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Working in Brussels

Brussels has much more to offer than most tax and transfer pricing expats can imagine. It plays host to millions of visitors each year. As the political capital of Europe, Brussels is home to EU institutions, international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. The city is also the capital of Belgium, which explains the numerous museums, beautiful parks, architecture and stunning history visible in every street and alleyway. 


Brussels Economy and Opportunities for Expats

Brussels economy is dominated by activities within the service and public service industries. The quality of life is very high, and Belgium is listed in the world’s top 20 countries for life expectancy and GDP, demonstrating the reason why tax and transfer pricing expats regularly relocate here for tax job opportunities. 


Although Belgium is associated with one of the highest rates of income tax, there are other factors which should be taken into account such as their health service, which is recognized as one of the best in the world, a huge plus for relocating expats. 


Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, The European Union has its main base of operation there, which makes it the de facto capital of Europe as well. It is home to many national and multinational companies, where there are over 50,000 businesses available for ambitious tax-focused expats. This number is constantly increasing due to the emerging economy and opportunities available, along with the number of tax professionals making the city of Brussels their home. 


Strategic Location

With its strategic location, Brussels is in close proximity to some major European cities such as London, Paris and Amsterdam, which offers tax expats the opportunity for short weekend trips to neighbouring cities. This allows transfer pricing and corporate tax expats to explore more communities and discover opportunities available nearby. Brussels is very expat-friendly but before you consider a move, make sure you evaluate the pros and cons of living in Brussels to ensure it is the right city for you.


A busy sqaure of tourists in Brussels, Belg
Busy Square in Brussels

Languages in Brussels and Belgium

It is interesting how Belgians do not share one common language. There are three official languages (Dutch (57%), French (42%) and German (1%)) and an official language border has been established between the regions. The majority in Brussels speak French, but all documents and public signs are usually translated into Dutch as well. Of course, English is commonly spoken across the city as well as the rest of the country. When looking for a job in Brussels, having multiple languages under your belt will take you far! 


Commuting to Brussels for Work

The standard of living in Brussels remains high, which keeps the cost of living fairly expensive for tax and transfer pricing professionals who have relocated. This is especially true when it comes to areas such as housing and electricity for expats. This is why commuting can be a smart step towards lowering your expenses in Brussels. 


For tax experts willing to commute, there are a few highly convenient options available. 


Leuven 

Leuven is a great alternative to the cost of living in Brussels. It has been considered as a great place to live, where expats can escape not only from the higher cost of living that Brussels suggests, but also from the fast-paced big city environment and overwhelming amount of people living there. 


Leuven is located about 28 kilometres east of Brussels, only half an hour away by car or train, meaning tax expats can still easily travel to Brussels if need be. 


Brussels has 3 railway stations (Midi, Centre and Nord) with a direct link to Leuven. A train ride from Midi (the furthest) will take about 30 to 45 minutes and the train interval in weekdays is every 15-20mins. Highly convenient for new transfer pricing expats. 

Living in Leuven and working in Brussels can significantly reduce your costs in the long run, due to the lower cost of living that Leuven offers. 


Mechelen 

Mechelen is another good alternative for ambitious tax professionals to living in Brussels. It is located between Brussels and Antwerp in northern Belgium, with well-established train connections to both of them and a nice friendly atmosphere. 


Although Dutch is the primary language in the area, in most institutions and shops English is commonly spoken. 


In terms of transportation, expats living in Mechelen advise against commuting by car, because although it seems more convenient, commuting by train can be faster, more cost-efficient and less stressful on most days. There are direct connections between Mechelen and Brussels, with an average journey time of only 15 minutes, ideal for travelling tax expats. 

Commuting to Brussels from Mechelen is worth considering, especially if you prefer a small city and lower living costs. 


Antwerp 

Antwerp is another place international tax professionals should consider when planning to commute. 


It is a favourite destination and home to many transfer pricing expats. Antwerp is described as a tolerant and progressive port city, located on Belgium’s River Scheldt and is renowned as being the diamond capital of the world. It is not only Belgium’s second largest city after Brussels, but also the second largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam, Netherlands, and is one of the 10 largest ports in the world. English is widely spoken in the city. 


Commuting between Antwerp and Brussels by train is easy and convenient for tax professionals. There are direct connections with an average journey time of 40 minutes. If you prefer driving, bear in mind where exactly you live and work, because Brussels-North to Antwerp-South can be done in 30- 40 min, but Brussels-South to Antwerp-North can easily take up to 1,5 – 2 hours during rush hours. Living in Antwerp and commuting to Brussels can reduce your 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.

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