Survival Guide

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Survival Guide
YOUR ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO LIVING IN BELGIUM
FOR MORE INFORMATION PLUS DAILY BELGIAN NEWS IN ENGLISH VISIT
WWW.EXPATICA.COM
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Welcome
to Belgium!
If you have just moved here, it’s likely you are
feeling somewhat overwhelmed. Apart from
a new culture and language to cope with, you
will have to sort out a host of practical things
within the first few weeks: somewhere to live,
your finances, permits and papers, and maybe
a school for your children and a job for your
partner.
The Expat Survival Guide will give you a starting
point: the basic information you need and direct
you to the people, companies, organisations and
institutions that can help you.
This guide is published by Expatica Communications,
a leading media organisation serving the
international community in Europe. Check out
www.expatica.com to access daily news, features,
and resources such as housing and job searches,
free classifieds, all-English yellow pages, local
entertainment, and an online community.
We wish you a wonderful stay in Belgium!
INTRODUCTION. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 - 6
RELOCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 - 13
Your first few days; Relocation and moving service
providers; Residence permits; Social security
system; Marriage, partnerships and divorce.
HOUSING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 - 23
The housing market; Renting a home; Buying a
home; Accommodation agencies; Where to live.
MONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 - 29
Banking; Taxation; Insurance.
EDUCATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30 - 40
Education system; How to choose a school;
School listings; Higher education; Holidays;
Language schools.
JOBS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 - 43
How to find a job; Recruitment agencies.
HEALTH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 44 - 50
Healthcare system; Hospitals; Fitness clubs.
SHOPPING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52 - 53
Shopping guide; Food from home.
OUT AND ABOUT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 - 61
Brussels bars; Cinemas; Weekends away.
SETTLING IN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 - 66
Utilities and telephoning; Television and internet;
Libraries and post offices; Embassies.
TRANSPORT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 - 70
Public transport; Driving and parking.
LISTINGS AND INDEX. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71 - 74
Expat groups and clubs; Religious services;
Phone book decoder; Weights and measures;
Emergency numbers; Advertisers’ index.
Published March 2010
© Expatica Communications BV
rue Francois Gay 152, 1150 Brussels, Belgium
[email protected]
www.expatica.com
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or
transmitted in any form or by any means, electronically or mechanically,
including photocopying, recording or any information storage or retrieval
system, without prior written permission from the publisher. Requests for
permission should be addressed to Expatica Communications BV, Gedempte
Oude Gracht 31, 2011 GL Haarlem, The Netherlands.
Editorial
Research: Gary Hills, Editor: Paul Morris
Cover picture: Grand’ Place by e³°°° at flickr.com.
Advertising information
Chalks Corriette, Andy Smeets, Roberto Spitzer (To advertise
in next year’s guide or online on expatica.com, contact:
[email protected], + 32 0478 482 023)
Expatica makes great effort to ensure the accuracy of information contained
in this guide. However, we will not be responsible for errors or omissions
or any damages, howsoever caused, which results from its use, and make
no warranty of claims as to the quality or competence of businesses or
professionals mentioned. Users are advised to take care when selecting
professional services and to use common sense when adjusting to new life
in a new country.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
3
•• INTRODUCTION ••
Introduction
It is flat and boring,
overcrowded, always rains
and is torn apart by the
language conflict.
Oh, and I bet you cannot name ten famous
people who come from there.
These are just some of the usual misconceptions
about Belgium, the tiny country founded
in 1830 and, as home to the European Union, the
self-proclaimed capital of Europe.
The fact is that, while the north may be very flat,
the land in the south is not, with the wild Hautes
Fagnes region rising 694 metres above sea level.
It is not as densely populated as, say, the
Netherlands, its average rainfall is less than the
UK and it has evolved a system of checks and
balances to ensure each of the language groups
have a say in government.
And when it comes to naming ten famous
Belgians, there have, actually, been quite a few,
including Adolphe Sax, the Dinant-born musical
instrument maker, and Hergé, creator of Tintin.
And, still going strong, there’s Toots Thielemans,
world famous jazz musician.
Despite all this, there is no getting away from the
fact that Belgium still labours under something
of a negative image. Even so, for no less than
500 years, it has welcomed expatriates, many
of whom have been happily settled in Brussels
and Antwerp, in recent times often working for
multinational companies or institutions, such as
the EU or NATO.
For those feeling a tad homesick, the Belgian
government even runs a special office (02 280
0080) dedicated to helping expats with their
needs. Despite its `bad´ press, the unmistakable
fact is that Belgium consistently scores well in all
the main indicators of good living.
The country also scores highly on quality of life,
being ranked 14th in a 2009 league table of world
capitals by Mercer Human Resource Consulting
(ahead of cities like Stockholm and Toronto).
For those coming to Belgium for a limited
period, there is no shortage of places to live, with
furnished apartments, or so-called ‘aparthotels’,
probably the best option, especially for families
with children.
There is a wide choice of rented and owneroccupied housing, both within the city’s 19
communes and in the suburbs, ranging from
studio apartments to villas. The best Brussels
addresses include Ixelles, convenient to the
city centre and its many schools, and Uccle,
traditionally one of the favourite addresses for
expats over the years.
Further afield is an equally wide choice of
property in more rural residential areas. But be
warned! If you thought Brussels was still a cheap
property option, think again. While it still may
lag behind other European capitals, such as
London and Paris, in terms of property prices, it
is catching up fast and has recorded a startling
increase in the last few years.
People coming to work in Belgium for the first
time would do well to heed another word of
warning: the country’s employment legislation
can be a complicated affair, not least because
one of Belgium’s three official languages
(French, Dutch and German) must be used in all
employer-employee relations.
On the plus side, easily one of the best things
about Belgium is its medical services, known to
be among the most modern in the world. Some
40,000 doctors serve the needs of just over
10 million inhabitants and there are almost
400 hospitals with 80,000 beds (www.health.
fgov.be).
Expats with young families will be reassured to
know that the country also has one of Europe’s
most extensive childcare networks with over
50 percent of all young children attending
organised day-care.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
5
•• INTRODUCTION ••
One very useful group to know is the Brussels
Childbirth Trust (02 215 3377) which organises
meeting groups aimed at parents with babies
and/or pre-school children.
The Belgian educational system, generally,
offers parents a huge choice, including a range
of international and language schools. Check
our education channel on expatica.com for a
comprehensive guide to schooling.
Belgium is unlikely to disappoint on the cultural
and entertainment front. Whatever your taste in
film, for instance, there is something on offer here
and usually in the original English language. It
has some impressive museums, and there is also
a lively theatre scene. But, of course, Belgium is
particularly well known for two things: its beer
and food. Brussels and all major cities and towns
have bars of all types, from trendy lounges to old
Flemish hostelries, usually serving a bewildering
array of beers.
When it comes to eating establishments, the
country is rightly proud of the choice and quality
of its restaurants, with Brussels claiming to have
more Michelin-starred restaurants than Paris.
The city also claims to be the greenest capital in
Europe and, certainly, Brussels is one of the few
capitals where you can go for a forest walk on
your lunch break.
The country – and Brussels in particular – can also
rightly boast as good a public transport system as
can be found anywhere, with a smooth-running
integrated network of bus, metro and tram.
It is also an ideal base for anyone who likes to be
on the move, with Amsterdam, London and Paris
all within a couple of hours’ travel from Brussels.
When it comes to moving on from Belgium, the
country’s notorious bureaucracy comes into its
own, but a service offered by the Belgian post
office called DoMyMove (details from www.
domymove.be) makes the job a lot easier.
The past year has seen a Belgian, Herman Van
Rompuy, become the EU’s first ever President,
leaving the government in the hands of gaffeprone Yves Leterme. It remains to be seen if he
can hold the country’s fragile political system
together as the cultural divide grows ever wider.
But for all its shortcomings, Belgium is a magical
mixture and a country that grows on you, albeit
slowly. Gradually, you discover where the best
restaurants are, which towns have the best
schools, and where the most beautiful buildings
and parks are.
Some of these places can be devilishly hard to
find but, if you make the effort, your rewards will
be just heavenly.
Martin Banks.
Staying in Belgium and need short-term furniture and appliances?
No problem!
You can rent quality furniture from living and dining rooms to washing machines,
bedrooms, cutlery, pots and pans, lighting and curtains. No matter your budget or
taste, Homepost offers a wide variety to suit your lifestyle. Save time with
one delivery and pick-up, all included in one price. With over 20 years experience,
Homepost offers top-rate customer service. We guarantee everything we rent.
Call, fax or mail us today for an estimate.
Homepost rents everything for your home.
Ijzerenweglei 17 - 2640 Mortsel
phone +32(0)3 449 89 35
www.homepost.be
email [email protected]
6
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
• • R E L O C AT I O N • •
Survival
checklist
If you’ve just landed in
Belgium it’s tempting to
start exploring, but there are
some essential tasks to get
through first.
DECIDE WHERE TO LIVE
Deciding where to live is one of your most
important decisions and will dictate the sort of
lifestyle you lead.
(pages 21 - 24)
NOTIFY THE COMMUNE
One of your first tasks will be to register with
your local commune. If you start your new life
in temporary accommodation, you may use that
address but must notify the commune of any
subsequent change, and re-register completely
if you move to a different commune.
(pages 11 – 12)
FIND OUT ABOUT MEDICAL CARE
Unlike in other European countries, you need
not necessarily register with a local doctor or
dentist; the system allows you to visit any you
choose. However, it is worthwhile to know what is
available in your area, where the nearest hospital
is, and to learn the relevant emergency numbers.
(pages 44 -47)
FIND A JOB
If you have just arrived in Belgium and you have
your social security card, you can start the search
for a job now. Start reading the papers, scouring
the internet and registering with suitable
employment agencies.
(pages 42 -43)
GET AROUND
Belgium has a good public transport system,
but it pays to familiarise yourself with the various
ticketing options.
(pages 67 - 70)
MEET PEOPLE
Discover the bars and restaurants in your
neighbourhood or join one of the hundreds of
expat clubs in all major centres. You can finally
start to enjoy your new life in Belgium.
CONTACT UTILITY COMPANIES
When you are ready to move into your permanent
home, you must contact the utility companies to
either connect you or put the bills in your name.
(pages 58 - 59 and 71 - 72)
(pages 62 -63)
OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
One of the first things you’ll need when you
arrive is a bank account. Getting one is a fairly
straightforward procedure which requires an ID
card or passport and proof of address. Most
banks offer special expatriate services.
(pages 25 -26)
FIND A SCHOOL
You have likely thought about schools long before
arriving. If not, you should make appointments to
visit schools to decide which is the best option.
The same holds for childcare facilities.
(pages 30 -39)
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
7
R99 Wine Consulting
www.r99.be
• Interested to learn more about wine?
• Would you like to participate in a wine tasting workshop?
• Want to host a wine tasting for friends at your house?
• Or for colleagues at your office?
• Perhaps a tasting as a corporate event?
• Have you thought of special wines as corporate gifts?
• Do you have old wines in your cellar you don’t know whether to drink,
keep or throw away?
• Need advise on food and wine matching for a special event or dinner?
• Do you need to give somebody a birthday gift but have no idea what to get?
Elizma Myburgh | +32 (0) 477 755 763 | [email protected]
• • R E L O C AT I O N • •
Relocation companies,
moving companies
Relocation companies can
take the hassle out of moving
country.
Clos du Vieux Moulin 34 - 1410 Waterloo
RELOCATION COMPANIES
FRS – Foreign Relocation Service
Art of Living |
02 653 00 37
rue Ernest Solvay 59 - 1310 La Hulpe
www.artofliving.be
Caroline Driessen |
0474 270966
[email protected]
0476 28 79 66
Rue de Nivelles 143 - 1440 Braine-Le-Château
www.gmc-relocationservices.com
02 658 80 80
Brusselsesteenweg 410D - 3090 Overijse
www.map-relocations.com
am&pm |
0800 91 100
www.brussels-relocation.com
02 253 20 05
Melkstraat 91A - 1830 Machelen
MAP Relocations |
02 658 80 80
Brusselsesteenweg 410D - 3090 Overijse
www.map-relocations.com
www.carolinedriesen.com
MAP Relocations |
Storage Services |
02 353 21 01
www.frs-relocation.com
avenue Victor Rousseau 33 - Brussels 1190
G.M.C. sprl |
Brussels Relocation |
MOVING COMPANIES
Ziegler Moving Division |
02 422 25 56
rue Dieudonné Lefèvre 160 - 1020 Brussels
www.ziegler.be
Capital Worldwide |
02 535 7430
Avenue Louise 149/24 - 1050 Brussels
Gosselin World Wide Moving NV |
016 58 94 90
Naamsesteenweg 25 - 3000 Leuven
Belcrownlaan 23 - 2100 Deurne
www.am-pm.be
www.gosselin.eu
Andrews Roe Consult |
02 767 2996
Sterrebeeklaan 81 - 3080 Tervuren
www.andrewsroe.com
SIRVA |
02 785 0985
Bosdellestraat 120 Box 1 - 1933 Sterrebeek
www.sirva.com
World Wide Relocation Services
03 360 5500
Interdean Interconex |
03 360 5500
02 757 9285
Jan Baptist Vinkstraat 9 - 3070 Kortenberg
Property Hunter |
02 344 61 47
Rue Alphonse Renard 1 - 1050 Bruxelles
www.propertyhunter.be
STORAGE SERVICES
Shurgard Benelux |
03 640 0000
Oude Bareellei 9-11
Vaartdijk 40 - 2100 Antwerp
2170 Merksem
www.worldwiderelocationonline.com
www.shurgard.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
9
• • R E L O C AT I O N • •
How to get
a residence
permit?
EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA)
NATIONALS
EEA nationals are those from the EU plus Iceland,
Liechtenstein, Norway, Monaco and Switzerland.
In theory, within eight days, EEA nationals need to
register at the local town hall (maison communale/
gemeentehuis). In practice, most arrivals have
better things to do in these crucial first few days
and stretch this timeline a bit.
The documentation you need also varies
depending on the commune, your nationality,
and frankly the mood of the official on the day.
Take the following as indicative and check with the
commune before you visit.
As an EEA citizen, you will need the following
documents: a valid passport, up to three passportsized photos, and proof of means of support,
usually in the form of a letter from your employer
(attestation patronale/verklaring van de werkgever)
or employment contract. Some communes may
also require birth or marriage certificates.
There are still some restrictions in place for citizens
of Bulgaria and Romania. Belgium has decided to
lift the restrictions in three years, which means up
to 2011.
NON-EEA NATIONALS
Non-EEA nationals must apply for a temporary
residence visa to a Belgian embassy or consulate
Here is a list of the major town halls in the
communal districts of Brussels. For others see the
front section of the Yellow Pages.
Anderlecht . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 558 0800
Auderghem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 676 4811
Brussels City . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 279 2211
Etterbeek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 627 2111
Forest . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 370 2211
Hoeilaart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 658 2840
Ixelles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 515 6111
Kraainem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 719 2040
Overijse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 687 6040
before they arrive. Residence visas are restricted to
purposes such as study, work (if a work permit is in
hand) and family commitments.
