11 Insights About Belgium You Need To Know Before Moving




The first thing you need to know about living in Belgium is this: when you get there, you will notice a lot of things about the country—the food, the people, the architecture—that are totally different from what you're used to. And as an expat in Belgium, here are 11 insights you need to know before moving:


1) The weather is unpredictable. Belgian weather is famously unpredictable. You can get snow any time of year, even in the summer, and it's very common for it to rain or hail during the summer months. It's also hard to predict how cold it will be on any given day—you could wake up one morning in January and find yourself in a tank top, only to wake up the next morning in a parka!


2) You'll have access to one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. The healthcare system in Belgium is considered one of the best in Europe—and it's about as affordable as it gets! So if you're worried about healthcare costs, don't be—you won't need to worry about them here!


3) There are festivals everywhere. There are festivals every weekend throughout Belgium—from music festivals like Rock Werchter and Tomorrowland (which take place during different seasons), to food festivals like Gentse Feesten (which take place during various times of the year), there is always something going on that you can enjoy!


4) The weather is unpredictable. It can be sunny one minute and rainy the next. Belgian weather is best described as "mild" and "changeable."


5) Brussels is not just about beer. Brussels is home to over 800 breweries and is known as the capital of beer in Europe. But, it's also one of the top cities for foodies. There are over 4,000 restaurants in Brussels and the city has earned a reputation as one of the best places in Europe to eat out.


6) The food is amazing. Belgian food is known for being hearty and filling, and there's always a variety of options available at any given time. For example, waffles with chocolate sauce; fries with mayo sauce; mussels steamed in white wine and served with French bread; cheese-stuffed croquettes made with meat or fish; smoked salmon sandwiches… the list goes on!


7) It's not just French or Dutch—it's both. Belgium is bilingual—people speak both French and Dutch fluently. If you want to learn either language before moving here, it might be best to focus on one of them specifically so that when you arrive you can better understand what people around you are saying.


8) There are rules. In general, Belgians tend to be strict about following rules (traffic laws included). If you want to blend in better while living here, follow these guidelines: Don't litter; always use turn signals when driving; keep your dogs on leash when walking them outdoors; don't talk loudly or make loud noises after 10 pm; don't drink alcohol while driving or operating heavy machinery (like lawnmowers).


9) Belgians are really into chocolate. Belgium is the chocolate capital of the world, and Belgians don't joke around when it comes to their chocolate. You can find any kind of chocolate here: white, milk, dark, with nuts or without, in bars, or on its own... you name it! And Belgians love it. They eat a lot of it and even have special days dedicated to this delicious food group. You can even find chocolates that come in different flavors and shapes for every season!


10) Getting around is easy. Public transportation is readily available throughout the country and taxis are cheap and convenient for longer distances. Plus, since most Belgians use bikes as their main mode of transportation (and prefer walking), getting around town by foot or bike isn't a problem either!


11) Convenient public transportation. Belgium has an extensive public transportation system, so if you're an expat moving to Belgium and want to avoid driving or renting a car, it's worth checking out what kind of transportation options are available to you. The most common way for expats to get around the country is by train. There are two main types of trains: regional and intercity. Regional trains have fewer stops than intercity trains and often run between major cities like Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Liège, and Namur. Intercity trains are more likely to run between smaller cities with less frequent service than regional trains do.



Are you planning to move as an expat to Belgium? If yes, let us know, and share your story!