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What first captivates the newcomers to Belgium are the waffles, the beer and the chocolate. However, the country has more to offer, and not just to culinary enthusiasts. Its history is rich and influenced by Celtic, Roman and Germanic culture. Its inhabitants are friendly and tolerant of immigrants. There are excellent opportunities for high quality education and an affordable healthcare system. It is no coincidence that foreigners living in Belgium account for nearly 13% of the total population by 2022.

What language is spoken in Belgium?

Moving to Belgium without knowing the language can seem intimidating. Fortunately, Flemish, French and German are recognised as official languages in the country. English is widespread, and in many cases even just English would be enough for your communication in the workplace and outside it. In fact, it's the languages that the average European is generally fluent in that can tip the balance in favour of moving to Belgium.

On the other hand, the official languages in the country are also associated with the three main regions - the Flemish, the Walloon, and Brussels-Capital Region. Therefore, the language you speak can determine the region to which it is most appropriate to move.

The country offers a free integration programme. Its aim is to familiarise rights of residence holders with the rights and obligations, specificities of living, working and studying in Belgium. Language courses for new arrivals are offered in the various municipalities. In addition to courses initiated by the State, there are also specialised language schools.

Finding a new home when moving to Belgium

With Belgium's excellent rental system, finding a home can be an easy task, and is even preferable to buying a property. Among the advantages of living in the country are the relatively low housing costs compared to countries like Germany or the Netherlands. Rental prices are close to the European average. Tenancies are usually for a minimum period of 3 years. This is one of the reasons why it is easy to find a home even in the capital Brussels.

Brussels is among the most popular places to rent a home. The city's role as an important point in the structure of the European Union is the reason why it has become home to many foreign nationals. Other preferred destinations for settling down and looking for a home are the surroundings of Brussels and Antwerp, where rental costs are observed to be 25% lower compared to those in the capital.

As for monthly rental prices for a one-bedroom apartment, they vary depending on the city you plan to settle in, from €1,100 in Brussels, to €920 in Ghent, to €900 in Antwerp.

When moving to Belgium, it's a good idea to know what the rental market includes. The following are the most common. 

Furnished short-term accommodation

Usually, those are a subject to flexible tenancies. They are recommended in case you are planning a short stay related to work, leisure or visiting.

Unfurnished residential apartments

This type of housing often consists of one or two rooms, they are a part of old townhouses and are located in central areas of cities. They are a good option if you are looking for a long-term rental.

Family houses

These are ideal if you're planning a move to Belgium with your whole family, as they give you the space and privacy you need.

Shared flats and co-living spaces

These are recommended for money saving and successful socialisation if you are planning to move to Belgium on your own. Above all, they are an affordable option for students and travellers.

Job seeking after your relocation to Belgium

Moving to Belgium is often related to a job offer. Settling into life in a foreign country is no easy step and the opportunity for career progression would make the decision to move permanently worthwhile. The working climate in Belgium is favourable, with flexible working positions becoming increasingly common.  The possibility of introducing a 4-day working week is also being discussed. Among other things, the country is home to many international professionals, and therefore, offers multilingual positions.

Belgium is among the 10 countries with the highest wages. The legal minimum wage as of April 2022 is €1 955, one of the highest minimum wages in the EU. The level of wages is highly dependent on the age of employees, their experience and the industry in which they develop professionally. The average gross salary for 2020 is EUR 3 832.

When moving to Belgium, you should bear in mind that the working day usually starts at 8:30 am and ends at 5:30 pm, with employees being entitled to a one-hour lunch break. A 4-week holiday entitlement is accepted.  However, Circumstantial leave can also be taken for important family events, civil obligations or the need to appear in court. Circumstantial leave is paid. There is also the option of Leave for Compelling Reasons involving unforeseen events such as health incidents, accidents and property damage. In most cases it is unpaid.

Urban view in Belgium

Moving to Belgium with kids

Moving to Belgium with children brings its own advantages, especially when it comes to educational opportunities in the country. Different styles and levels of education are available. Traditionally, children in Belgium attend free public schools. Another alternative, often preferred by expats, are international schools.