Non-EEA nationals are then obliged to register
at the municipality within eight days of arriving
in Belgium. In addition to the requirements for
EEA nationals, you may also need the following,
depending on the commune: up to five passport
photographs, a medical certificate signed by a
doctor recognised by the Belgian Embassy, a
certificate of good conduct covering the past
five years (criminal history record) issued by the
police authorities of your last country of residence,
legalised marriage license (if relevant) and birth
certificates for any children.
There is a small fee, which varies from commune to
commune, but it is usually no more than EUR 20,
payable in cash. You may well need to speak the
language of the commune when you visit: if you
don’t, go with someone who does. After the first
visit, you will get a receipt but no card.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT
The municipality contacts the police who visit to
check that your name is on the door of the address
you gave. If their report checks out, EU citizens get
an invitation to collect a temporary three month
card. This is renewed for a further three months
if proof of employment or self-employment and
registration with the relevant social security scheme
has been or is later produced, and then in due
course you get a permanent five-year card (carte
de sejour/verblijfskaart). Non-EU citizens eventually
get an annually renewable proof of registration
for foreigners (Certification d’Inscription dans le
Registre des Etrangers/Bewijs van Inschrijving in
het Vreemdelingen Register).
Rhode-Saint-Genese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 380 2040
Rixensart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 634 2121
Saint Gilles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 536 0211
Saint Josse . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 220 2611
Schaerbeek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 244 7511
Tervuren. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 769 2011
Uccle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 348 6511
Waterloo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 352 9811
Watermael-Boitsfort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 674 7411
Wezembeek-Oppem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 783 1211
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 761 2711
Woluwe-Saint-Pierre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 773 0511
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11
• • R E L O C AT I O N • •
Social security
Joining the Belgian Social
Security system is bureaucratic,
but not difficult.
First you need to visit www.socialsecurity.fgov.
be for a 64-page brochure ‘Everything you have
always wanted to know about social security’. This
tells you about the structure of the system and
your entitlements. There are separate rules and
institutions for the salaried, the self-employed
and civil servants. If you are employed, your
employer will likely take care of the formalities
and deduct contributions from your wages.
Salaried are covered for seven sectors (medical
care, unemployment, pension, family, accident,
work-related injury, vacation).
If you are self-employed you will start by paying a
minimum quarterly contribution which increases
at the same rate as your income. It’s important
to know that contributions are calculated on what
you earned three years previously. You will need
to sign up with one of a number of specialised
organisations or a health insurance company
mutuelle/mutualiteits, who act as collection
agencies for the national social security offices.
Once registered, they will send you a Social
Security Identity Card (SIS) which is needed to get
prescription drugs and other medical services.
From January 2008, the law changed to cover
the self-employed for petits risques/kleine
risico’s. This means you can now claim for doctor
appointments, dentists and prescriptions in
the same way as the salaried. Naturally, this
doesn’t come without financial implications and
contributions are increasing from 19.65% of
income to 22%. The increase will be staged over
four years.
INTERNATIONAL CO-OPERATION
There are EU rules designed to maintain
entitlement to national benefits for EU citizens
working in other EU countries. For a short stay it is
often best to take advantage of these especially
if you plan to return to the home country directly
after your current stay. There are specialised
offices in each EU country for further advice.
CONTACTS
The social security offices are semi-autonomous
parts of the Ministry of Social Affairs and are
known as parastatal institutions. The salaried
should contact ONSS/RSZ, the national social security office and the self-employed can find more
information from RSVZ-INASTI the national institute for social insurance of the self-employed.
National Office of Social Security - ONSS/RSZ
02 509 3111
Place Victor Horta 11
1060 Brussels
www.onssrszlss.fgov.be
National Institute of Social Security for the
self-employed - INASTI/RSVZ | 02 546 4211
Place Jan Jacobs 6
1000 Brussels
http://inasti.be
Overseas Social Security Office - DOSZ/
OSSOM | 02 642 0511
Avenue Louise 194
1050 Brussels
www.dosz.be
12
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
• • R E L O C AT I O N • •
Marriage
and divorce
Anyone in Belgium can be
married from the age of 18.
Below that age young people
must have the consent of
their parents and permission
from the court.
Civil marriage is obligatory, even if the couple
decide to marry in church. This must take place
in one of the communes before any church
ceremony. It is important to remember that
the civil ceremony is the legally binding one.
Contact your commune for full details.
To contract a marriage in Belgium, one of the
parties must reside in the country. There is no
specific period of residence, but several weeks
are generally necessary for completion of the
required formalities. If neither of the parties has
a fixed residence in Belgium, one of them must
establish a residence for this purpose. You then
need to apply for a Certificate of Residence
for Marriage Purposes (Certificat de Domicile/
Bewijs van Woonst voor Huwelijksdoeleinden)
from the commune.
into a mariage à regime légal/huwelijk onder
wettelijk stelsel. This means that all property
held before the marriage is owned individually
and any inheritance is held individually, but
other monies coming to the couple during the
marriage are held in common.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Belgium
since 2004. There are no restrictions regarding
nationality and recognition of the marriage in a
partner’s home country.
DIVORCE
Belgian divorce is obtainable for one of three
reasons:
1. By mutual consent
2. Through serious cause (such as adultery or
cruelty)
3. Legal separation of five years
Where couples divorce by mutual consent,
the process can be finalised within six months.
Before the divorce process may begin, the
couple must notarise an agreement that states
how property will be divided and how child
custody arrangements will be handled.
Foreigners living in Belgium, although married
abroad, may obtain a divorce under Belgian
law. It is also worth checking with your home
country that it recognises Belgian divorce law.
You will need a raft of papers to fulfil the legal
requirements of getting married, including birth
certificates, previous wedding certificates, legal
divorce papers, sometimes even a statement
from your embassy confirming your civil status.
All these papers need to be translated into
one of the official Belgian languages by an
accredited legal translator.
MARRIAGE CONTRACTS
It is usual practice for a separate legal
marriage contract to be made in Belgium.
The contract must be drawn up by a notary
before the wedding and the attestation of
contract presented at the ceremony. In the
absence of any contract, the couple enters
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
13
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•• HOUSING ••
Housing
Most expats will rent a
home when they first arrive
in Belgium. Perhaps they’re
on a short contract, need
accommodation immediately,
or simply don’t want to commit
to anything more long-term
before settling down
RENT OR BUY?
It is obviously quicker to find somewhere to rent
than to go through the formalities of a purchase.
Renting is more flexible and gives you time to
settle into your new life. If you don’t like the
property or the area, you have the option of
looking elsewhere. Unless you’re lucky, finding a
suitable home to buy can take years.
Be aware if you rent that early termination of a
short-term contract incurs a penalty. A standard
nine-year contract is actually more flexible. The
Belgian system can be rigged in favour of the
landlord if you don’t watch out. (See page 16
for more information.) And it can be irritating to
throw away money each month when it could be
going toward a mortgage as a future investment.
The difference between rent and mortgage costs
is not so great in Belgium.
However, up-front payments on property or
land purchase are high. There is a purchase tax
on homes (typically 12.5%) as well as legal and
mortgage fees of around 4.5%. So if you’re only
staying for the short-term or are uncertain about
the future of your job, renting is the best idea.
HOW TO FIND A HOME
Apartments are normally rented unfurnished,
sometimes without essentials like fridges and
cookers. Furnished flats are available but are
either expensive and targeted at upmarket
short-stay tenants or shabby and downmarket.
Regardless of your needs, there are several ways
to find somewhere to live.
Once you see an area you like, take time to walk
the streets armed with a notepad and mobile
phone. Many properties display a standard
orange poster reading ‘A Louer/Te Huur’ (For
Rent) or ‘À Vendre/Te Koop’ (For Sale). Estate
agents also put up signs.
Also be sure to look at the free weekly paper
‘Vlan’ (www.vlan.be). The website www.
immoweb.be is also excellent, is in English, and
allows you to search all of Belgium for a place to
rent or buy. Also see Expatica’s property pages
on expatica.com.
Some of the best properties never get advertised.
If a particular area appeals to you, ask colleagues
and even local shop owners if they know of
anything.
Belgium has a large choice of estate agents. But
you’ll have to do much of the footwork yourself,
particularly if buying. After an initial flurry of
activity, you may soon drop off their radar. Rental
agencies are happy to drive you around town to
visit various properties. Agents’ fees are typically
paid by the landlord or seller of the property.
There are pitfalls in setting up home, of course,
so check our special features before you rent or
buy.
For more information about housing services,
visit our Ask the Experts section on expatica.com.
Property prices, stable for years, have been rising
steadily; though there was a slight drop in prices
during 2009. But compared to Amsterdam,
London and Paris, properties in Brussels and
Antwerp still look cheap and you tend to get a lot
more for your money. The conclusion? If Belgium
will be your home for a while, take the plunge
and buy.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
15
•• HOUSING ••
Renting
Once you have found the
property you want to rent,
you need a lease (bail/kontract),
an inventory (état des lieux/
plaatsbeschrijving),
and a security deposit.
You’ll need to get the phone, electricity and
gas reconnected. Plus you need to take out an
insurance policy for fire and water damages.
THE LEASE
Belgium has an odd system of a standard nine-year
flexible lease, and a less flexible three-year lease.
At first sight the three-year lease seems the more
attractive to a newcomer whose time in the country
is uncertain, but this is not necessarily the case.
A three-year lease can be for any agreed period
up to a maximum of three years. It fixes the rent for
the period of the lease and commits the tenant to
pay for the entire period of the lease. It can include
a diplomatic clause (designed to indemnify the
tenant if he wants to break the lease because he is
leaving the country) but these have been nullified
by the Belgian courts in the past.
So, it is better to opt for a nine-year lease, which
can in fact be broken by giving three months’
notice. But if you leave in the first, second or third
year, you will pay an indemnity of three, two and
one month’s rent respectively. From year four,
there is no penalty for leaving. The monthly rent
is fixed for nine years subject to the normal statecontrolled annual indexation. The landlord can
only give you notice if they intend to occupy the
property personally, need to carry out major work
(where major has a legal definition), or at the end of
year three or year six, for no reason but subject to
compensation to the tenant of nine or six months’
rent respectively.
For an apartment, the monthly outgoing may
include an element of rent and a fixed amount
of service charge. Usually the service charge
is just a prepayment (provision pour charges/
vooruitbetaling) and there will be an annual
assessment of common charges for the property
16
that you will share in. If you want to negotiate a
better price, negotiate down the rental not the
service charges! If there are things you want the
landlord to correct before you move in, either
specify them in the lease contract so legally binding
the landlord or, if you can wait, don’t sign the lease
until they have happened!
THE INVENTORY
The inventory (etat des lieux /plaatsbeschrijvin)
is the source of more misery to tenants than any
other legal document. Typically, the landlord’s
agent or a designated expert prepares a detailed
list of the condition of the property complete with
photographs which the tenant signs. At the end of
the lease, the landlord’s agent checks the property
against this inventory. Be aware that tenants can be
charged for scratches in the bath that were there
before they arrived, simply because they didn’t
notice the damage when signing the original
inventory. It is bad enough to have someone who
seems to be less than independent assessing costs
against you, and even more irritating that you have
to pay 50% of his bill. Some agents insist you sign
a document agreeing to the fee and to accept his
expertise before he starts. Don’t do so. The way to
avoid all such problems is simple. Refuse to accept
the landlord’s agent and select your own agent
(expert immobilier/expert) to do the check-in and
the check-out. That way both parties get a truly
independent and fair assessment.
THE SECURITY DEPOSIT
You will be asked to put up a one or two months
rent as a security deposit (two months is the legal
norm) against tenant-caused damages. The best
way to do this is to ask your bank for a guarantee.
This is basically a low-cost insurance policy sold to
you by the bank which uses your salary as its means
of security. Alternatively, you can open a blocked
deposit account which needs the signatures of both
tenant and landlord for any withdrawal. Never pay
the security deposit in cash, it’s against the law.
OTHER RESPONSIBILITIES
It is the tenant’s responsibility to insure the property
not only for contents but for fire and water damage.
You should also arrange to have chimneys cleaned
and boilers serviced annually. If the property has
a private garden it is the tenant’s responsibility to
maintain it (communal garden costs are usually
included in the service charge).
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• HOUSING ••
Buying
House purchase is straightforward, if laboured. In
summary, once you have found the property, you
sign an agreement to purchase (compromis de
vente/verkoopcompromis) almost immediately
committing yourself to buy if the seller is in good
faith. Then some four months later you sign a
final contract (acte authentique/authentieke)
once all the legal paperwork and the mortgage
have been sorted out. This all happens via a
notaire/notaris. There is one notaire for the buyer
and one for the seller.
The price of the property agreed upon with the
seller and the sum of money you finally hand
over are alarmingly different. First, for most
properties you pay 12.5% registration tax to the
state. For downmarket properties with a revenu
cadastral/kadastral inkomen below Euro 740, this
can be reduced to 6%, but there are not many of
those to be had! Buyers in Flanders benefit from
a slight reduction in the basic 12.5%. There are
fixed state-agreed costs for the legal services of
a notaire. These charges vary with the property
value. So, with the registration fee of 12.5%,
a mortgage registration fee of 1,1% plus the
notary fees, all in all this adds around 15% to the
nominal price.
It is worth checking out extra benefits for firsttime buyers, which vary depending on the
location.
THE ROLE OF THE NOTAIRE
As all notaires are obliged to pay the same fees,
it is best to select one on recommendation,
and preferably one who is conveniently-located
and speaks a common language. Failing that,
have a look at www.notaire.be. Find one before
you find the house, as they will need to spring
into action the moment you do so. The seller’s
notaire typically drafts the compromis de vente
and sends it to your notaire, who should amend
it for any unfavourable clauses. Once the text
is agreed, you all visit the offices of the seller’s
notaire to sign and hand over a deposit (usually
10%). You now have a period agreed in the
compromis to find a mortgage; your notaire
will do the legal checks, and all going well four
months later, you all meet in the offices of your
notaire to sign the acte authentique and hand
over the remaining money (usually a cheque
from the mortgage lender) in return for the keys.
Strangely, structural surveys are not a legal
part of securing a mortgage. It is typically an
independent activity for your own peace of
mind and should be done before signing the
compromis de vente. You will need to show
serious hidden defects in order to escape
penalty-free once you have signed.
Another oddity is that once you have signed the
compromis de vente, you become liable for the
property insurance. Even if the property burns
down whilst you don’t legally own it, you lose!
MORTGAGES
There is a full set of mortgage options available
in Belgium from many sources including the
major banks. Mortgages can be fixed for the
term of the loan, variable annually, or reviewed
every three or five years with different options
on the type of interest payment. Ask your lender
for a printed tabular estimate covering the loan
period and discuss the options available to you.
The loan can include the 15% additional costs
if your lender agrees. Some lenders will charge
you for a mortgage offer that you do not take
up: check this in advance and walk away if you
find that inappropriate. Offers also have a time
limit on them. Single market mortgages are
available from, say, Germany but these can only
be obtained via a broker.
