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The Pros and Cons of Living in Belgium

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Are you wondering whether Belgium is a good place to live? Delve into this article to gain insights into the Belgian way of life. The pros and cons of living in Belgium will be outlined, so that you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about the big move.

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Pros of Living in Belgium

Although Belgium is a very small country, it has a very diverse culture offering numerous advantages to those who choose to live there. In the following section we will explore what Belgium is like, and list the most prominent pros of living in Belgium.

Pro 1: Belgium´s 4-day Work Week

blauwe vrouw

Belgium is the first country in Europe to enact legislation for a four-day work week. This progressive move grants all employees in Belgium the option to work either nine and a half hours a day over four days, or eight hours a day over five days. The significant advantage of this system is that while the total number of working hours remains the same, it allows individuals to enjoy extended weekends.

For many professionals, a 4-day workweek allows more flexibility, and as a consequence greatly enhances their work-life balance.

Pro 2: Belgium Cuisine is Great

Belgium is known for its many traditional dishes. Their chocolate is renowned worldwide for its quality, and in the country you can find an extensive range of delectable chocolates. In addition to chocolate, Belgium boasts a rich beer culture that entices beer enthusiasts from around the glove. And let's not forget about Belgium´s waffles and famous fries.

Pro 3: Cheap Rent (Comparably)

Renting in Belgium is considerably cheaper than in the United States or neighboring countries, such as the Netherlands. Furthermore, the rent-to-salary ratio in Belgium is considered favorable, meaning that housing costs generally align well with income levels. If you kickstart your career in Belgium and have a specific work permit, such as an EU Blue card, you may enjoy the added benefit of a higher minimum wage.

More about the Cost of Living in Belgium Do you want to learn more about the cost of living in Belgium? We have written an article in which we explain all the details about what you can expect. There, we take a look at the average salary in Belgium, and compare several factors of the cost of living in Belgium with other countries. Do you have another question about moving to Belgium? Then contact one of our advisors by calling the phone number below.

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Pro 4: Easy (Regional) Travel

Belgium is a relatively small country, and you will have no issue getting around the country with public transport in a small amount of time. Whether you opt for trains, trams, buses or metros, you can always rely on a well-connected network that seamlessly connects cities and small towns.

Furthermore, another one of the good things about living in Belgium is that it is strategically located in the heart of Europe. The country shares borders with multiple countries, and it is very easy to visit other exciting capital cities, such as London, Amsterdam or Paris. For those that are not from the area, it is the perfect opportunity to not only explore the country itself, but also the area around.

Cons of Living in Belgium

While Belgium offers numerous advantages, it is important to recognize that like any other place, there are certain cons to living in Belgium. In the following paragraphs, we will explore some of the most noteworthy aspects that one might consider bad things about living in Belgium.

Con 1: The Language Situation

Belgium is divided into two main regions: Flanders in the north, and Wallonia in the south. Depending on where you move, you might find that the local language in Belgium differs. The main languages spoken in the country are Dutch, French and, to a lesser extern, German. However it is worth noting that in major cities like Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, the majority of the population is multilingual.

Although in the large cities, you are likely to get by with speaking just English, learning the local language can be beneficial when venturing outside of the major urban areas. Furthermore, it allows you to foster stronger connections with the local residents.

Con 2: The Weather is Unpredictable

Belgium has a temperate maritime climate that is influenced by the proximity to the North Sea. One of the bad things about living in Belgium is that the weather is characterized by frequent rainfaill, with cool summers and moderate winters. The morning might greet you with bright sunshine, only to be followed by cloudy skies and occasional rain showers in the afternoon. This variability adds an element of surprise to the daily weather experience.

It's important to note that if you are seeking a country with consistently warm and sunny weather, Belgium may not be the ideal choice. However, the diverse seasons and temperate climate have their own unique charm.

Con 3: There is a High Tax Rate

piggy bank

When considering employment opportunities in Belgium, you should be aware that the country has some of the highest income tax rates in the European Union. This means that a significant portion of your earnings will be allocated towards taxes. When starting a new job, inquire about your post-tax salary, because the difference between gross income and net income might be quite substantial.

However, one of the good things about living in Belgium has a robust public service sector. The funds generated from income taxes are invested in public services that you likely will use yourself, such as healthcare, education, transportation infrastructure, and social security.

Energy Prices in Belgium Not only the tax rate is high in Belgium. In the past years, energy prices have been steadily rising. Are you moving to Belgium? Then make sure that you pick the cheapest energy supplier. Learn more about the energy market in Belgium by calling one of our experts on the phone number below.

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Con 4: It Might be Difficult to land a Job

The last con about living in Belgium is that if you are from a country outside of the European Union, it might be complicated to find a job. The primary reason for this lies in the additional costs and administrative complexities that companies face when hiring non-EU citizens. The hiring process for non-EU citizens often involves additional legal requirements, such as obtaining work permits and a Belgian visa. As a result, most job openings in Belgium are limited to members of the European Union.

Is Belgium a Good Place to Live?

Determining whether Belgium is a good place to live depends on the factors that hold the greatest significance for you. If you prioritize a good work-life balance, a culinary experience, and a well-established transportation system, then Belgium may be an ideal destination for you.

However, if you place large importance on abundant sunshine or are opposed to learning a new language, then Belgium might not be the perfect fit for your needs. Ultimately, it is important to identify which variables are of most importance to you and assess whether Belgium is a good fit from there.

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