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Old 09-23-2012, 02:52 AM
 
3,144 posts, read 3,068,724 times
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Hi!

Does anyone live in or know someone who lives in Brussels?

I'm American and my husband is British and we live in the U.S.
His company has an office in Brussels and I was just pondering (wishing, fantasizing) what it would be like to live there? I would love to do more traveling in Europe, and figured if he could transfer over there at least for a few years, we could explore easier as well as spend more time in England to see his family.
Who knows? Maybe we'd love it, and stay for good?

So if anyone could tell me what its like to live in Brussels (or Belgium) that would be great!

Cost of living
Social environment
Languages, multi cultural?
Crime
Weather

Thanks, in the meantime, I'll start Googling!
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:08 AM
 
86 posts, read 235,394 times
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Brussels is as boring as its sprouts
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Old 09-23-2012, 12:42 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomahawk19 View Post
Brussels is as boring as its sprouts
Sounds like my kind of town!
BTW, got the pm and saw the link! Talk about a thread getting hijacked!
But all kidding aside, do you live there?
We pretty much keep to ourselves, not into talking about politics or religion with random people.
At the same time we're pretty easy to get along with as far as neighbors, co workers etc.
As far as making new friends, if there're only two Trekkies in Belgium, my husband will find them!

Thanks!
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Old 09-23-2012, 01:22 PM
 
Location: Wonderland
44,311 posts, read 35,852,560 times
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I have friends who live just outside of Brussels, and I have visited there several times.

Brussels' town center is lovely. Not a lot of night life, but that's unimportant to me so I didn't miss it.

The great thing about Brussels is it's close proximity to so many OTHER interesting places! I mean within just a few hours' drive, you can be in the Ardennes region, France, the Netherlands, Germany, or the UK.

The cost of living in Brussels is pretty high, just like any other large metropolitan city. But not as bad as in, say London or Paris or parts of Berlin. You may want to look at outlying suburban areas since there's a good transit system in place. There are many lovely smaller Belgian towns that you might enjoy.

Depending on where you live in Belgium, the language is either French or Flemish. However, many, many people speak German or English, or both. My Belgian friends speak about six languages! I guess that's what you get when your country has been overrun by invaders and conquerors repeatedly throughout history!

I love the countryside of Belgium. The people are a bit reserved, but very nice - I have never met a single rude person in all my trips to and through Belgium.

Especially if you've never lived in Europe, I would really encourage you to move there - and then spend every spare minute and dollar or Euro exploring as much of Europe as you can!

Congrats and let us know what you decide!
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:55 PM
 
18 posts, read 95,363 times
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Quote:
Cost of living
In general purchasing or renting a house or apartment is expensive, certainly more expensive than most places in the US (I suppose NYC and SF are comparable).
Corporate transfers may be able to get better deals on housing through their employer or allowances in addition to their salary.
Quote:
Social environment
Brussels is a capital city in Western Europe, much smaller than London or Paris but still one of the larger cities on the continent. Americans may find the city far less car-friendly than US cities. Other than that your social environment will be what you make of it.
Quote:
Languages, multi cultural?
Brussels contains the headquarters of both the European Union (EU) and NATO, in addition to a number of other international organisations. Consequently there is a huge expat community. There are many Americans living in Brussels. So if you want to spend your time with Americans or Brits you won't have any diffculties.
Brussels is a French-speaking city, although many people speak pretty good English. If you are an expat you will probably get by on English practically everywhere. You will likely pick up some French anyway after a while.
Quote:
Crime
Like any big city there are issues with crime. In fact many people think crime in Brussels is worse than in Paris and London. However I don't think an American will find Brussels more scary than the big US cities.
Quote:
Weather
Hot and humid in the summer, rainy and windy all other seasons. You don't live in Brussels for the weather.

As mentioned by a previous poster, the travel connections in Brussels are excellent. You can go by car, train or flight to practically everywhere in Western Europe on a realistic schedule.
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:08 PM
 
3,144 posts, read 3,068,724 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeelee12 View Post

Hot and humid in the summer, rainy and windy all other seasons. You don't live in Brussels for the weather.
Thank you for the information! Question about the weather. Is it the kind of rain like you get in England where people go about their business in it, or is it more constant downpours where you end up staying indoors all the time?
I'm a native Californian, but when I spent a little time with my husband in England, I really got a taste for cooler weather and don't mind drizzle and rain as a whole.

