Belgium… The country of fine chocolate, good beer and beautiful scenery! Indeed, it is very famous for its medieval towns and Renaissance architecture. If you are planning to visit for a couple of days, these attractions would be more than enough to quench your interest. However, if you intend to move to Belgium, there are a few important things that you should know about. Let’s have a look!
Where you are going to live is very important. The country has several options open to international residents. While most expats are attracted to the capital, Brussels, because of the variety of English-speaking job opportunities, you will find cities such as Ghent, Antwerp, and Liege very beneficial to live in as well. For a quieter environment, check out Ardennes or the Belgian coast.
Belgium has three official languages: German, French and Flemish, which is a dialect of Dutch. The latter is spoken by almost 60% of the country. Do not know any of these? There is no need to worry since residents are also fluent in English. However, it would be wise to learn some of the basics!
Kids can be enrolled in public schools which are available for all residents in Belgium. You can also choose to enrol your children in a local private or international school. Be careful of the financial requirements though since the prices vary.
While the temperature is pretty mild in the country, you must have heard of the phrase, “It’s always rainy in Belgium”. While the morning might be warm and sunny, it should not surprise you to have an afternoon shower. So it is best to always have an umbrella handy.
This might be an annoying part of Belgium… The traffic! Brussels is one of the most congested cities in the world. According to a study, the average driver spends more than 41hours per year in commutes. If you have to be somewhere on time, make sure to leave home early!
Belgium is much more than waffles, fries, chocolate and beer. Indeed, Belgian cuisine reflects that of neighbouring countries France, Germany and Netherlands. The dishes would favour seasonal and regional ingredients. Usually, the locals have four meals per day: a light breakfast, a medium lunch, a snack and a large dinner.
Sports is very important in Belgium and it is a very popular topic of conversation! When meeting a Belgian, you are guaranteed that he/she is going to ask you about this. The most common question is, “Which sports do you practice?”. If you are not really into fitness, but you do not want to be embarrassed, go for the safe answer: cycling!
This might seem insignificant but in many countries, it would reflect your character. For instance, in China, it is considered rude to finish all of your food. However, in Belgium, you must always finish your plate, even if you do not like something on it!