Some lenders will try to link the loan to their own
property and life insurance. Ensure that you see
the costs for this clearly separated and compare
with other quotes. Insurance rates in Belgium are
high. If you have existing life insurance, there
should be no need to duplicate the cover at a
higher cost. Lenders are no longer able to insist
that you buy insurance from a specific company.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
17
•• HOUSING ••
Accommodation
services
Macnash Associates |
www.macnash.com
The following agencies
(agence immobiliers/
makelaar) typically deal
in both sales and rentals.
Also visit the Immoweb site
for a full list of agents in each
region, or look in Yellow Pages
(www.pagesdor.be).
Trevi | 02 343 2240
www.trevi.be
NATIONWIDE
Century 21 | 02 513 1996
www.century21.be
Immoweb | 02 333 2525
www.immoweb.be
ANTWERP
Belimmo | 03 238 0357
www.belimmo.be
Carl Martens | 03 226 8500
www.carlmartens.be
Engetrim – Trevi |
www.engetrim.be
03 218 6304
02 381 0698
Toby | 02 219 2333
www.bureau-toby.com
VIPOFFICES | 02 400 0000
www.vipoffices.com
AARTSELAAR
ERA | 0800 - 20 227
www.era.be
OVERIJSE
Immo2002 | 02 687 2779
www.immo2002.be
HOEILAART
Immo Desco | 02 306 67 85
www.immo-desco.be
GENT
Era Vastgoed Ryckaert |
www.era.be
09 223 1177
Nelde | 09 248 03 50
www.nelde.be
LIEGE
Optimum – Trevi |
www.optimum.be
04 221 4875
Sidimex | 03 203 0202
www.sidimex.be
BRUSSELS
Eurorent | 02 646 2686
www.eurorent.com
Eurohouse | 02 672 0555
www.eurohouse.be
Brussels Business Flats |
www.bbf.be
02 539 2614
Immo Living | 0478 209 552
www.immoliving.com
Housing Service | 02 732 9920
www.housing-service.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
19
•• HOUSING ••
Where to live
in Belgium
Beyond Brussels there
are plenty of cities and
communes that make great
homes for expatriates.
Here are some of the
best from across Belgium.
ANTWERP
There is a well-sized population of British and
American families living here; plus there is
an international school and a good choice of
English-speaking clubs and societies. Add
to that the fact that the majority of Flemish
speakers speak English, and Antwerp becomes
an attractive place to settle.
Most families tend to live in the north of the
city with its residential flavour and gardened
houses. The single expat tends to live in
the midst of it all in beautiful, if expensive,
apartments.
Up and coming areas include the redeveloped
museum area (‘t Zuid) and parts of Berchem
with its grand Art Nouveau houses and slightly
bohemian feel. The urban set favour apartments
in the area known as St Andries, between the
river and Nationalestraat.
GENT
The most popular places for expats to live in
the centre of town are Muinparkwijk with its
affordable houses and gardens and Coupure,
full of old houses and with a delightful river
running through its midst.
Many families make the decision to live outside
the city limits in the surrounding villages, where
they can enjoy a rural lifestyle with space for the
kids and easy access to the city.
GENVAL
This commune outside the Brussels region is a
village in its own right and a French-speaking
enclave in the Flemish belt.
The most expensive part to live in is down by
the lake with its Geneva-style water spout,
water sports facilities and five-star hotel. Genval
is just a 20-minute train journey into Brussels
Centre, so it is an ideal commuting territory.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
21
•• HOUSING ••
LIEGE
The centre has a good stock of apartment
buildings, and expats tend to gather around
a cluster of streets including boulevards
Frère Oban and Piercot, Le Mont St-Martin,
Botanique and Les Terrasses.
Suburban living includes the university area of
Le Sart Tilman and also Cointe and Embourg.
TERVUREN
This is real country living at the edge of
Brussels, with its great park surrounding the
Africa Museum and The British School at its
heart.
WATERLOO
Waterloo is popular for its self-containment,
meaning there is no need to drive in and out
of Brussels whenever you need anything. There
is a whole raft of international schools here, a
good high street of shops and clusters of big
out-of-town shopping centres.
It has become particularly popular with
Americans and Scandinavians. Housing tends
to be big with ample land.
© Marie-Thérèse GUIHAL & © anjocreatif - Fotolia.com
Houses are expensive but big, with acres
of land and a real sense of owning your own
patch. You’d need a car to live here, but it’s at
the end of one of the world’s most beautiful
tram-lines. Tervuren is best suited to families as
life here is rather quiet.
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BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• HOUSING ••
Where to live in
Brussels
The bulk of expatriates living
in Brussels tends towards the
south and south-east of the
city. Here are seven of the most
popular neighbourhoods.
BRUSSELS CITY
If living in the thick of it all is irresistible then
downtown is the place for you. In recent years,
previously run-down parts of the centre have
become a magnet for the young professional
with major renovations and industrial spaces
coming up for rent or sale. Much sought after
areas are St Géry, Ste Catherine and the rue
Antoine Dansaert area leading up to the canal.
The Marolles is becoming increasingly popular
with a young urban set. The Sablon and Louise
are fabulously upmarket but that is naturally
reflected in price. Up and coming are the streets
around the main boulevard leading down to
Gare du Midi, with many old properties ripe for
development and still at attractive prices.
ETTERBEEK
Best known for the area at the top end of the
Parc du Cinquantenaire, Etterbeek is filled with
attractive streets of early 20th century town
houses. It is home to many European institutions
and has fantastic public transport facilities.
Its relatively cheap housing prices, with good
availability of houses and apartments, mostly in
conversions, make it particularly attractive.
IXELLES/ELSENE
Wildly popular with the expatriate community,
Ixelles is a massive commune with character
and style. It falls into distinct areas: trendy
Châtelain with its café culture, the leafy ponds
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
23
•• HOUSING ••
and abbey area leading down to the Bois de la
Cambre; buzzy chaussée d’Ixelles which takes
in the Matongé, the African quarter, and the
cemetery with its late-night bars and student
population. Through it all runs Avenue Louise
with its upmarket shops and restaurants. The
housing stock tends to be large townhouses
and desirable apartment conversions, but you’ll
certainly pay for them.
ST-GILLES/ SINT-GILLIS
St-Gilles is a favourite among those expats who
like to live as locals. From the top end, with its
grand Art Nouveau houses, down to the earthy
Gare du Midi, St-Gilles is packed with quirky
restaurants, shops and a buzzing nightlife. You
are most likely to find a bargain place to live
here, especially if you buy, as it is one of Brussels’
most dynamic areas with a definite future as both
expats and locals become more attracted to its
enigmatic character.
UCCLE/UKKEL
This is a beautiful and calm commune with
huge houses and upmarket apartment blocks.
Popular with expat families, it is well located
for shops and schools. It is probably Brussels’
most leafy commune with the Forest of Soignes,
and housing surrounded by large gardens. The
international community here is huge.
WOLUWE-SAINT-PIERRE/
SINT-PIETERS-WOLUWE
This is often the choice of folk working at the
European institutions, both for its proximity and
its affordable housing. It’s almost self-contained
with its massive park, sports centre and public
amenities. It’s also on the metro line 1, giving
easy public transport access.
WOLUWE-SAINT LAMBERT/
SINT-LAMBRECHTS-WOLUWE
Saint-Pierre’s next-door neighbour shares much
the same attractions, including the huge Woluwe
Shopping Centre. As it is a step further out from
the centre it begins to get even more suburban
and green and is within good striking distance
of the airport and major international motorways.
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BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• MONEY ••
Your money
CURRENCY
Belgium is in the Euro zone, sharing a common
currency with Austria, Cyprus, Finland, France,
Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,
Malta, Slovenia, Spain, Portugal and The
Netherlands.
Of the older EU countries, Sweden, Denmark
and the UK remain the outsiders. Most of the
newer EU countries plan to adopt the Euro when
they are ready to do so, but each has its own
timetable for convergence; Slovakia became a
member in January 2009. Euros from any of the
12 countries may be used anywhere in the EU.
Coins: 1 cent, 2 cents, 5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents,
50 cents, 1 EUR, 2 EUR
Notes: 5€, 10€, 20€, 50€, 100€, 200€, 500€
On one side of the coins is a European Union
emblem showing a map of the Euro zone
surrounded by the 12 stars of the Union. On
the other side is a design specific to the country
where it was minted. There is talk of abolishing
the one and two cent coins to improve the trouser
line. All Euro notes are the same, regardless
of which country they come from, and feature
symbols representing co-operation, openness,
dynamism and harmony.
PAYING FOR GOODS AND SERVICES
Cash
Cash dispensers are usually found wherever there
is a bank, and they all take the Bancontact/Mister
Cash cards issued by local banks as well as credit
cards. Dispenser lobbies within banks are open
after hours, and are usually only for customers of
that specific bank and most don’t issue cash on
credit cards. You’ll need to swipe your bank card
to get in. There is an irritating lack of machines
in central Brussels which means queues at peak
times. Machines can often be drained dry on
a Saturday night, thereby frustrating Sunday
morning customers.
Debit and credit cards
The most common card in Belgium is the
Bancontact/Mister Cash card. It is linked to your
current account, and is accepted in department
stores, supermarkets, petrol stations, and high
street shops. It’s a good idea to have one of
these, as there are still many places in Belgium
that don’t accept alternatives. A Bancontact/
Mister Cash card with a PIN will be issued when
you open a Belgian bank account.
Most types of credit card are widely accepted.
If you get a Visa or MasterCard from a local
bank, the standard option in Belgium is for this
to operate like a debit card, with the full balance
taken from your account each month. Some of
the major banks do offer credit cards (Visa Pinto
for example, from KBC bank) but these can be
expensive. Diner’s, American Express and other
major international credit cards can also be
obtained and used in Belgium.
Proton
Belgium is a pioneer of the cashless society. The
Proton card is actually a chip integrated into
your Bancontact/Mister Cash card and is like a
rechargeable electronic purse. It is designed to
pay for everyday items such as newspapers and
sandwiches, as well as paying the butcher and the
baker. This is how it works: using your usual fourdigit PIN, you load the card at a cash dispenser
and then go shopping. The shopkeeper enters
the amount to be paid into the Proton terminal,
and you put your Proton card into the terminal.
When the amount to be paid appears on the
screen, you simply press the OK button, and
the payment is made. A word of caution: a lost
card is like lost cash so don’t overload the card.
Recently some larger stores have removed the
Proton payment option.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
25
•• MONEY ••
Banking
INTERNET AND PHONE BANKING
Most major banks offer both a telephone banking
and an Internet banking service. Internet banking,
based on free proprietary secure software,
allows complete account management, the
easy payment of regular and non-standard
bills throughout the Euro zone and increasingly
anywhere in the EU. There are reduced fees for
standardised Euro transfers below a threshold
limit if you agree to share fees.
CHEQUE
Cheques, while still available when you open
an account, are more or less obsolete and can
attract penal banking charges. They are not
recommended nor are they encouraged by the
banks.
THE TRANSFER SLIP
If you do not bank online the most common
means of payment is via a bank transfer (virement/
overschrijving). This is an orange and white
payment slip found at the bottom of almost
all Belgian bills. This has to be filled in, signed
and handed in at your bank or paid via an ATM
machine.
DIRECT DEBIT
This
practice,
known
as
domiciliation/
domiciliering, is the most efficient way to pay bills
to people you trust, for it precludes the problem
of forgetting to pay them. Since late payment
incurs a small penalty charge added to the next
bill, this form of payment is common for utility
companies.
STANDING ORDER
This is called ordre permanent/bestendige
opdracht and can be set up for regular payments of
a fixed amount, like rent or mortgage repayments.
You can also use it as a way of saving a fixed
amount regularly, by automatic transfer from your
current account to your savings accounts.
OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT
To open a current or checking account (compte
à vue/zichtrekening), you need either a passport
26
or a Belgian ID Card as proof of identity. Once
the account is opened the bank will send you
a Bancontact/Mister Cash debit card. A PIN
number will be sent to you separately. If you want
to open a savings account (compte d’épargne/
spaarrekening), the bank can advise you on the
different accounts on offer.
Major
Belgian banks
Most websites include a branch finder. All the
major banks offer their services in French, Dutch
and English.
BANKS
02 464 60 04
ING |
www.ing.be/expats
078 152 153
KBC |
www.kbc.be/expats
BNP Paribas Fortis |
www.fortisbank.be
02 433.40.34
02 222 1201
Dexia |
www.dexia.be
INSURANCE COMPANIES
02 44 44 111
Euromut |
Louis Mettewielaan 74/76 - 1080 Brussels
www.euromut.be
078 150 400
Partena |
Coupure Links 103 - 9000 Gent
[email protected]
www.partena-expats.be
02 406 35 11
Vivium/Vivium Life |
Rue Royale, 153 - 1210 Brussels
[email protected]
www.vivium.be
03 217 65 29
Vanbreda International NV |
Plantin en Moretuslei 299 - 2140 Antwerpen
www.vanbreda-international.be
www.expatplus.com
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• MONEY ••
Taxation
Expatriates and Belgian citizens alike suffer from
one of the highest taxation rates in the EU. In
November 2009, the Organisation for Economic
Co-operation and Development confirmed once
again that Belgium has one of the highest tax
burdens in Europe. It amounts to – including social
security – 57.3% for a single earner. This compares
to an average 44.5% in Europe. An expatriate
working in Belgium will typically be liable to
Belgian income tax. Additionally, property tax,
gift and succession duty may be relevant. In most
circumstances there are no capital gains taxes or
wealth tax for individuals in Belgium, thus pushing
the burden firmly onto the employee.
Residents of Belgium pay personal income tax on
their total income from all worldwide sources on
a sliding scale. The basic exemption for 2010 is
6,430 EUR regardless of marital status with further
exemptions for dependent children and a spouse.
For 2010, marginal income tax starts at 25%, rises
to 30% over EUR 7,900, 40% over EUR 11,240,
45% over 18,730 EUR with a top limit of 50% for
incomes above EUR 34,330.
Residents also pay communal and regional taxes
at rates between 0% and 8.5% of the total income
tax payable. The most common rate is 6%.
Income tax is paid on the taxable base which is
determined from salary less compulsory social
security contributions (paid either in Belgium or
abroad). Professional expenses can be deducted
either directly with supporting documentation or
more usually on a lump sum basis depending on
salary. The 2010 rate for this standard professional
deduction is a maximum EUR 3,590.
Professionnel/Bedrijfsvoorheffing. Similarly the
self-employed or paid company directors have
to pay tax monthly in advance via a collecting
agency or bank.
SPECIAL EXPATRIATE STATUS
Expatriates who satisfy specific conditions
come under a special taxation regime and pay
Belgium tax only on income connected with
professional duties carried out in Belgium.