Also when you say hot and humid in the summer, is it like the sweltering heat and humidity I've heard so much of like in the South in the U.S. if you happen to know? (haven't visited the South yet, but planning to) Since it's so near Paris does Paris get that kind of heat in the summer as well?
Also, does the heat and humidity last long, and does it come with bugs, and swarms of mosquitoes?
Got alligators in the sewers? (J/K about that one!)

Here in California unless you're near the coast it can be very very hot from May to October! It's drier, but it's still HOT! Although we do get a little relief when we get into the shade. I hear high humidity can even ruin the shade!

Thank you so much for your help!
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Old 09-23-2012, 09:10 PM
 
3,144 posts, read 3,068,724 times
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Default Thank you all for the replies...

This would be something my husband would have to pursue if we wanted to do this, and he does have excellent standing in the company he works for.

If we become serious about this, it would probably not happen for a year, but yes, I will let you know if the stars align!

Thank you again!
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Old 09-24-2012, 04:10 AM
 
18 posts, read 95,363 times
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Quote:
Is it the kind of rain like you get in England where people go about their business in it, or is it more constant downpours where you end up staying indoors all the time?
Drizzle, punctuated by showers. People go out in the rain, that's why umbrellas were invented.
Quote:
Also when you say hot and humid in the summer, is it like the sweltering heat and humidity I've heard so much of like in the South in the U.S. if you happen to know? (haven't visited the South yet, but planning to) Since it's so near Paris does Paris get that kind of heat in the summer as well?
The climate in the US South is subtropical, you can't compare that to Western Europe. Summer temperatures in Brussels are a pleasant 25 degrees. Paris and Brussels have very similar climate, although Brussels is more humid since it's closer to the ocean.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:42 PM
 
6,056 posts, read 10,804,413 times
Reputation: 3063
Quote:
Originally Posted by Podo944 View Post
Hi!

Does anyone live in or know someone who lives in Brussels?

I'm American and my husband is British and we live in the U.S.
His company has an office in Brussels and I was just pondering (wishing, fantasizing) what it would be like to live there? I would love to do more traveling in Europe, and figured if he could transfer over there at least for a few years, we could explore easier as well as spend more time in England to see his family.
Who knows? Maybe we'd love it, and stay for good?

So if anyone could tell me what its like to live in Brussels (or Belgium) that would be great!

Cost of living
Social environment
Languages, multi cultural?
Crime
Weather

Thanks, in the meantime, I'll start Googling!
Brussels Belgium appears a lot more exciting than how some people perceive it to be.

It also has some of the most underrated architecture in the world, and I saw a lot of impressive photos of Brussels.

Brussels appears to be one of those pleasant high quality cities to live in, even if a bit predictable/very efficient/consistent.

The geographic location it has is excellent with very near proximity to Netherlands, Northern France, Southeast UK/England, and Northwestern Germany. Other areas of Europe is also not far away.

Geography is one main reason why Belgium is one of the most tri-lingual+ countries in the world. A very high percentage of people in Belgium fluently know 3 languages and sometimes up to 5 to 6 languages.

Brussels Belgium is very multi-cultural with a strong international vibe, but with a different form of it compared to USA, Canada, and Australia. Probably similar to UK/England, Netherlands, Northern France, and Switzerland’s version of international multiculturalism that is still vibrant.

I am sure you would enjoy living in Belgium, and finding it intellectually stimulating, fun, and inspiring, especially at least for a few years/shorter term.

Last edited by Thepastpresentandfuture; 10-09-2012 at 02:34 PM..
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Old 10-09-2012, 02:04 PM
 
Location: San Francisco
9,033 posts, read 8,714,481 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xeelee12 View Post
In general purchasing or renting a house or apartment is expensive, certainly more expensive than most places in the US (I suppose NYC and SF are comparable).
Corporate transfers may be able to get better deals on housing through their employer or allowances in addition to their salary.
The standard lease term for an apartment in Belgium is nine years. However, shorter leases are available for expats. Or at least that was the situation when I moved there in 2002. I definitely recommend using an agent, who can help you find a place (obviously) but who can also arrange the pre-lease inspection, which is extremely important in Belgium. You'll end up with an incredibly detailed report (which you'll have to pay for) about every single aspect of the property, down to the tiniest scrape and scratch.
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