Moving to Belgium: Thing to Keep in Mind12 December 2015
Belgium is an interesting country, and very picturesque. Housing the headquarters of the European union and famous for its beers and chocolate make it a popular tourist destination for many Europeans, but if you plan on relocating there permanently, there are a few useful things to bear in mind that can make the process easier.
Take a fact finding trip
If you are not overly familiar with Belgium, apart from a holiday here and there, then if you have the time and budget it can be really worthwhile to take a short fact finding trip to an areas you are considering moving to. This will enable you to get a feel for how everyday life is in your area, and what cultural differences might be present. If you’re unable to make an actual visit, then make sure to do thorough research online to find out as much as you can in relation to your plans.
Learn the language
Belgium is unique in that it has a number of national languages. French is the most common, followed by Dutch (Flemish) and then German. While initially this may sound imposing, you won’t need to learn all 3 languages, and which one you will need more often will depend on where you move to. Dutch for example, is spoken mainly in the north of the country, with French mainly to the south, and German on the eastern side. Even if you aren’t fluent, having a few key phrases can be very helpful, and you will soon pick up a language from living among native speakers.
Along with it’s diverse languages, Belgium also has 3 quite distinct communities (French, Dutch and German), who all have not only their own representative governments, as Belgium is a federal state, but also their own distinct cultures and media outlets. There is no equivalent of the BBC for example, and it can be useful to know what to expect based on what part of the country you choose to live in.
Visas, and other important documents
If you are moving from the UK or any other country that is part of the EU, you don’t need a visa, but make sure your passport and drivers licence are up to date and valid. You will require health insurance once you arrive, which is something you may not be used to if moving from the UK, so budget accordingly.
Budgeting and moving companies
Make sure you take into account currency exchange rates when budgeting for your relocation. If moving from the UK, the pound is generally worth slightly more than the Euro, so this can mean you might be a bit better off financially when buying a house and so on. House pricing is generally quite good, and if you are looking for a particularly unique home then Belgium has a large selection of listed buildings and art nouveau accommodations, which can be fairly affordable. In terms of moving your goods, make sure to get at least 4 quotes from any companies you are considering, and make sure that they are able to cater to any specific needs or items you might have before committing. Using container movers can be another option, as well as hiring a vehicle and doing the move yourself, although this could be quite time consuming, stressful and expensive depending on how much stuff you have to move. Overall, go with the best option for you and your situation based on a thorough comparison of quotes.