A foreign executive assigned temporarily to
Belgium may so qualify but the conditions are
tough. Employment must be by an international
group or in a scientific research centre, and must
be temporary. Also, the expatriate’s centre of
personal and economic interest must not be
Belgium. In determining the latter the authorities
take the following into account: the ownership
of real estate, personal property or securities
abroad; a life assurance contract written abroad;
the inclusion of a diplomatic clause in the Belgian
rental agreement for accommodation; continued
affiliation to a group pension scheme abroad;
renewal of credit cards issued by banks abroad;
continued affiliation to a social security scheme
abroad; continuing to act as an officer of a
foreign company.
If you qualify for the above, there are specific
benefits and deductions available which vary
depending on income, personal circumstances
and your home country. Professional advice is
recommended.
Service Public Fédéral Finances/Federale
0257/257 57 (Contact centre)
Overheidsdienst Financiën
www.minfin.fgov.be
For tax consultants: Ask the Experts on www.
expatica.com
The Belgian tax year for personal income tax
begins on 1 January and ends 31 December.
You will typically receive a tax return (declaration/
aangifte) during May relating to the previous
year’s income. This must be returned by mid-July
(you will find the exact date on your tax return). If
you don’t receive a return, request one from the
Ministry of Finance before 1 June or risk a penalty!
LOCAL TAX OFFICES
As stated before, communal and regional taxes
depend upon which commune you live in. For
Brussels it is 7% and for both Antwerp and Liège
it is 8%. To find your local tax office, please check
your annual income tax return or go to annuaire.
fiscus.fgov.be for more information.
Employers are responsible for withholding tax on
a monthly basis – this is known as the Précompte
In cooperation with FisCuriosa
www.fiscuriosa.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
27
Is your international medical
insurance this well connected?
Access to our network of 5,500
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Bupa International
Healthcare. Everywhere.
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www.bupa-intl.com
•• MONEY ••
Insurance
HEALTH
Healthcare insurance is a part of the Belgian Social
Security system and to benefit you must join a
health insurance fund mutuelle (mutualité)
/ziekenfonds (mutualiteit).
Once you are employed by a Belgian company,
your contributions and those of your employer will
be automatically deducted from your salary by the
ONSS (National Office of Social Security). Then
you sign up with a health insurance fund, which
will reimburse your medical costs. To take you on
they will need written certification of employment
signed by your employer.
Although most funds are affiliated to a religious
or political institution, there is no real difference
because reimbursement rates are fixed by the
government. These funds do not, however, cover
100 percent of your bills; you may get around
half to three-quarters of a typically doctor’s or
specialist’s visit. Check also with your doctor that
what he prescribes is refundable. Pharmacies
maintain a state-advised list. Consequently
many people opt for additional private insurance
(complémentaire). Once insured you get a
standardised credit card style SIS card which you
will need in pharmacies and hospitals. You also
get a sheet of stickers (vignettes) which you need
to attach to a doctor’s bill to get a refund.
CAR
Belgian car insurance is expensive, and it is the car
not the driver which is insured. This means that
anyone can drive your car, but if you want cover
for injury sustained by the driver, you need to ask
for additional coverage.
The minimum insurance required by Belgian
law is Third-Party Liability, which covers death,
bodily injury or physical damage that you
cause to another person. You can opt for Fully
Comprehensive cover, which provides for most
eventualities including vandalism, fire, theft or
damage resulting from a collision. The company
will issue you with a Green Card, which you should
keep in your car at all times.
You will also receive an accident report form,
which you must keep in your car. Ask for
additional copies in French, Dutch and your
language, so you can complete it more easily. If
an accident happens, do the following: ask for the
other driver’s Green Card as proof of insurance;
get names and addresses of any witnesses before
they leave the scene; fill in the accident report
form (and get both parties to sign); state the facts
but nothing else regarding liability.
HOME
Whether you own or rent your property, you need
to get insurance. Almost all rental agreements in
Belgium require the tenant to take out insurance
on the rented property within 30 days of signing
a lease. This insurance is required by the Belgian
Civil Code, which holds a tenant responsible for
any damage to the building, unless proof can be
given that it was not his/her fault. If you are renting,
take your lease with you when you arrange your
insurance. You are also responsible for providing
cover against third-party liability, but the owner is
required to have a policy covering the property
against earthquakes, lightning, fire, etc. If you are
in furnished accommodation you are required
to take out insurance against damage to the
landlord’s furniture.
Homeowners may have a policy linked to their
mortgage but there is no obligation to do this.
Additionally if you employ a part-time or fulltime cleaner or nanny you need to take out
special low-cost liability insurance in case they
injure themselves on the job; for instance, slip on
the stairs. Home buyers are responsible for the
insurance after signing the compromis de vente
– around four months before they get the keys.
Contents insurance is not compulsory but
advisable. Remember that theft is not covered
automatically in contents insurance; it is an
option. Valuable personal items, such as jewellery
or cameras, may require an All Risks policy, which
will cover you for damage or loss in or out of the
home. Premiums on these for desirables such as
laptop computers are high.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
29
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
How to choose
a school
Making the right choice of
school is one of the most
important decisions expat
parents have to make.
Here is a guide to help you
through the process.
with an international (English) stream. Most
importantly, such children should attend a school
with a system (curriculum, testing, etc.) that is
compatible with future needs.
If your child plans to go on to higher education –
either back home or at your next destination – it
is vital that you find out how the school they go
to now will affect their choices later.
Once you narrow down your list of possibilities, try
to visit the schools you are considering before you
make your final decision. See the box below for a
list of important questions to ask when you visit.
Most people will tell you that the headmaster’s
There are three basic aspects that determine
(principal’s) attitude and management style will
what the best choice of school will be for your
be the most important factors in making a school
international child: how old the child is; how long
successful.
you will be abroad;
and whether this is an
QUESTIONS TO ASK
isolated move or one
Steer clear of any
• Are there any other expat kids at the school?
in an expected series of
school that does not
• What is the social life like for the average
moves.
encourage or accept
child at the school?
the fact that you do
If your child is young,
not speak the local
• What is the curriculum?
a local school could
language at home.
• How will your child’s progress be assessed?
be the best and most
That indicates they do
• Which diplomas does the school offer?
convenient choice for
not have a clear idea of
• To what extent are parents encouraged to
your whole family. This
the realities and needs
is especially true if you
get involved with the school and decisions
of the multilingual,
plan to be abroad for
multicultural child.
regarding its policies, etc.?
only a few years as a
one-off experience, or
Although
not
all
conversely, if you plan to live long-term in your
children relocate easily, it helps to know that
new country.
most children are more adaptable than we
usually give them credit for and, with support,
Your child will make friends close to home and
will make a success of this new opportunity.
learn the language and culture, which will benefit
the whole family. Most European primary schools
offer a solid foundation for further studies, and
it would be unlikely for the children to find
themselves behind in certain subjects once they
return home.
But if your child is at the end of primary school,
or in secondary school, or will be moving
often during his or her educational career,
being thrust into an ordinary local school will
not be ideal. In these cases, most parents and
educators would agree that the best option is
either an international school or a local school
30
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
The British School of Brussels vzw
Leuvensesteenweg 19, 3080 TERVUREN, Belgium
Tel: +32 (0)2 766 04 30 - Fax: +32 (0)2 767 80 70
[email protected] - www.britishschool.be
Call us for a School tour and find
out how we prepare students for the
21st century.
With more than 1200 students coming
from 70 different countries, we follow
the UK (English) National Curriculum
up to the age of 16 adapting it to reflect
the multinational and multicultural
nature of our School. With impressive
academic results, we are unique in
Belgium in the range of courses we
offer Post-16: A Levels, International
Baccalaureate and our own Foundation
course. Crèche facilities for children
from 1 to 3 years of age are also
available.
A British Education for international
families in the heart of Europe.
The British School of Brussels
ECOC – supporting children and young
people with learning challenges
An estimated 10% of Europeans have
some form of learning difficulty.
Imagine how difficult it is for these
people when they are living in a
country where the education system
is not in their mother tongue.
ECOC’s mission is to promote
opportunities in order that young
people and children with any form
of learning challenge are included,
respected and supported by the
teaching process in mainstream
education.
We do this primarily through our
website, providing useful information
and details of the support services
that are available. We also form
partnerships
with
likeminded
organizations, particularly those that
can provide practical help, and we
host events.
Visit us at www.ecoc.be
Please help us by giving us a donation.
Rue François Gay, 152 | Woluwe-Saint-Pierre | 1150 Brussels
E-mail: [email protected] - Phone Number: 02/613.2703.
Bank Account: 310-1238787-86 - IBAN: BE78-310-1238787-86 - BIC: BBRUBEBB
Europe’s Children Our Concern is a registered charitable organization 457070829
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
Education
system
In keeping with the myriad
levels of national and local
bureaucracy in Belgium, the
state school system can seem
a minefield to newcomers
trying to make a choice for
their children.
The first decision is whether to integrate
the children into the local system or to take
advantage of the many international schools in
the country. This naturally depends on whether
you are on a short contract or plan to adopt
Belgium as your home country. The international
option would allow your children to continue in
the same education system once they return to
their home country.
BELGIAN SCHOOLS
Whilst the state sets the laws regarding
education, responsibility for schools lies with
the language communities; Dutch in Flanders,
French in Wallonia, both languages in Brussels
and in some surrounding communes. As well
as state schools there are subsidised ‘free’ and
independent schools, often run on religious
lines, though their curricula and certification are
recognised equally within the system. Religion
plays a part in state education too, and students
can opt for Catholic, Protestant or Jewish
studies, or a more general secular approach.
The compulsory school age in Belgium is six
to 18 years, though there is an opportunity
for 16+ pupils to study part-time. Education is
free, though at secondary level parents may be
expected to contribute to the cost of some text
books. All schools are co-educational.
Children start school at the age of six, though
they may be accepted at five if they are deemed
ready. Before this, nurseries are available for
babies and children up to two-and-half years.
Priority is given to mothers in full-time work.
Kindergartens then take over until the child
reaches school age. These are often attached to
local primary schools. Children stay at primary
school for six years during which time they study
the whole range of subjects with an emphasis
on languages. Homework is set from early
on and there is a strong tradition of parental
participation.
Secondary schools fall into Type I and Type II
categories. The former is freer and more informal
whilst the latter is more traditional, with a greater
degree of specialisation chosen at 12 years. Both
types offer a general studies curriculum in the
early years, but then start to channel students into
general, vocational, technical or artistic streams
depending on individual choice and ability.
Assessment is ongoing and rigidly enforced.
There are a number of educational certificates
awarded which include the Certificate of Lower
Secondary Education and the Certificate of
Higher Education.
Most schools work a half-day on Wednesday,
though the afternoon is sometimes given over
to sporting or cultural activities. These can
also happen on a Saturday morning. Childcare
facilities are available before or after school
for working parents, though this is usually at a
charge. Similarly your children can be cared for
on Wednesday afternoons.
METHOD SCHOOLS
There is a wide range of schools which adopt the
methodology of an educational philosophy. In
these, children often learn through discovery and
the liberal arts, with subjects such as grammar,
mathematics and science being taught from
direct experience rather than in a formal setting.
The Celstin Freinet system follows this approach,
whilst the Decroly schools separate out the
academic and creative skills in a verticallystreamed organisation, with younger children
benefiting from the experience of older pupils.
The Steiner schools place greater emphasis on
the arts. The world-famous Montessori schools
are well represented in Belgium and teach
children in small, focussed groups according
to the relaxed self-developmental Montessori
method. These schools tend to offer a bilingual
French-English education.
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
33
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|[email protected]@[email protected]@SHNMHMSGDVNQKC
|[email protected]@CUDMSTQDSNTQR
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Visit our office in Brussels or one of the other offices in Belgium for more breathtaking information.
Visit our library
(Fictional, Special Needs, Self Development)
To find out more, please contact Chalks, Director of Expatica Café
Rue François Gay, 152 | Woluwe-Saint-Pierre | 1150 Brussels
Tel.: 02.613.2703 | Fax: 02.613.2702 | Mobile: 0478.482023
[email protected] | www.expatica.com/be
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JOKER BRUSSELS
Handelskaai 27
1000 Brussels
Tel 02 502 19 37
[email protected]
www.joker.be
Hot Desk with us for business
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To find out more, please contact Chalks, Director of Expatica Café
Rue François Gay, 152 | Woluwe-Saint-Pierre | 1150 Brussels
Tel.: 02.613.2703 | Fax: 02.613.2702 | Mobile: 0478.482023
[email protected] | www.expatica.com/be
Are You Ready To Be Connected?
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
International
schools
These are the choice of parents who wish their
children to remain in a system they know, with
a language they know and with the option of
continuing the system back in the home country.
With its burgeoning international community,
Belgium – and Brussels in particular – has a raft of
international schools following British, American,
French and Dutch education systems, among
many others. These schools offer the whole range
of education from nursery to school-leaving age.
As they are all private, they are fee-paying, though
many companies offer education costs as part of
an overseas benefits package.
The International School of Brussels (ISB) is the
largest American curriculum international school,
for students aged 3-19 years. It also offers the
International Baccalaureate (IB) programme.
The British School of Brussels (BSB) is the largest
British curriculum school, set on a large campus in
Tervuren. Since September 2005, BSB also offers
the IB programme as well as GCSE and A-levels.
Both ISB and BSB place great emphasis on sport
and the arts and run highly successful summer
schools, which are open to all.
St John’s International School emphasizes
Christian values, encourages academic excellence
and stimulates social development within a
culturally diverse environment.
Similarly in Antwerp, the small Antwerp British
School offers an international curriculum for
children aged 3-16 years, leading to the IGCSE.
The Antwerp International School also offers the
IGCSE as well as the IB. Both schools offer Dutch
and French as standard.
EUROPEAN SCHOOLS
The European schools are notoriously difficult to
get into unless at least one parent works for an EU
institution. Education is in the mother tongue with
a second language being introduced at primary
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
35
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+32 (0)2 640 74 74
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• • E D U C AT I O N • •
level. A third language is then obligatory from the
second year of secondary school with optional
additional languages on offer in later years.
Courses lead to the European Baccalaureate
which is recognised for university entrance
throughout the EU.
MONTESSORI SCHOOLS
Dr Maria Montessori, born 1870, was the first
woman in Italy to obtain a medical degree.
Working in education and psychiatry, she
developed her notion that each child is born with
a unique potential to be revealed rather than as
an empty vessel to be filled by others. Out of this
came a method of learning and self development
that has become recognised around the globe.
At the heart of the Montessori method of
education is the child. Montessori children learn
in a supportive and non-competitive environment
and the focus is on the child’s individuality and
specific needs. Children are encouraged to work
at their own pace and independently, meaning
the teachers can work with other individuals or
small groups. This places a certain amount of
responsibility upon children to develop their own
learning, whilst teachers act as an encouraging
guide and facilitator. An essential concept of
Montessori is that the teacher must pay attention
to the child rather than the other way round.
Teachers are, of course, an important part of the
Montessori process. It is the teacher who creates
the environment where learning can take place.
The teacher and the children share the whole
space between them – there is no teacher’s area
or desk – and the total environment comes into
play.
