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Those who plan on moving to Brussels can look forward to living in a beautiful cosmopolitan city at the heart of the European Union. Belgium’s capital has become a popular expat destination thanks to its high quality of life, mild climate and its central location in Europe. Since it is effectively the capital of NATO and the EU, the city has a dynamic, international atmosphere fuelled by expats and diplomats from all over the continent.
Living in Brussels as an expat
Brussels houses countless multinational companies and hosts many business conferences on an annual basis, which makes it a city popular with professional expats looking to work abroad. Although the city has felt the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, a mood of optimism is returning and it continues to attract highly skilled expats to its substantial services sector.
Expats will also get to enjoy living in Brussels and the lifestyle it offers residents. The wealth of cultural and historical attractions, top-class eateries and fantastic shopping afford it a unique atmosphere that is rich with history and youthful energy. The modern, well-organised and affordable public transport system in Brussels consists of a metro as well as trams and buses, making it easy for anyone to navigate the city.
Expat families and children
Expats can also rest assured that their families will be taken care of. The city offers world-class healthcare facilities as well as a wide selection of high-quality local and international schools. There are also many child-friendly attractions and activities in Brussels for expat families to enjoy in their free time.
From apartments in the European Quarter to more spacious housing on the city’s fringes, expats should have few problems finding accommodation in Brussels. The traffic in Brussels is notorious for being congested so it's best to find accommodation close to work if possible.
Cost of living in Brussels
As is the case with many European capitals, the cost of living in Brussels is steep. The city's fascinating culture, beautiful architecture and, most of all, its ample business opportunities mean that Brussels is in high demand. Belgium's heavy tax requirements can take up a significant proportion of one's income, though this is somewhat offset by its excellent social-security offerings.
Climate in Brussels
Brussels weather is mild, tending towards grey skies and light showers year round. Even sunny days can become overcast quickly, bringing unexpected rainfall. Expats should do as locals do and get into the habit of carrying something waterproof with them in case of rain.
Overall, expats in Brussels will find that life in this European city is full of new experiences and adventures. Those with an open mind and willingness to adapt to the local language and culture should have very little difficulty settling down in their new home.
"I think I most enjoy the randomness of Brussels. It is so different to where I live in England. There are people here from all over the world, speaking all sorts of languages and representing every culture and viewpoint you can think of." Read more about David's thoughts on living 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.
Expat Health Insurance
If you’re thinking about taking out private health insurance, our trusted partner Cigna Global is very aware of all the difficulties that expats can face when it comes to healthcare in a new location, so they have created a range of international health insurance plans specifically designed for expats, which you can tailor exactly to the needs and ensure access to quality care for you and your family.
Sirelo has a network of more than 500 international removal companies that can move your furniture and possessions to your new home. By filling in a form, you’ll get up to 5 quotes from recommended movers. This service is free of charge and will help you select an international moving company that suits your needs and budget.