Moving to Belgium
Expatriates 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, Brussels, Belgium is a melting pot of influences from around the world, especially when it comes to the arts.
The country is, to a large extent, split between two dominant culture groups, the Flemings and Walloons. The Flemish community is Dutch speaking (also known as Flemish in Belgium), 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, which infiltrates every aspect of daily life – 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.
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. There is a price to pay for all this, however, and the good life here incurs a high cost of living.
Belgium is rich in both cultural history and cultural pleasures. What wine is to France, beer is to Belgium, and 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.
Brussels is the political powerhouse of Europe with its historic Gothic buildings and European Union office blocks, but outside the thriving capital there lies picturesque countryside, the wooded gorges of the Ardennes, and an assortment of undiscovered lazy seaside towns.
Belgium also boasts a highly developed and incredibly dense motorway network, which links the country with other European routes and facilitates access to neighbouring countries.