The Montessori schools in Brussels operate
bilingually with two teachers, one who speaks only
in English and the other in French. Extra languages,
such as Dutch and Spanish, can be introduced as
the children become older, though these tend
to be taught more traditionally. The working
languages however, are integrated into all the
work and activities the children do, strengthening
the concept that Montessori-educated children
are problem solvers, self sufficient and destined
to have confident, enquiring minds.
“St. John’s provides an
environment for broad thinking,
respect for others, importance of
academic achievement as well
as the benefits of involvement
in sports and arts activities.”
“St. John’s is a great school
with lots of diversity in the
teachings as well as the
students and activities.”
“Great education and wonderful
support for family and parents
and student groups.”
“St. John’s lives up to its
great reputation.”
These are some of the comments
we received when we asked parents
what they think about the school.
St. John’s International School is
widely regarded as one of the best
international schools in Europe.
St. John’s
International School
Drève Richelle 146
1410 Waterloo, Belgium
Tel. 02/352 06 10
[email protected]
www.stjohns.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
We invite you to come take a look
for yourself if this is the school for
your family! Make an appointment
to tour the school and speak to
teachers and students.
37
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
School listings
ANTWERP
Antwerp British School |
03 271 0943
Korte Altaarstraat 19 - 2018 Antwerp
www.britishschoolantwerp.org
British Primary School | 02 767 3098
Stationsstraat 3 - Vossem - 3080 Tervuren
www.britishprimary.be
Antwerp International School |
03 543 9300
Veltwijcklaan 180 - 2180 Ekeren, Antwerp
www.ais-antwerp.be
Da Vinci International School |
03 216 1232
Verbondstraat 67 - 2000 Antwerp
www.da-vinci.be
Lycée Francais d’Anvers |
03 239 1889
Lamorinièrestraat 168 A - 2018 Antwerp
www.lfanvers.org
BIERGES
Ecole Internationale Le Verseau
Primary section 010 231 717
Secondary section 010 231 727
rue du Wavre 60 - 1301 Bièrges
www.eiverseau.be
Montessori House |
02 385 1503
rue Pergere 117 - 1420 Braine L’Alleud
www.montessorihouse.net
Primary and secondary schools
British School of Brussels |
02 766 0430
Leuvensesteenweg 19 - 3080 Tervuren
www.britishschool.be
Brussels American School |
02 717 9552
John F Kennedylaan 12 - 1933 Sterrebeek
www.brus-ehs.eu.dodea.edu
Brussels International Catholic School
02 640 3536
chaussée de Wavre 457 - 1040 Brussels
www.bics-be.com
BRUSSELS AND SURROUNDS
Primary schools
AC Montessori Kids |
02 633 6652
boulevard de la Cense 41 - 1410 Waterloo
www.acmontessorikids.com
British Junior Academy of Brussels
02 732 5376
boulevard Saint Michel 83 - 1040 Brussels
www.bjab.org
38
British International School of Brussels
02 736 8981
avenue Emile Max 163 - 1030 Brussels
www.bisb.org
European School of Brussels I |
02 373 8611
avenue du Vert Chasseur 46 - 1180 Brussels
www.eeb1.org
European School of Brussels II | 02 774 2211
avenue Oscar Jespers 75 - 1200 Brussels
www.eeb2.be
European School of Brussels III | 02 627 4700
boulevard du Triomphe 135 - 1050 Brussels
www.ee3.org
Brussels English Primary School - Brussels
02 648 4311
avenue Franklin Roosevelt 23 - 1050 Brussels
www.beps.com
International Christian Academy
02 358 16 64
chaussée de Waterloo 47- 1640 Rhode St Genese
Brussels English Primary School - Waterloo
02 358 5606
chaussée de Waterloo 280 - 1640 Rhode Saint Genèse
www.beps.com
International Montessori Schools
02 767 6360
Tervuren, Sterrebeek, Wezembeek-Oppem
www.international-montessori.org
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
International School of Brussels |
Kattenberg 19 - 1170 Brussels
www.isb.be
02 661 4211
Japanese School of Brussels |
02 672 1038
avenue des Meuniers 133 - 1160 Brussels
www.japanese-school-brussels.be
Lycée Français de Belgique Jean Monnet
02 374 5878
avenue du Lycée Français 9 - 1180 Brussels
www.lyceefrancais-jmonnet.be
Scandinavian School |
02 357 0670
Square d’Argenteuil 5 - 1410 Waterloo
www.ssb.be
St John’s International School |
02 352 0610
Drève Richelle 146 - 1410 Waterloo
www.stjohns.be
World International School |
02 358 5606
chaussée de Waterloo 280 - 1640 Rhode-SaintGenese
www.wis.be
MOL
European School of Mol |
Europawijk 100 - 2400 Mol
www.esmol.net
014 563 111
MONS
Shape International School |
065 44 57 44
avenue de Rekjavik 717 - Shape 7010
www.nato.int/shape/community/school.htm
LANGUAGE SCHOOLS
De Rand |
02 456 97 80
Kaasmaarkt 75 - 1780 Wemmel
www.derand.be
Fondation 9 |
02 627.52 52
avenue Louise 485 - 1050 Brussels
[email protected]
www.fondation9.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
39
• • E D U C AT I O N • •
Higher
education
University study is supported by the state and is
free of charge, although some private colleges
will require a fee. Students entering university are
usually aged 18 and have either completed six
years of secondary schooling or passed their Jury
Central examination.
Duke Goethe Executive (MBA)
Goethe Business School
+49 (0)69 789 33500 (Relationship Manager)
Mertonstrasse 17 - 60325 Frankfurt am Main
Germany
Admissions & Customer
www.goethe-business-school.de
Euro*MBA Desk
University of Maastricht Business School
+31 (0)43 388 4619
Tongersestraat 53 - P.O. Box 616
6200 MD Maastricht
www.euromba.org
Vlerick Leuven Gent
Management School
Ghent Campus
Reep 1 - 9000 Gent
Leuven Campus
09 210 98 99 (English)
Philipssite 5, bus 8 - 3001 Leuven
[email protected]
www.vlerick.be
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
2010
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New Year’s Day.
Easter Monday.
Labour Day.
Ascension Day.
Whit Monday.
Flemish Community Holiday.*
National Day
Assumption.
French Community Holiday.*
All Saints’ Day.
Armistice Day.
German Community Holiday.*
Christmas Day.
Boxing Day.
*Observed by the respective communities.
40
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
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STARTING WORK
Finding a job
LANGUAGES
If you are competing in the national job market,
you will likely need an excellent command of
French or Dutch, depending on where the job is
based – or both if in Brussels. A third language
such as English is either a bonus or a job
requirement. In the international arena you are
certainly going to need English with French or
Dutch as a working language. Any language in
addition to that is a bonus.
WHERE TO LOOK
Finding work depends very much on your
language abilities in this multi-lingual country.
If you are happy to work in French or Dutch (or
preferably both in Brussels), then the weekend
editions of national newspapers Le Soir and Het
Laatste Nieuws are excellent places to start.
For English speakers, Expatica (jobs.expatica.
com), the weekly newspapers The European
Voice and The Bulletin advertises international
secretarial and managerial positions, typically in
public affairs and teaching. You’ll also find several
recruitment agencies focused on the expatriate
offering jobs at various levels. Headhunting
agencies are also common in Belgium, but tend
to specialise in executive positions.
Once you have found a job, there is usually
a probationary period of two weeks for blue
collar workers and anything between a month
and twelve months for white collar, depending
on salary. Typically, those earning less than
EUR 36,355 will have a trial period of one to six
months, while those earning more can be on trial
for as much as 12 months. During this period
either side can terminate the employment with
seven days’ notice.
The average working week is 38 hours, although
longer working hours are common, particularly in
international institutions. Overtime regulations
do not apply in all circumstances; so be prepared
not to receive time off in lieu or compensation for
working overtime.
In Belgium, you must work for one year before
any holiday entitlement is paid. That is then
calculated on the basis of how many months you
were in the job for the preceding year. However,
if you worked a full calendar year, you are then
entitled to a minimum of twenty days. In addition
there are ten legal holidays in Belgium, many of
them religious days. If a legal day falls at the
weekend, you are entitled to a day off in lieu. You
are also entitled to a holiday allowance which
varies according to the type of job.
WORK PERMITS
FOR NON-EU NATIONALS
Type A: Valid for an unlimited time for any
employer. To apply for this either you must
have resided legally in Belgium for a continuous
period of five years, or you must have lived and
worked in Belgium for at least four years and
already hold a type B.
Type B: This type is the more usual one and is
valid for one specified employer for a renewable
period of one year. If you change jobs your
permit is invalidated. To obtain this type of work
permit your potential employer must apply for
authorisation from the regional employment
office. Once this is issued you are automatically
eligible for the type B permit. A medical
certificate may be required.
42
BELGIUM
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•• JOB ••
Recruitment
agencies
BRUSSELS
Advice and Executive Search
02 732 7400
www.imb.be
Daoust Interim |
www.daoust.be
NATIONAL
Actiris
www.actiris.be
070 22 11 40
Excel Careers | 02 646 5050
www.excel-careers.com
Adecco
www.adecco.be
Excel Interim | 02 641 1740
www.excel-interim.com
Axis
http://be.axis.jobs
MCP International Executive Search
02 644 2043
www.mcp-int.com
Hays Inter Office Select
www.hays.be
Prolink Europe
www.prolink-europe.co.uk
Kelly Services
www.kellyservices.com
Rainbow Careers | 02 735 4154
www.rainbow-careers.be
Manpower
www.manpower.be
Randstad
www.randstad.be
Russell Reynolds Associates
02 743 1220
www.russellreynolds.com
Robert Half Management Resources
www.roberthalf.be
Spencer Stuart
www.spencerstuart.com
Search and Selection
www.searchselection.com
ONLINE AGENCIES
Jobs Career
www.jobscareer.be
ANTWERP
Bakker and Partners |
www.bakker.be
03 218 0000
Consultants in Personnel Management
03 218 6927
www.cpm-hrm.be
Jobs in Brussels
www.jobsinbrussels.com
Monster
www.monster.be
StepStone
www.stepstone.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM
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43
• • H E A LT H • •
Healthcare
system
If you are on a private scheme, or are uninsured,
you pay the whole lot there and then. It’s
always worth checking fees before you book an
appointment.
You can be assured of the
highest-quality medical care
in Belgium, regarded as
among the best healthcare
systems in Europe.
DENTISTS
As in most countries, the system divides
itself into state and private, though fees are
payable in both, so you need to ensure that
you are adequately covered through either the
state insurance and/or private insurance. The
advantages of the state mutuelle/mutualiteit
scheme is that you can choose any doctor, clinic
or hospital you like, in any location and without
referral, according to your needs in much the
same way as you can with private insurance.
DOCTORS
General practitioners can be found in private
practices or attached to clinics and hospitals
and you are free to consult or register with any
you like, as with specialist consultants. It may
be a decision based on location, language or
recommendation. It’s always worth speaking to
neighbours or colleagues when you first arrive;
everyone knows of a doctor, or has heard of one
with a good reputation. Also try asking on the
Expatica.com forums. Embassies usually keep
lists of doctors who can work in your language,
though it has to be said that most doctors have a
good understanding of English.
It’s always worth checking whether a doctor
is registered in the national health service
(conventionné/geconventioneerd) or private.
Some are both, perhaps working at a hospital
and also in their own private practice. One
thing to remember is to take cash with you.
Consultations usually end with a handing over of
money and very few doctors offer payment by
card of any type. If you have state social security,
reimbursement rates are calculated but only after
you’ve paid up front.
44
The majority of dentists in Belgium are private,
though there are those who accept part-payment
on state insurance. Make it a priority to check
when registering as the fee differentials can be
huge. For any specialist work, such as crowns
and bridges, the dentist may well ask how you
will pay and offer you different quotations. To
qualify for health insurance reimbursement you’ll
need to visit the dentist at least once a year. In
the big cities, Brussels in particular, there are
international dentistry practices, though they can
be considerably more expensive.
HOSPITALS
As with general practitioners, you can arrange
to see a specialist of your choice at any hospital.
You can also walk into ‘emergency outpatients’
for immediate treatment, though as in other
countries, do not use this as a GP replacement.
You should remember to have your insurance
card or other identifiable means of payment with
you, though emergency treatment will not be
refused if you don’t. If you’re going into hospital
for a stay, take everything you need – towel
and soap included – as nothing is provided.
In Brussels the eleven big public hospitals are
organised under the Iris association (www.irishopitaux.be).
EMERGENCY TREATMENT
Should you need to use the emergency 100 or
112 number, an ambulance will arrive quickly
and take you to the nearest emergency centre.
Sometimes, a decision may be made to admit
you to the best centre suited for your needs, for
example, a specialist burns unit.
PHARMACIES
Chemists are ubiquitous in Belgium, with the
green cross sign everywhere. There is a rota
system for chemists to open outside of usual
hours and throughout the night. Lists are available
from any pharmacy, or check newspapers for in
your area which are open at night.
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
PARTENA ziekenfonds & partners
YOUR PARTNER IN HEALTH INSURANCE
Health insurance in Belgium is part of the national social security system.
Partena ziekenfonds & partners is a specialised player in this field.
Our Expats & Business department provides for a quality service
specifically adapted to your needs. Contact our specialist team
for detailed information.
PARTENA ziekenfonds & partners
Expats & Business department
Coupure Links 103 - 9000 Ghent
Bld. Anspach 1, box 6 - 1000 Brussels
YOUR PARTNER IN HEALTH INSURANCE
T. 078 150 400
[email protected]
www.partena-expats.be
• • H E A LT H • •
Hospitals
Visit www.iris-hopitaux.be for a full listing of
hospitals in Belgium.
