Utilising the Expat Community in Brussels
Lifestyle and Diversity
Brussels – the capital of Belgium, is an extremely diverse, multicultural and international city. The first language in the city is French, followed by Dutch and English. Around 70% of Brussels population is made up of Belgium nationals. The city is bilingual; English is becoming extremely common to hear in Brussels due to the high and demanding rate of expats living there. With the large growth in ethnic diversity in Brussels, a wide spectrum of different religions are found within the city - there are churches, mosques and synagogues.
If you are from a European country it is not essential to have a visa to enter Belgium, on the other hand for ‘third-state nationals’ you can apply for a Schengen visa. There are also other visas available which are dependent on your circumstances. When you receive your visa, it is important to register with a local commune.
Being an expat and working in Brussels allows you to be part of the international community - over 30% of the residents are foreign. The large percentage of foreigners that are currently both living and working in Brussels owes to the prestigious status of the city and the fact that it is known to be the central core for international politics. Many expats find it easy to settle in the city as it so flexible and diverse.
There is a lot of rain throughout the year in Brussels, therefore similar to London or Amsterdam for example. Even though the city is mainly urban, it does have a range of public gardens, parks, and forests. The public transport is very effective and flexible therefore commuting is easy, but there are also airports located close to the city.
Emigrating to a different country can be daunting for anyone. The expat lifestyle can seem very overwhelming at first, however there are many networking sites to communicate with other expats who have been in the same position as yourself. One of the key sources of information to help you out and learn some tips is through previous expats who have moved to Brussels and created blogs.
The website Internations also allows direct contact with expats from many different countries that are currently living in Brussels; you are able to ask them any questions and at any time. There is also a specific Q&A section for Brussels expats. Questions can be asked at any time and any expat can reply on the forum using their knowledge and past experiences.
Online Networking Sites for Expats
Expat.com is a networking website central for expats that are living in Brussels. On this website you can become a member, be part of the expat community and have the opportunity to read expat magazines. There are also many job adverts and a wide range of properties for sale which are all listed on the site, along with a detailed information page on health insurance and an exclusive expat guide.
Work-life balance is very important, the website Business Culture details all the national holidays available in Belgium but also provides information on health insurance, the work culture and the typical average working hours that would be expected in the country.
The Expat Arrivals website is very useful in terms of the forum and guides that is available, for Brussels specifically, questions can be answered on certain job adverts, education and the curriculum but also any further generic questions you may have. Apart from questions being able to be answered there is also a detailed guide focused on moving and living in Brussels which includes living costs.
If you are interested in a move to Brussels or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, please browse our current International Tax vacancies.