdonalds)

EUR 8

Cappuccino

EUR 3.20

Coca Cola (500ml)

EUR 2.15

Beer in a bar

EUR 3.90

Transportation

Taxi rate per km

EUR 1.80

City centre train fare

EUR 2.10

Petrol (per litre)

EUR 1.29