ANTWERP
Algemeen Centrum Ziekenhuis AntwerpenCampus St-Elisabeth | 03 234 4111
Leopoldstraat 26 - 2000 Antwerp
www.zna.be
Algemeen Centrum Ziekenhuis Antwerpen –
Campus St-Erasmus | 03 270 8011
Luitenant Lippenslaan - 2140 Antwerp (Borgerhout)
www.zna.be
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Middelheim
03 280 3111
Lindendreef 1- 2020 Antwerp
www.zna.be
Algemeen Ziekenhuis St. Augustinus St. Bavo - St. Augustinus | 03 443 3011
Sint-Augustinuslaan - 2610 Wilrijk-Antwerp
www.gvagroup.be
Koningin Paola KinderZiekenhuis Antwerpen
(Children’s Hospital) | 03 280 3111
Lindendreef 1- 2020 Antwerp
www.zna.be
Clinique du Parc Leopold
CHIREC | 02 287 5111
rue Froissart 38 - 1040 Brussels
www.chirec.be
Institut Médical Edith Cavell
CHIREC | 02 340 40 40
Rue Edith Cavell 32 - 1180 Brussels
www.cavell.be
Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel
02 477 41 11
Laarbeeklaan 101 - 1090 Brussels
www.uzbrussel.be
Cliniques Universitaires St Luc UCL
02 764 1111
avenue Hippocrate 10 - 1200 Brussels
www.saintluc.be
Cliniques de l’Europe - St Elisabeth
02 614 20 00
avenue De Fré 206 - 1180 Bruxelles
www.cliniquesdeleurope.be
Cliniques de l’Europe - St Michel
02 614 30 00
rue de Linthout 150 - 1040 Brussels
www.cliniquesdeleurope.be
Hôpital Erasme ULB
02 555 3111
route de Lennik 808 - 1070 Brussels
www.ulb.ac.be/erasme
BRUSSELS
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Brugmann
Site Victor Horta (there are 3 different sites
for Brugmann, this is the main one)
02 477 2111
place Van Gehuchten 4 - 1020 Brussels
www.chu-brugmann.be
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre
02 535 3111
rue Haute 322 - 1000 Brussels
www.stpierre-bru.be
Hôpital Universitaire Des Enfants Reine
Fabiola (Children’s Hospital)
02 477 33 11
rue J.J. Crocq 15 - 1020 Brussels
www.huderf.be
Institute Jules Bordet
02 541 3111
boulevard de Waterloo 121 - 1000 Brussels
www.bordet.be
GENT
Centre Hospitalier Etterbeek-Ixelles
02 641 41 11
Rue Jean Paquot 63 - 1050 Brussels
www.iris-hopitaux.be
46
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Maria Middelares
09 260 6060
Kortrijksesteenweg 1026 - 9000 Gent
www.azmmsj.be
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
• • H E A LT H • •
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint-Lucas
09 224 6111
Groenebriel 1 - 9000 Gent
www.azstlucas.be
AZ Jan Palfijn | 09 224 71 11
Henri Dunantlaan 5 - 9000 Gent
www.janpalfijn.be
University Hospital of Gent |
De Pintelaan 185 - 9000 Gent
www.uzgent.be
09 332 21 11
LIEGE
Centre Hospitalier Régional de la Citadelle
04 225 6111
boulevard du Douzième de Ligne, 1
4000 Liège
www.chrcitadelle.be
Groupe Hospitalier Saint-Joseph-Espérance
04 224 8111
rue de Hesbaye 75 - 4000 Liège
www.chc.be
Centre Hospitalière Universitaire de Liège
04 366 71 11
Domaine du Sart-Tilman, Bat B 35
4000 Liège
www.chuliege.be
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
47
• • H E A LT H • •
Fitness clubs
New health clubs continue
to open in Brussels at an
impressive rate.
Many are allied to hotels and are at the top end
of the market. Before parting with a stash of cash
though, check out what your local commune
offers as well as the smaller independent gyms
and fitness centres in your neighbourhood.
Ashtanga Yoga Institute of Brussels
02 340 6787
610, chaussée d’Alsemberg, Uccle
Ashtanga gives a good work-out as well as
increasing suppleness. This centre offers courses
at all levels – mainly in French, but in English on
request.
Corpus Studios | 02 513 0766 / 02 648 7990
33 rue Borrens, 1050 Brussels
[email protected]
www.corpuspilates.com
Kelly McKinnon started Corpus in 2000 and
offers Pilates, Gyrotonics and yoga in collective,
private and semi-private tuition; mat-work and
apparatus. Classes are offered in English, French,
Spanish, Italian and Greek.
David Lloyd Uccle | 02 379 32 00
41 Dreve de Lorraine, Uccle
This complex has 11 tennis courts, squash courts,
two swimming pools and fitness rooms.
Physical Golden Club | 02 538 1906
33 Place du Chatelain, 1050
This is a serious gym for those interested in
serious workouts, so don’t expect the luxury of
some of capital’s more pampering health clubs.
Aspria | 02 508 0800
26 rue de l’Industrie, 1040
Aspria is both exclusive and expensive. Its
centre-piece is a 21-metre swimming pool and it
offers a gym, health spa and beauty treatments
next door. Its location means it is clearly aimed
at the EU and executive crowd. There is another
branch in Avenue Louise (02 542 46 66) and St
Josse (02 609 1902).
Aspria Louise | 02 610 40 66
71B avenue Louise, 1050
If you’ve got deep pockets, then your money will
be well spent at this ultimate pampering spot in
the posh Conrad Hotel. Everything here is fivestar; the pool, the gym, the fitness rooms and the
beauty treatments.
Royal La Rasante |
56 rue Sombre
1200 Brussels
02 609 1902
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
49
• • H E A LT H • •
Sportcity | 02 773 1820
2 avenue Salomé, Woluwe St Pierre
For EUR 3 admission, you can enjoy an Olympicsize swimming pool, tennis and squash, as well
as saunas, baths and steam rooms.
Winners | 02 280 0270
13 rue Bonneels, 1210
Popular with the EU crowd, this friendly nononsense club has 9 glass-fronted squash courts,
aerobic rooms and a climbing wall.
World Class Health Academy |
Renaissance Hotel
19 rue du Parnasse, 1050
Wellness Paladins | 02 400 00 96
Les Collines de Wavre
avenue Pasteur, 6
1300 Wavre
Companies:
www.wellness-paladins.be
Individuals:
www.obiwell.com
This company provides wellness services to
individuals and companies, offering turnkey or
tailor-made solutions in terms of incentives, gifts,
rewards, team building or corporate wellness.
02 505 2929
Also in Diegem, Antwerp and Berchem
Caters largely to expense-account
executives and EU civil servants.
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BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
Not only a fantastic restaurant!
At the café you can:
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Opening hours
h
The building is open 7/7 from 10am to 10pm
Lunch is served 6/7 Sunday to Friday 12pm to 3pm
Dinner is served Wednesday to Sunday 7pm to 10pm
To find out more about, please contact Philippe Wilbers
or Chalks Corriette, Directors of Expatica Café
Rue François Gay, 152 | Woluwe-Saint-Pierre | 1150 Brussels
Tel.: 02.613.2703 | Fax: 02.613.2702
[email protected] | www.expaticacafe.be
Are You Ready To Be Connected?
•• SHOPPING ••
Shopping
Shopping in Belgium is
mostly a fulfilling experience
with reasonable prices and
a wide range of goods.
Occasionally, however, you
may be frustrated when
trying to buy a specific item
which may be available
everywhere back home.
There are two main supermarket chains in
Belgium: Delhaize and GB which is owned
by the Carrefour group (the big out-of-town
hyper-markets are branded with that name and
increasingly some smaller shops). These carry
everything you’d expect, often with international
sections. Both supermarkets also have an
excellent range of wine at keen prices. Opening
is usually Monday-Saturday from 8am-8pm, and
until 9pm on Friday. Meanwhile the Culruyt stores
claim to have the keenest prices but make sure
to take a bag or two as they don’t sell them. Brico
is Belgium’s largest DIY and gardening chain. You
can find anything for the house here.
Delhaize has the distinct edge on internet
shopping and home delivery. Caddyhome stocks
most of what you would find in the supermarket
whilst Wineworld specialises in just that with an
impressive selection of world wine delivered to
your door.
When it comes to household goods, this is where
frustration can set in. Most of the bigger furniture,
textile, kitchen and bathroom shops are located
outside city centres with poor public transport
links. Inner city shops range from reasonably
priced, awful-style to bank-breaking top designer
with little range in between (although Habitat
can be found in both Brussels and Antwerp).
IKEA now has six stores in Belgium.
52
For electrical and white goods there are two
main competitors, Vanden Borre and Krefel, both
rather similar but always worth comparing for
special offers. For computers, television and hifi, Photo Hall is ubiquitous throughout Belgium
with some excellent value monthly offers. FNAC
(Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent and Liège) also has a
stylish electrical department. At the top of the
Inno department store in Brussels, the German
mega-outfit Media Markt has taken possession
of the entire fifth floor.
Dutch chain Hema is good for modern,
reasonably-priced
homeware,
including
bedding, lighting, curtain tracks and kitchen
equipment. The same goes for Casa and Blokker,
both of which sell small household items, garden
furniture and crockery.
If it’s antiques you’re after, then go either to the
Sablon in Brussels for the gaspingly expensive,
or the more bric-a-brac oriented rues Haute and
Blaes and the decidedly downmarket flea market
on Place du Jeu de Balle. In Antwerp, the area
between the river and Nationalestraat – known
as St-Andries – is packed with quirky brocante
shops.
For department stores, you’ll need to rely on
the soulless – and often windowless – Inno.
From perfumes to clothing, children’s toys and
household items, Inno has everything but charm.
The sales are good though.
For books, Brussels is blessed with its own
branch of Waterstones where you can find a
massive stock of English books, magazines and
newspapers. Sterling Books is an excellent,
independent shop which bases prices on
current exchange rates. The best second-hand
bookshop is Pêle-Mêle, with two shops, one in
the centre and the other in Ixelles.
Shops are generally open Monday-Saturday,
with many inner-city shops preferring a 10am
opening. They are exceptionally open the two
Sundays before Christmas and also New Year.
Sales take place in January and July – dates are
strictly government controlled.
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
Sail Dunkerque - Dover
to the UK 24 sailings daily. 2 hour crossing
from
€26
car + 4
each way
www.norfolkline.com
Tel. 0044 208 127 8303
•• SHOPPING ••
Food from home
A small selection of
American, British, Spanish,
Italian and kosher products
can be found in the larger
Delhaize, Carrefour or GB
supermarkets. It’s also
worth checking Chinese
supermarkets for specific
British or American brands.
ANTWERP
Irish
Jack O’Shea’s |
rue le Titien 30
02 732 5351
Italian
Casa Italia | 02 733 4070
rue Archimède 39
Piola libri | 02 736 93 91
rue Franklin 66-68
Japanese
Tagawa | 02 648 5911
chaussée de Vleurgat 119
Mediterranean
Midi Market |
Around Gare du Midi
Sunday 8am-1pm
Chinese
Sun Wah Supermarket | 07 022 86 88
Van Wesenbekestraat 16-18
Scandinavian/Nordic
Branches of IKEA
www.ikea.be
American
Graré | 03 449 41 18
Prins Boudewijnlaan 175
Wilrijk
Gourmet Food & Gifts Brussels |
Rue Archimède 59
Jewish
Hoffy’s | 03 234 3535
Lange Kievitstraat 52
Mediterranean
Foreigner’s Market |
Oude Vaartplaats
Saturday 8am-5pm
BRUSSELS
Gourmet Food & Gifts |
Allé Petit Paris 5
1410 Waterloo
02 735 11 38
02 353 04 30
Spanish
ABC Poisonnerie | 02 512 7547
rue Ste. Catherine 46
Economato Mariso | 02 521 4736
place de la Constitution 23
España Calidade | 02 537 2387
avenue de la Porte de Hal 63
British
Stonemanor | 02 759 4979
Steenhofstraat 28 - Everberg
www.stonemanor.uk.com
Chinese
Kam Yuen | 02 512 5833
rue de la Vierge Noire 2-4
French
Oliviers & Co | 02 502 7511
rue au Beurre 28
Rob | 02 771 2060
boulevard de la Woluwe 28
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•• OUT AND ABOUT ••
Cinemas
in Brussels
Cinémathèque Royal de Belgique
02 551 1900
9 rue Baron Horta
1000 Brussels
The mega UGC (www.ugc.be)
and Kinepolis (www.kinepolis.com)
chains dominate the cinema
scene in Brussels with their
multi-screen complexes
showing mainstream films
mostly in original language.
Tied into the Film Museum at the Palais des
Beaux Arts, Cinémathèque restores and archives
old films and gives regular public showings
The museum itself is closed for renovation until
September 2007, so all activities are moved into
the old house where Ann of Cleves lived.
Flagey | 02 641 1020
Place Flagey, 1050
But Brussels also has an important art house
circuit showing Belgian and world cinema.
Our listings concentrate on the independents.
A tiny but stylish cinema in the wonderful Art
Deco Flagey arts complex. In its short life it
has gained a reputation for being a true world
cinema. It also has a penchant for Film Noir and
other classic Hollywood films such as Sunset
Boulevard and Casablanca.
Actors Studio | 02 512 1696
16 petite rue des Bouchers
Movy Club | 02 537 6954
21 rue des Moines, 1060
The Actors Studio is one of Brussels’ best loved
cinemas. Hidden by the lobby of a hotel, you’ll
need to seek it out, but just follow the posters.
Typical fare here is schlock horror from around
the world and independent European films,
often in original language with French and Dutch
subtitles, so do check if your only language is
English.
A rarity – a truly local cinema for local people
but well worth a trip if you want to experience a
lovely old Art Deco cinema. It’s big and draughty
and shows a range of world cinema, mostly the
sort of stuff that comes with a message.
Arenberg Galeries | 02 512 8063
26 galerie de la Reine
The Nova has been run for many years as a cooperative against all financial and bureaucratic
odds. It shows anything that has social context
and has an edgy underground feel to it.
Sometimes short seasons are themed and
there’s always the monthly Open Screens when
wannabe directors can showcase their attempts.
Located in the glamorous covered galleries,
this equally stylish cinema showed Belgium’s
first public film in 1895. It’s still going strong
despite cyclical threats of closure. It shows
mostly European films, including British and
is a great supporter of the Belgian and French
contemporary director. The Ecran Total festival
every summer shows over 90 films with 900
screenings.
Nova | 02 511 2477
3 rue d’Arenberg
Styx | 02 512 2102
72 rue de l’Arbre, 1050
The tiny Styx is now 35 years old. Its fleapit look
and feel belies the quality of its programme from
themed seasons to modern Belgian films. It also
runs impressive retrospective seasons showing
classic European films.
Previews/Reviews (in English):
www.picturenose.com
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•• OUT AND ABOUT ••
BRUGES
Bars
Beer and bar life is an
ingrained part of Belgian
culture. Here’s our guide
to Belgium’s best and most
traditional bars, perfect for
discovering a slice of life and
impressing your visitors.
ANTWERP
Den Engel
Grote Markt 5
The Angel is as much a part of Antwerp life as
Rubens and fashion. Slap in the middle of town,
it has no pretensions, no grand style but the
locals give it a buzzy, gossipy edge.
Kulminator
Vleminckveld 32
A classic bar renowned for its range of beers –
500 in bottles, plus a huge choice on draught. Try
the beer of the month and scribble notes about
your favourite in the visitors’ book. Tiny and cosy,
it’s used by locals and visitors alike.
De Pelikaan
Melkmarkt 14
The Pelikaan makes no effort to dress up or
flaunt itself; it’s cosy and dark and attracts arty
types and fulsome philosophers. This is a serious
talking shop where you can put the world to
rights as the beers slip down almost unnoticed.
De Vagant
Reyndersstraat 25
This is where to come for a good glass of
Genever (or Jenever), the fiery gin-like spirit.
There are 200 types on offer, with a restaurant
upstairs serving food cooked in it. Watch the
locals – they sip rather than down it in one.
58
Brugs Beertje
Kemelstraat 5
Beertje is like a Dutch brown café – dark, moody
and atmospheric. The beer menu is a ray of
light, though, with its 300 beers on offer. Ask the
owners Jan and Daisy what’s what, depending
on what you fancy.
BRUSSELS
A la Mort Subite
7 rue des Montagnes aux Herbes Potagères
This cavernous, loud and slightly louche bar is a
slice of Brussels life. Long rows of tables – perfect
for head-to-head nattering - yellowing walls and
its own Mannekin Pis, it is the perfect place for a
Kriek on draught.