Each of the country's communities (Dutch-speaking, French-speaking, German-speaking) imposes its own regulations on education. Despite the differences, it can be assumed that compulsory education covers the period from children's sixth to eighteenth year. It is divided into two parts - primary, from their sixth to their twelfth year, and secondary, covering pupils aged 12-18. There is also the option of free pre-primary school facilities for children over two and a half years.

School enrolment for children arriving in Belgium takes place within 60 days of registration with the local municipality. Documents required include proof of identity, a residence visa for Belgium (if applicable), proof of vaccinations in Belgium, proof of address and any previous academic records.


Types of schools in Belgium include:

Community schools - state education that is neutral in terms of religion

Subsidized public schools - organized by municipalities

Subsidized private schools - including schools with a religious affiliation

Fee-paying private schools - including international schools and Montessori schools

Main requirements when moving to Belgium with pets

Before travelling to Belgium, you should note that pets must be identified using a microchip complying with ISO Standard 11784 or Annex A to ISO standard 11785. Belgium currently accepts AVID 9 and AVID 10 in addition to ISO. The microchipping is done before the rabies vaccination. It is compulsory for each animal to have a rabies certificate signed by a veterinarian. The rabies vaccine should be administered at least 21 days prior to the final health examination.

Other vaccines recommended for dogs include Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus (DHLPP) and Bordetella, and for cats: Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus and Panleukopenia (FVRCP).

Pets must hold an EU Health Certificate. The European Union's 5-day rule is in force, according to which the difference in arrival of the owner and the pet must not exceed five days. Otherwise, the process is complicated, and it could be completed but under different conditions.

Driving in Belgium 

Belgium is known for its excellent infrastructure. The country classifies three types of driving licences: issued in Belgium, issued within the EU, or issued in third countries. EU citizens' licences are recognised as valid. Non-EU drivers have to replace their licence within 6 months after their registration as Belgian citizens.

New arrivals can exchange their licences for Belgian ones. Replacement is not compulsory for everyone, as a foreign driving licence can be used for a certain period of time depending on your nationality and length of residence in the country.

If you are going to be issued with a driving licence in Belgium, you should familiarise yourself with the conditions for obtaining one. Some of these are the requirement to have been driving for 9 months before taking the official test and the requirement to have GPS skills and competences related to a wide range of manoeuvres.

Health rights when moving to Belgium

Belgium's health system is described as high quality, efficient and generous. It combines two sectors: public and private. Permanent residents can use health services by registering for social security. Registration is done through an employer or on your own by visiting a social security office and presenting a valid identity document, a residence permit and proof of address. After registration, you should receive a social security card. It guarantees coverage for various health care procedures and costs and is presented to the health insurance company of your choice, or so-called mutuelle/ziekenfonds.

Nature and climate: What to expect when moving to Belgium?

Belgium has a variable climate, with an average annual temperature of 10°C.  In Brussels, located in the central part of the country, the average minimum temperature is 0°C (in January) and the average maximum is 22°C (in July). The maritime influence is felt less inland. The Ardennes region is considered the coldest and the Flanders region the warmest.

Belgium is home to spectacular scenery and many architectural monuments. Landmarks include one of the oldest natural forests in the world, The Hallerbos, the Atomium in Brussels, Brussels's Grand-Palace, and The Basilica of The Holy Blood. Visiting these after moving to Belgium is a great way to get a closer look at the country, getting closer to the local culture and past.

When it comes to leisure, Belgians are known to be passionate football lovers. As well as going to a football match, you can also make the most of your free time by visiting a museum, a classical concert, or a local festival. And in case you prefer outdoor activities - cycling and staying in local parks are a great idea.

The process of moving to a foreign country can be quite stressful. Movega Removals experts will advise you on all the issues related to it. Get in touch with us via our chatbot feature or our contact form and benefit from the advice of proven experts with years of experience in the field of transport services in Europe.

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