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Expats in Brussels will find that this city is the centre for a number of international businesses and organisations. Expat children and families living in the Belgian capital won't have any problem finding playmates who speak their home language.
Parks, playgrounds and forests abound for strolling, cycling and picnicking. Most playgrounds are never too far from a café, and for a family on the move, waffles, ice cream and French fry vans line the most populated streets.
All in all, the possibilities for education and outings available to families living in Brussels are endless, making the city exciting and child-friendly.
Outdoor activities in Brussels
The many castles in and around Brussels are worth a visit. The Royal Palace and the stroll leading up to it through the Parc de Bruxelles is enchanting. The palace is an official residence of the royal family and is only open to the public for a few days a year, generally in the summer.
Another royal residence, just outside the city, is the Château Royal de Laeken. Visitors aren't allowed in the residence but are welcome to enjoy the royal greenhouses.
A brief drive south of Brussels brings families to La Hulpe. This town is famous for its castle. The grounds and surrounding forest are worth meandering away many a weekend afternoon. Stables, ponds and pathways invite visitors to explore, play on the grass or simply sit down with a picnic. If it starts raining, step inside La Fondation Folon, a gallery of one of Belgium's most appreciated artists.
The Sonian Forest is the forest bordering Brussels. It offers another delightful location to walk, hike, bicycle, ride horses, picnic, relax in one of the cafés or climb on the playgrounds dispersed throughout the wooded area.
Arts and entertainment in Brussels
Expat children and parents will be able to discover the history of comic strips at Le Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée and gain an appreciation for the creator of Tintin at Le Musée Hergé, which is located just a short drive south of the city.
Children will enjoy Le Musée du Jouet and Le Musée des Enfants. In the first toy museum, patrons discover and play with toys from the past, while the second offers hands-on creative activities based on a yearly theme. The children's museum also has an enclosed playground with structures to climb on and animals to pet.
Although the above-mentioned museums are particularly child-minded, never underestimate the Royal Museums of Fine Arts or the Musical Instrument Museum, both located at Place Royale. The Fine Arts Museums often offer activities for children. In the Musical Instrument Museum, patrons can wear headphones to hear the sounds of numerous instruments showcased in the beautiful Art Nouveau building.
Child-friendly dining in Brussels
Brussels isn't lacking in family-friendly restaurants. The brasseries seem to be the best place for families. They're usually quite big, noisy, and always have fries on the menu, amongst other good, traditional Belgian fare like mussels, steak and sausage. Most eateries will have a suggested children's meal and highchairs if needed. Being the international city it is, world cuisine is also easily found in Brussels.
Are you an expat living in Brussels?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Brussels. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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