Le Bier Circus
89 rue de l’Enseignement
As the name implies, this basic emporium of
beer stocks around 200 varieties, all bound in a
special beer menu. The place itself is nothing to
look at but it’s the exquisite and rare range of
brews that the boozers love.
Chez Moeder Lambic
68 rue de la Savoie
Sitting in the shadow of the St Gilles town hall,
this tiny wooden tavern, with benches, scrubbed
tables, racks of comic-strip books and Scrabble
with half the letters missing, stocks over 1,000
beers. Some of the rarer bottles cost as much as
a vintage wine.
Cirio
18 - 20 rue de la Bourse
A minute from the Grand’Place and you take a
step back into the 19th century in this bar with
its original wallpaper, lights and Art Deco toilets.
A thorough selection of mostly bottled beer is
supplemented by the famous half-en-half, a
mixed glass of still and sparkling wine.
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• OUT AND ABOUT ••
La Cléf d’Or
1 place du Jeu de Balle
Opening daily at 4:30am, this vinyl-chaired, pink
neon-signed café-bar serves up beer and basic
food to market traders and punters. Sunday
morning finds it at its maddest with the Maitre D
barking his orders to the staff and an accordionist
vying for dominance.
La Fleur en Papier Doré
55 rue des Alexiens
This old bar, on a steep hill just below the Sablon,
was the hangout of the Brussels Surrealists and
their scribblings and drawings can still be seen
on the walls. It was under threat of closure in
2007 until a group of die-hards clubbed together
to save it for posterity.
Monk
42 rue Ste-Catherine
Monk looks like it has been there forever. Well,
the house dates from the 17th century, but the
interior is impressively authentic despite being
a modern facsimile. A great range of beers,
including hard-to-find artisinales, make this place
popular with a whole range of youngish locals
and bemused tourists.
GHENT
De Dulle Griet
Vrijdagsmarkt 50
The Griet took a leap of faith many years ago
and became the first bar to specialise in Flemish
beers. Because of that it gets its fair share of
tourists but is also used by locals. You may be
asked to exchange a beer for a shoe, which
then gets hauled into the air in a basket where it
hangs until the drinker has paid up and returned
their glass. (This quaint tradition evidently stops
you walking out with one of the specialised beer
glasses.)
Het Waterhuis aan de Bierkant
Groentenmarkt 9
With its 14 beers on draught (including all the
Trappists) this place gets packed, especially in
summer when the canal side terrace is open.
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•• OUT AND ABOUT ••
Weekend
breaks
Nowhere in Belgium is too
far, so here are some ideas
for getting away from it all
and breaking free of the city.
Knokke-Heist is a much more upmarket resort,
where wealthy Belgians keep swanky seaside
homes and where the shops, restaurants and
beach clubs are all designer. A short way north,
close to the Dutch border, is Zwin a protected
area of natural beauty.
A great way to explore the whole coastline is by
the Kusttram, a tram which runs its entire length
from De Panne to Knokke. Run by De Lijn, the
tram calls in at 70 stops in all 16 towns.
www.dekusttram.be
TAKING THE PLUNGE
Let the original Spa take away the stress of
modern life. The eponymous town of Spa
is located in the heart of the Ardennes, and
takes around two hours to reach by train. Its
sulphurous waters were originally discovered
by the Romans, although it was to be another
half century before it became famous as a
resort. After falling into 19th century disrepair
and disregard Spa has, since 2004, been
transformed into a magnificent therapy and
relaxation centre, worthy of a new millennium.
www.thermesdespa.com
DIPPING YOUR TOES
The Belgian coastline is only 64 kms long, but
it embraces the best of kiss-me-quick seaside
activities, sophisticated living and wildlife
sanctuaries. Ostend is a good place to head
for if you want a taste of royal Belgium, for
this place is known as the Queen of Belgian
Resorts. The Fort Napoleon, built in 1812,
is the only intact Napoleonic fortress left in
Europe. At the western end of the promenade,
there is Leopold’s 390m gallery. Without doubt
the crowning glory of the post-war period is the
Ostend Casino, built in 1953, the fourth casino
to stand on the same spot.
www.ostend.be
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•• OUT AND ABOUT ••
RAMBLING IN THE ARDENNES
The Ardennes, in the south of the country, covers
the three provinces of Namur, Luxembourg and
Liège and is an area of outstanding beauty.
The gentle but rugged countryside of the
Ardennes is full of heritage, history and charm.
It can get quite touristy in the summer, but there
is always somewhere to escape, especially if
you have a car.
www.catpw.be
Dinant is a good place for a day trip from
Brussels. Overlooked by its hilltop citadel, it’s
a pretty location - though there’s not much to
do over a longer period of time. St-Hubert also
has a railway station and is a perfect base for
setting out on cycling or walking activities. It’s
named after the patron saint of hunters which
explains why this is the centre of hunt land and
why its restaurants specialise in game.
www.dinant-tourisme.be
In the winter, parts of the Ardennes become
a ski resort. We’re not talking Alps here, but
Belgium’s highest point, the Baraque de
Fraiture, at 652 m offers three alpine pistes.
CARNIVAL TIME
Carnival is an important part of Belgian cultural
heritage and happens every year at Lent,
mostly in smaller towns and villages in Wallonia.
The most famous carnival is in Binche, not far
from Charleroi. There are strict rules for taking
part; only men born in Binche can don the
Gilles costume. The costumes are wonderfully
outrageous and carry strange, secret symbols.
The festivities last three days, culminating in a
parade where boys throw blood oranges into
the crowd (these are not meant as missiles, but
gifts and should never be thrown back).
The Malmédy carnival involves men in black
hats decorated with ostrich feathers grabbing
at onlookers with their tong-like hape-tchâr
(flesh snatchers). They won’t let go until you
say sorry. While in Stavelot, the carnival is
renowned for its participants in white monks’
robes and hoods known as the Blancs-Moussis.
In Geraardsbergen on the first Sunday of Lent
is the Tonnekensbrand. The oldest citizen,
followed by the mayor, are presented with a
glass of white wine swarming with small live
fish. Both drink a mouthful and swallow a fish.
It’s a funny old world.
Binche carnival www.carnavaldebinche.be
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•• SETTLING IN ••
Utilities and
telephones
Gas Leaks |
Waste Disposal |
Water
TMVW |
09 240 81 11
078 35 35 99
UTILITIES
LIÈGE
For connection of all utilities, you will need a
Belgian ID card or a passport if you have just
arrived. Electrabel and Sibelgaz remain the two
main providers of electricity and gas, though a
European directive has now deregulated the
market throughout the EU.
Electricity
ALE | 04 263 18.80
InterMosane | 078 15 78 01
Call 02 549 4111 to find out about suppliers in
your region.
Household rubbish collection is organised by the
city or communal councils. It is usually collected
twice a week. Recycling is becoming more
common and there are special yellow sacks for
paper and blue for recyclable items such as PET
containers, plastic and aluminium. Brussels has
recently introduced the environmentally friendly
approach, with white, blue and yellow bags.
ANTWERP
Electricity
IMEA | 078 35 35 34
Gas
IGAO |
078 35 35 34
Gas Leaks |
0800 65 0 65
Waste Disposal |
Water
AWW |
03 244 05 44
Gas Leaks |
Water
IBDE/BIWM |
02 274 4066
Power Failure |
078 35 35 00
Water
SWDE |
04 222 4422
078 15 16 17
TELEPHONES
Belgacom still has a monopoly on fixed-line
telephone services, but is now partly privatised,
resulting in greater efficiency and cheaper bills.
Telenet is its biggest competition at the moment,
but still only offers service in parts of the country.
Tele 2 is also making headway in the domestic
market. Contact details for all phone operators
are the same country-wide so are listed below
without city headings.
MOBILE PHONES
02 739.52.11 (Emergency)
Electricity and Gas
IMEWO | 078 35 35 34
0800 87 087
Waste Disposal |
Telenet | 0800 666 55
www.telenet.be
0800 981 81
GENT
Gas Leaks |
078 78 78 00
Tele2 (now part of Base)
www.tele2.be
02 274 4044
Waste Disposal |
Power Failure |
INTERNATIONAL CALLS
Electricity and Gas
Sibelgaz | 02 549 41 00
Power Failure |
Gas
ALG | 04 254 47 02
InterMosane | 078 15 78 01
Belgacom
Special expatriate services | 0800 32 005
General information (English) | 0800 55 800
www.belgacom.be
03 22 11 333??????
BRUSSELS
62
0800 65 065
Base | 0486 19 19 99
www.base.be
Mobistar | 0495 95 95 00
www.mobistar.be
Proximus | 078 05 6030
www.proximus.be
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• SETTLING IN ••
Television
and internet
Belgium is one of the most
cabled countries in the world
with television typically
offering over 40 channels.
Although there are some 30 cable operators
in Belgium, they often enjoy a monopoly in a
particular region. The choice of channels also
varies. The Dutch-speaking channels transmit
anglophone films, documentaries, series, and
sit-coms in their original version whilst the French
channels usually dub.
Satellite television is also available and some
providers offer Sky from the UK. There is a fairly
hefty set-up charge as Sky is not allowed to
market its product on the continent because of
licensing agreements.
Digital television is at varying stages depending
on where you live and which company provides
your cable service. The national picture is split
regionally with the Flemish community switching
over to digital at the end of 2008 and the Frenchspeaking community switching over in 2011.
There now appears to be greater competition
in trying to offer combined services: telephone,
internet and television. Belgacom TV entered
the market recently but does not carry the BBC
channels. Most of the TV cable companies also
offer Internet connection via the cable, so it’s
worth shopping around – though you may find
you fall foul of a monopoly by one company and
feel frustrated that your choice is not available in
your area.
TELEVISION WITH ENGLISH
PROGRAMMING
Belgian channels: 2BE (formerly Kanaal 2),
Ketnet/Canvas, VTM, VT4, VRT-TV1
Dutch channels: Holland 1, Holland 2, Holland 3
International: BBC 1 and 2, BBC World,
CNN International, CNBC, Euro News, Euro
Sport, MTV Europe, BeTV requires a decoder,
see www.betv.be
MAJOR CABLE TELEVISION AND
INTERNET PROVIDERS
Brutélé | TV 02 500 991
www.brutele.be
Numéricable | 02 226 52 00
www.numericable.be
Electrabel | 078 78 0123
www.tvcablenet.be
Telenet | 0800 668 01
www.telenet.be
X-BO | 02 649 68 69
www.x-bo.com
DIGITAL TV PROVIDERS
Telenet
www.telenet.be
Belgacom
www.belgacom.be
SATELLITE TV PROVIDERS
Tv From Home | 0485 38 74 02
http://tvfromhome.be/
Sky TV in Belgium | + 44 207 100 91
http://storesatellite.com/sky-tv-belgium.php
DIAL-UP AND ASDL INTERNET
PROVIDERS
Belgacom ADSL
www.belgacom.be/adsl
Clearwire (no telephone connection required)
www.clearwire.be
Cybernet
www.cybernet.be
Freeworld
www.freeworld.be
Scarlet
www.scarlet.be
Skynet | 0800 23 451
www.skynet.be
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•• SETTLING IN ••
Libraries
Post offices
Some libraries have a small
English-language section and
also videos and DVDs in their
original languages.
The main Belgian Post Offices are generally open
Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm with some opening for
a half day on Saturday. The post office at Brussels
South Station (Gare du Midi) is open earlier
than most, weekdays at 07h00. The post office
experience can be a gruelling one; understaffed
and with over-bureaucratic systems, it can take
an age to reach one of the few windows that are
open. Unfortunately there are few other places
where you can buy stamps, though the main post
offices now have a shop attached where you can
buy them in strips of ten without the queues.
When posting a letter, particularly overseas, be
aware of the size and weight of your letter; it
should be within the strict limits for each postal
tariff, and also the prior system (1st class) for both
domestic and international posting.
www.post.be/
ANTWERP
Antwerpen-Stedelijke Openbare Bibliotheken
0800 992 93 (free number)
Lange Nieuwstraat 105
2000 Antwerp
BRUSSELS
Brussels Main Library (French and Dutch)
02 548 2610
Rue des Riches-Claires 24
1000 Brussels
French Community libraries (Information and
locations) |
0800 20 000
www.cfwb.be
Muntpunt Bib (Flemish Community)
02 229 1840
Muntplein (Prinsenstraat 8)
1000 Brussel
www.muntpunt.be/bib
Children’s English Library | 02 770 9812
Centre Communautaire Crousse
rue aux Bois 11
1150 Brussels
GENT
Centrale Openbare Bibliotheek
09 266 7000
Graaf Zan Vlaanderenplein 40
9000 Gent
Major Post Offices
ANTWERP
Antwerpen 14 |
Pelikaanstraat 16
2018 Antwerp
03 229 0380
BRUSSELS
Bruxelles 1 | 02 226 9700
Boulevard Anspach 1
1000 Brussels
GENT
Gent 2 | 09 269 2750
Lange Kruisstraat 55
9000 Gent
LIÈGE
Liège 20 | 04 223 4084
Rue de la Régence 26
4000 Liège
LIEGE
Bibliothèque Centrale Chiroux-Croisiers
04 232 8686
rue des Croisiers 15
4000 Liège
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•• SETTLING IN ••
Embassies
and consulates
Italy |
Argentina |
Lithuania |
Australia |
02 647 7812
02 286 0500
Austria (trade) |
02 645 16 50
Bosnia Herzegovina |
Brazil |
02 502 0188
02 640 2015
Bulgaria |
02 374 5963
Canada |
02 741 0611
Chile |
02 280 1620
China |
02 771 1497
Croatia |
02 639 2036
Cyprus |
02 650 0610
Czech Republic |
Denmark |
Egypt |
02 641 8930
02 233 0900
02 663 5800
Estonia |
02 779 0755
Finland |
02 287 1212
France |
02 229 8500
Germany |
Greece |
02 787 18 00
02 543 1550
Japan |
02 513 2340
Latvia |
02 344 1682
02 772 2750
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg |
Malta |
02 343 0195
Mexico |
02 644 1300
Morocco |
02 732 6545
The Netherlands |
New Zealand |
Norway |
Poland |
02 512 1040
02 238 7400
02 739 0100
02 533 0700
Romania |
02 343 6935
02 374 6886
Slovakia |
02 346 4045
Slovenia |
02 646 9099
South Africa |
Spain |
Sweden |
02 285 4400
02 230 0340
02 510 1111
Switzerland |
02 285 4350
02 545 5500
Turkey |
Hungary |
02 513 4095
02 348 1800
Ukraine |
Ireland |
02 379 2100
02 238 5000
United Kingdom |
India |
02 679 1711
Portugal |
Russia |
02 287 6211
02 640 9140
United States of America |
Indonesia |
Israel |
66
02 737 5700
02 508 2111
02 771 2014
02 373 5511
For the latest information on
any subject in this guide visit www.expatica.com
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• TRANSPORT ••
Transport
Belgium has an excellent
public transport network
which is cheap and efficient.
