Belgium is often a country that is overlooked when trying to decide where to reside within Europe. For this reason, it is important to consider Europe’s smaller countries when trying to ascertain where the best place to relocate is as an expat. Once this decision is made, it is quite streamlined to relocate to Europe.
When contemplating whether Belgium is the ideal fit for your family, consider the following benefits and detriments to relocating to Belgium as an expat:
Benefits to Relocating to Belgium:
Many Languages: Belgium has many different languages spoken. The reason for this is that there are several different cultures that reside within the country. So, what language is spoken in Belgium? An expat that is both living and working in Belgium will likely find colleagues speaking to them in English, French and Dutch. This creates a wonderful and diverse cultural experience for expats to enjoy. Be sure to take this into account when you are looking into the language makeup of where you want to reside as an expat.
International Organizations: For those that are working or are looking for employment in international organizations will be able to find a plethora of opportunities in Brussels. The same is true for many major multinationals. This is a major opportunity for expats that are looking for jobs in the corporate or governmental sector. Due to the high level of English in Brussels, these jobs are a great place to obtain employment as an expat.
Excellent Public Transportation Infrastructure: Overall, the cities and towns in Belgium have excellent infrastructure. For this reason, it is a very easy country to live in. While living in a country such as Belgium, one is able to get around easily and travel to neighboring cities by train, which makes for a wonderful diversion on the weekends.
Proximity for Travel: From Belgium, it is quite easy to get around continental Europe. It is important to consider the wealth of trains and budget airlines that are available to travelers. In contemplating these options, one is absolutely able to travel to stunning cities for unique cultural experiences in far less travel time than they would experience from their home countries.
Negative Aspects to Relocating to Belgium:
High Cost of Real Estate: Belgium has some stunning architecture, which makes it a very attractive country for foreigners to visit. For this reason, it is important to assess the cost of real estate when trying to decide whether relocating to Belgium is a wise decision. Be sure that your salary is in fact high enough to support the expensive rent that you will pay. This is particularly true in the larger cities such as Brussels. You can check this page to find out the best pound to euro exchange rate so you can see how much it would require for a piece of real estate in Belgium.
Complicated State Structure: Since there are three cultures living within Belgium, it is quite complicated to address the legalities within the country at times. There can be a struggle between the cultures, which is a detriment to efficiency. Be sure to research the legalities of contracts before relocating to Belgium.
High Taxes: Another consideration to take into account is that Belgium has a very high amount of taxes. This is particularly relevant to expats that are working in the multinationals and international organizations. The salaries offered appear high; however, they may not exactly be beneficial to those expats if they come to Belgium with no savings in reserves. It is wise to look into the taxation and how it will affect your prospective salary before moving to Belgium.
Languages Required for Employment: Once aspect that is a detriment to having so many languages within Belgium is that there is a requirement that the prospective employee speak both French and English. In fact, the employee will be treated with more respect if they have a working knowledge of French before a working knowledge of English. It is wise to keep this in mind as an expat that may only speak English or just basic conversational French. Having the linguistic skills in line before arriving in Belgium for professional opportunities is a wise move to consider.
Final Remarks on the Subject
It is important to look at Belgium carefully before deciding to relocate there as an expat. The reason for this is that it is important to see whether the high taxation in Belgium is something that will take too much away to live well on the salary that you will be paid at a multinational or international organization in Belgium. Additionally, the high cost of real estate is another aspect to consider when deciding whether Belgium is the proper place to relocate as an expat.
That being said, the high cost of living and taxation aside, Belgium offers a wealth of culture and history that is fascinating for prospective expats to explore. Thus, when contemplating places in Europe to settle as an expat, it is absolutely worth it to keep Belgium in your list of possibilities for a potential high quality of life and cultural experience.