One if its strengths is its
integrated train, tram, metro
and bus system which makes
it easy to make connections.
TEC | 04 361 9444
www.infotec.be
GENT
De Lijn (Oost-Vlaanderen) |
www.delijn.be
070 220 200
LIÈGE
TEC Liège | 04 361 9444
www.infotec.be
Trains
DOMESTIC TRAINS
The dense train network in Belgium is stateowned and operated by SNCB/NMBS.
ANTWERP
The public transport system in Antwerp is run by
De Lijn and is based on trams and buses, with
an underground tram line running through the
city and under the river Schelde. Multiple-ride or
season tickets can be bought at De Lijn booths,
in some newsagents, banks and at railway
stations. Single tickets can be bought from the
driver, though this is the most expensive way of
travelling.
De Lijn Antwerpen |
www.delijn.be
070 220 200
BRUSSELS
The Brussels city public transport is run by STIB/
MIVB, whilst bus transport outside the centre is
run by De Lijn in Flanders and TEC in Wallonia.
Tickets are not interchangeable between the
companies. In Brussels centre, you can buy
multiple ride or season tickets from STIB/ MIVB
ticket offices at the metro station or from special
booths around the city. Single tickets only can be
bought from bus or tram drivers. Multiple-ride
tickets can be bought for five or 10 journeys, and
like single-journey tickets, must be time stamped
in the orange boxes. Once stamped, you can
travel anywhere within an hour, on bus, tram or
metro, but remember to stamp your ticket at
each change.
STIB/ MIVB | 070 23 2000
www.stib.irisnet.be
De Lijn | 070 220 200
www.delijn.be
For the most part it is efficient and inexpensive.
Booking is best done before boarding; it is
possible to buy a ticket from the guard but they
are at full-price. Be aware that ticket offices
are often busy so give yourself plenty of time.
Alternatively, you can now print your own ticket
from the web site. Make sure you get all the
details correct as they are not transferable and
must be supported by showing ID to the guard.
There are various ways of reducing costs such as
a B-rail pass, and return travel at the weekend is
much cheaper.
SNCB/NMBS Domestic |
www.b-rail.be
02 528 28 28
INTERNATIONAL TRAINS
Belgium is truly the railway crossroads of Europe,
with trains coming into Brussels from all over
Europe. Brussels Gare du Midi is the terminus
for the Eurostar coming from London and Lille,
French TGV trains and the joint Belgian-Dutchowned Thalys, which between them connect
France, Holland and Germany. Alternatively, you
can take conventional EuroCity trains to most
European cities. Bookings for the high-speed
train services can be made online at the Belgian
railway web site.
If you want to drive to England, it’s just a short
journey to Calais for the Eurostar shuttle service.
SNCB/NMBS International
Local | 02 528 28 51
www.b-rail.be
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LIÈGE
Eurostar | 02 528 2828
www.eurostar.com
TGV | 02 528 2828
www.tgv.com
Liège Airport mainly offers holiday destination
flights. By public transport you can reach the
airport by train (Liège Guillemins) and then taxi,
or by TEC bus 53 or 85
Thalys | 02 528 2828
www.thalys.com
Liège Airport | 04 234 8411
www.liegeairport.com
Airports
Taxis
The country’s main international airport is Brussels
Airport, Zaventum. Charleroi, also known as
Brussels South, is used mainly by Ryanair. There
are small provincial airports in Antwerp and Liège
used mostly by city-hopper planes.
In general, you cannot hail a taxi on the street.
They wait at special ranks or can be called
by phone to come and get you. All taxis are
metered and have different tariffs according to
whether you are in the city centre or the outskirts.
All information, including the driver number,
should be clearly displayed inside the taxi and
often hangs at the back of the front passenger
seat. Tips are included in the meter price.
ANTWERP
Antwerp airport is just 2 km from the city centre
and is close to Antwerp Berchem rail station.
There are daily flights to London, Manchester,
Rotterdam, Jersey and Milan.
Antwerp International Airport |
www.antwerpairport.be
03 285 6500
BRUSSELS
Brussels Region Taxi Information
02 204 1404
Taxi Verts and Taxi Orange |
www.taxisverts.be
BRUSSELS
Public transport from Brussels Airport is either
by train or bus. The Airport Express runs four
times an hour at peak times, dropping to twicehourly on Sundays and bank holidays. A taxi ride
in to town is reasonably quick, but expensive at
around EUR 40. A number 12 express bus runs
every 30 minutes between the airport and Rond
Point Schuman.
Taxis Bleus | 02 268 0000
www.taxisbleus.be
ANTWERP
Antwerp Taxi |
03 238 3838
GENT
V-Tax N.V. |
From Brussels South Charleroi, Ryanair has a bus
for each flight which takes around an hour to
get to Brussels. Drop-off point is Gare du Midi.
Alternatively you can travel to Charleroi by train
and use the shuttle bus service to the airport.
Taxis are an expensive option, costing around
EUR 80.
02 349 4949
09 222 22 22
LIÈGE
Noveltax |
04 252 5252
Brussels Airport, Zaventem | 02 753 7753
Flight information | 0900 70000
www.brusselsairport.be
Brussels South Charleroi Airport
071 25 1211
www.charleroi-airport.com
68
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• TRANSPORT ••
ROAD TAX
Driving
and parking
Your road tax is also based on the power of your
engine and whether your car is used to transport
passengers or merchandise. It is payable
annually. The road tax becomes costlier on a
second car.
DRIVING LICENCE
If you are a citizen of an EU member country you
do not need to obtain a Belgian licence. Other
foreigners permanently residing in Belgium and
driving in the country may use an International
Driving licence initially, but should apply for a
valid Belgian driving licence on being issued an
identity card.
An application must be made at the local town
hall, usually at the same time as residence
registration. It is required that you provide an
existing driver’s licence, two passport-type
photographs and a residence permit. Expect
several weeks’ delay before receiving the Belgian
licence.
A Belgian driving licence will be given
automatically to some nationals including
Switzerland and Norway. Other nationals may
need to take a Belgian driving test to qualify.
Non-EU nationals can check the government
web site for licence validity: www.mobilit.fgov.be
It is important to note that the minimum driving
age in Belgium is 18. Even if you’re 17 and have
been issued a licence in your home country, you
cannot drive here.
REGISTRATION TAX
Speed limits are 30/50kph in built-up areas,
70/90kph out of town and 120kph on motorways
and four-lane roads.
On entering any town or village, the speed
limit comes into effect at the white background
signboard bearing the community’s name. Radar
speed traps are common, particularly on the
highway.
TRAFFIC INFORMATION
The telephone number for all of Belgium is
0900 10 280, seven days a week from 6am to
11pm. It carries information on traffic conditions
anywhere in Belgium and also abroad.
PARKING
Parking in town centres is controlled by parking
meters or, in a so-called blue zone, by using a
special disc (showing the time of arrival) which
can be bought from garages or tobacconists.
If using meters, a ticket must be bought from
a machine and should be placed clearly on
the dashboard, showing the hours of validity.
Sometimes a system of alternate side of the road
parking is used.
The registration tax is for your number plate
which stays with you and not with the car. You
will get the rear number plate in the post and
have to go to a Mister Minute type shop to have
the front one made up!
Also watch out for temporary signs left by the
commune to indicate that the road needs to be
kept clear for road works or the like. Ignore these
at your peril as your car will be towed. Never park
closer than 15m to a tram or bus stop.
CIRCULATION TAX
Certain very busy streets are marked with a red
triangle stating Axe Rouge/Ax Rode, meaning
that no parking is permitted from 7am to 9.30am
and 4pm to 6pm. A yellow line on the curb
indicates no parking.
Circulation tax (taxe de mise en circulation/
belasting op inverkeerstelling) is a one-off
payment made upon the purchase of a new or
used car, based on the power of the engine. This
is designed to curb the use of fuel-heavy cars, so
make sure you check the tax bracket you fall into.
70
SPEED LIMITS
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• LISTING AND INDEX ••
Club listings
Want to meet likeminded
expats? Here is a selection of
just some of the groups and
clubs in Belgium. Check the
full list on www.expatica.com
ARTS AND THEATRE
Antwerp British and International Women
www.abiw.org
[email protected]
Royal British Legion
www.britishlegion.be (Brussels)
www.rblantwerp.be (Antwerp)
British & Commonwealth Women’s Club of
Brussels
http://bcwcb.weebly.com
Antwerp Decorative & Fine Arts Society
www.adfas.org
Brussels British Community Association
www.britishinbrussels.com
British American Theatrical Society (BATS)
www.batsantwerp.be
Welsh Society of Brussels
http://cymdeithas.nireblog.com
American Theatre Company
http://atc-brussels.com
EXPAT ASSOCIATIONS: OTHER
Brussels Shakespeare Society
www.shaksoc.com
English Theatre Brussels (Comedy Club)
http://theatreinbrussels.com/ecc
Irish Theatre Group
www.irishtheatregroup.com
Viewfinders English-Speaking Photography Club
www.viewfinders.be
EXPAT ASSOCIATIONS: AMERICAN
Antwerp Indian Association
92 Pelikaanstraat Bus 19 - 2018 Antwerp
Irish Club of Belgium
www.irishclub.be
Jewish Community of Antwerp
www.shomre-hadas.be
Australia Society
www.aussieworld.com/ausoc
Professional Women International
www.pwi.be
American Club of Brussels
www.americanclubbrussels.org
Women’s International Club Brussels
www.wicbrussels.com
American Women’s Club of Antwerp
www.awcantwerp.org
MUSIC, SONG AND DANCE
American Women’s Club of Brussels
www.awcb.org/awcb
Brussels Choral Society
www.brusselschoralsociety.com
EXPAT ASSOCIATIONS: BRITISH
Brussels Light Opera Company
www.bloc-brussels.be
Anglo-Belgian Society
www.anglo-belgiansoc.com
Brussels Madrigal Singers
www.brusselsmadrigals.be
Antwerp British Community Association
http://members.multimania.co.uk/ABCA
International Chorale of Brussels
www.internationalchorale.com
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
71
•• LISTING AND INDEX ••
CHARITABLE AND SOCIAL
Holy Trinity Anglican Church
www.htbrussels.com
| 02 511 7183
Europe’s Children Our Concern
02.613.2703
www.ecoc.be
First Church of Christ Scientist Brussels
02 647 6456
A Club Brussels
http://aclubbrussels.hostrocket.com
International Baptist Church |
www.ibcbrussels.org
Brussels Hash House Harriers
www.bmph3.com
International Protestant Church
02 673 0581
www.ipcbrussels.org
Caledonian Society
www.calsoc.be
Our Lady of Mercy Parish |
Lions Club of Belgium
www.lions.be
www.lionsheraldic.net
Spouses Trailing Under Duress Successfully
(STUDS)
www.belgiumstuds.com
RELIGIOUS SERVICES
ANTWERP
Antwerp International Protestant Church
03 644 2046
www.aipchurch.org
03 239 3339
St Andrew’s Church of Scotland
02 672 4056
www.churchofscotland.be
St Anthony’s Roman Catholic Parish
www.saint-anthony.be
02 720 1970
St Nicholas Roman Catholic Church
02 511 8178
St Paul’s Tervuren Anglican Church
02 767 3435
www.stpaulstervuren.be
Synagogue de Bruxelles |
International Baptist Church of Antwerp
03 290 5262
www.ministryserver.com/ibcofantwerp.htm
BRUSSELS AND SURROUNDS
Beth Hillel Synagogue (non orthodox)
02 332 2528
www.beth-hillel.org
Cornerstone International Church
0495 36 78 41
www.cornerstone.be
72
02 354 5343
Sacre Coeur Roman Catholic Church
19, Rue de la Corrège, Brussels 1000
Rotary International
www.rotary.belux.org
St Boniface Anglican Church |
www.boniface.be
02 731 9900
02 512 4334
GENT
St John’s Anglican Church
http://users.telenet.be/stjohns
LIÈGE
English Speaking Church of Liège
085 84 44 82
http://netministries.org/see/churches/ch00654
Oostende
The English Church
02 771 7969
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
•• LISTING AND INDEX ••
Emergency
numbers and
helplines
EU common emergency line all services . . . 112
Fire or Ambulance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
Red Cross ambulance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Police . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 101
Anti-poison centre . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 070 245 245
GARDEN CENTRE
Centre de Jardinage
Tuincentrum
HAIRDRESSER
Salon de Coiffure
Kapper
HEALTH CLUB
Centre de Fitnesse
Fitness Centrum
Pharmacists (on duty)
0900 10 500 (€0,45/Min) . . . www.pharmacie.be
HOUSEWARES
Articles de Ménage et de
Cuisine, Bazars
Huishoud Artikelen
Doctors (on duty)
Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 479 1818
Rest of Belgium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
INSURANCE
Assurance
Verzekering
Dentists (on duty)
Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 426 1026
Rest of Belgium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100
LANGUAGE SCHOOL
Ecole de Langues
Talenonderwijs
Vets (on duty)
Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 479 9990
LAWYER
Avocat/Notaire
Advocaat
Bank card lost or stolen
. . . . . . . . . . . 070
344 3 44
English-speaking Community Help Service in
Brussels.
A volunteer counselling service for emotional
problems and a day-time advice service.
Help Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 02 648 4014
www.chsbelgium.org
EMPLOYMENT OFFICES
Bureau de Placement
Arbeidsbureau (government)
Intérimaire
Uitzendbureau (private)
EYE DOCTOR
Optometriste
Oogarts
MOVING COMPANIES
Déménagement
Verhuizingen
REALTOR
Agences Immobilières
Makelaar
TAX CONSULTANT
Conseils fiscaux
Belastingadviseur
TRAVEL AGENT
Agence de Voyage
Reisburo
FURNITURE
Meubles
Meubelen
WWW.EXPATICA.COM | BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE
73
•• LISTING AND INDEX ••
O
Advertisers
index
Ortel Mobile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
P
Partena . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Property Hunters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
B
Boston University. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
British School of Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Brussels Business Flats . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Brussels-Europe Liaison Office . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Bupa International . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
R99 Wine Consulting
..........................
24
S
Solvay Brussels School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41
St Johns International School . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37
C
Citadines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Community Help Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Corpus Studios . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
T
D
V
DKV Globality . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Back page
E
Euromut . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45
Europe’s Children Our Concern . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
G
GMC relocation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
H
Homepost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
I
ING Bank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
J
Joker Brussels . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
K
KPN Group Belgium . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57
M
Maasmechelen Village . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55
Map Relocations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9
N
Norfolkline. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54
74
R
TV From Home . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School . . . . . .2
Z
Ziegler . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
NEED MORE GUIDES?
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If you are involved in managing expats (maybe
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frequent contact with expats who would find this
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at [email protected] to order the
guides. You can order as many guides you feel
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the postage costs).
If you run a bookshop, cafe, bar or restaurant
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the free Expat Survival Guide to your customers,
please email [email protected] for
details.
BELGIUM EXPAT SURVIVAL GUIDE | WWW.EXPATICA.COM
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Take advantage of our ING Expat Convenience Services
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