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Expat Club

Four essential expat tips for a better life in Belgium

When I first arrived in Belgium over 15 years ago, I found myself in a fascinating country. I knew little about Belgium beforehand, and I was amazed by many things. Then it all came crashing down. That culture shock curve is a real thing. You’re riding on a high of new discoveries. Then it hits you: You’re in a foreign country where many things are different from whatever you called home before. First, you love everything, then you hate everything. And finally, the dust settles.  For some of you, it’s off to a new adventure elsewhere. For many of us, this crazy little country becomes home.  There are lots of valuable insights about life as an expat in Belgium that will make your experience in this country a better one. These are the ones we think will have the most signif...

It’s not about the drinking and all about the experience

Many of our trips revolve around certain famous alcoholic beverages, but our mission is very clear. We provide experiences and opportunities for discovery, not wild drinking parties. Here are some interesting facts about these particular themed trips and why you should consider them in your travel plans, even when you're not an alcohol drinker.

Opal Coast: Winding roads and windy skies

Traveling with Expat Club is always an adventure, and our trip to the Opal Coast was no exception. We left the grey skies and pelting rain of Brussels behind as we drove west to the northern coast of France. Skies cleared, but brisk winds accompanied us on our full-day foray to France. Dunkirk Our first stop was the port city of Dunkirk, a city steeped in history. Towering over the city is Tour du Leughenaer, or “the liar’s tower.” Erected in 1450 and converted to a lighthouse around 1793, it’s the city’s oldest building. Legend says false lighthouse signals lured ships into areas where they were grounded and then looted. We had time to walk through the maritime city, visiting the active market, having a coffee and fresh croissant, or viewing spectacular churches like the Gothic-style Sain...

Join our team

Expat Club’s membership base and activities are expanding quickly. Therefore we are looking for enthusiastic new members that would like to strengthen the organisational team behind all our events and trips. We are especially keen to offer more local member events during the week and weekends, so our other members can come and join our activities at various days.. In particular we are looking for committed people that would like to host: a) regular coffee meetups on Saturday morning and Monday or Wednesday morning (many members don’t have work commitments) b) socialising events on weekday evenings (bars / pubs) c) movie nights on Sunday evening, or eventually Wednesday evenings for new blockbusters d) weekend morning walks or longer hikes in Brussels or Belgium e) day trips to ...

Criminal handymen…

The subject line actually refers to a Facebook thread that I started last week about plumbers and other handyman scum who try to rip you off in any way possible. Let me explain… Our kitchen sink was clogged and no regular solution would work (plunger and special unclogging liquid), so I called a plumber. The price would be €138 all-in for 1 hour of work, including use of materials and eventually new pipes. A bit high if you’d ask me, but it was almost 18h00 and I had no time to call around. Besides this company had a nice looking website (as if that matters) and the guy sounded like a professional. Two days later two incredibly muscled plumbers arrive. They quickly come to the conclusion that my pipes were blocked (I had not yet figured that one out myself!) and they had to use...

Another reason to sign up

Did you already sign up for a free Expat Club membership? If not, here is another good reason. Every time you make a booking for one of our events or trips you get a 2% discount. The amount is automatically deducted from the totals, but only of course if you are an approved member and actually logged in while making the reservation. How easy is that? This extra little bonus comes on top of the €10 free trip credit when we approve your profile, and many of the other benefits, such as being able to see other member profiles, create friendships, joining online discussions and seeing who joins an event or trip. Over the next few months we’ll roll out more benefits. So why not join our international community and start enjoying this benefits right away? Registration is an easy process and...

Time to sign up

A new year has begun. It’s not only time to think about new year’s resolutions, but also about the plans for Expat Club. Our international community is growing very fast. There are more events on the calendar than ever before, including local socialising events, lectures, workshops and walks. And there are more trips to increasingly more destinations. Most important, we have also more members hosting events. If you feel like becoming part of our members team, read this article. Also our online community is growing fast and especially for this aspect of Expat Club we have big plans. Some things will change on the website and our RSVP policy. Here are a few points: Every member will need a clear picture. No distant pics, no covered faces, no cats or any other item, just a neat pi...

Expat Club Christmas Trips

In 2016 we organises for the 4th year trips to some of the best Christmas markets that we can reach in a day. We started in 2013 with fantastic trips to Düsseldorf and Paris. In 2014 we added Cologne and Lille. Last year (2015) we skipped Lille, but added Monschau, Canterbury and Aachen. This we year are proud to present Lille again on our calendar and add four new destinations: Maastricht, Trier, Valkenburg and even a weekend trip to Strasbourg. All our trips are carried out with 4* coaches with more leg space than the usual Belgian buses. All coaches have reclining comfort seats with footrests, an on-board toilet, air-conditioning and several flatscreens. We normally gather at Place Schuman, and depending on the destination we may also stop elsewhere in town (e.g. Louise, Midi and Yser) ...

We know Brussels

When I first arrived in Brussels in March 2010 to look for a house for me and my wife I explored the city like a first-time tourist in Paris. I must have walked a thousand miles and seen almost everything. I wanted to live close to Place Châtelain. Several friends told me that was a nice place and I had actually been there once before for some. So I put my car’s GPS literally on that square in Ixelles and drove and walked around to look for the black/orange “A LOUER” signs on the houses. Probably the farthest I went from Châtelain must have been 2km or so, not more than 5-6 minutes on my GPS. Have a look at the map of the area that I probably “covered” those days by car and foot. In fact, I had seen major parts of Ixelles, Saint-Gilles, Brussels, Etterbeek and Uccle. Actually I had e...

Coffee & Poetry

Join the Ex-Pat Buzz! Expat Club events are frequented by many different people. Some of them have great talents, such as our long-time supporter Sarah Strange who is an official tour guide for the City of Brussels. In her free time she loves to write poems, and how honoured we are that her latest one is about an Expat Club event… again! Brussels – Europe’s melting pot Gregarious around the clock Meet-ups, festivals for free In language terms – the place-to-be! Take Saturdays at coffee time The Ex-Pat group – a fertile vine Provides a forum for new links Connections over warming drinks! An exchange of views – a welcome chat Almost one in three is an Ex-Pat Some seeking work, some locked-indoors All week – doing E.U. chores! It’s mix and match – a chance to shine Mee...

New Expat Club intern started

Expat Club is happy to welcome Antoine Demaria as our new intern. Coming from Paris, the 21-year old third year student of the European Business School (EBS) will work on digital marketing and social media. He started his internship on Monday 10 October and will stay here until end of February. After that he will move to Argentina for 5 months to continue his graduate business studies. Having one brother and two sisters, he loves travelling with his family or with friends. He played rugby for 4 years, boxed for a year and right before moving to Brussels he was keen on keeping himself in perfect condition with CrossFit. We’re lucky to have an energetic and international person  on board! If you join one of our events over the next month there is a good chance Antoine will be there.You...

Now available: Bancontact

As of this week it will be possible to also pay with Mr Cash / Bancontact. Belgium’s leading online payment system was already available on 80% of the Belgian webshops and now you can also use it through the Expat Club website. Our website currently offers 4 different ways of payments: Sofort Banking, Bancontact, Credit Card and PayPal. With SOFORT Banking you can pay fast and secure with virtually all Belgian banks, including ING, KBC, BNP Paribas Fortis, AXA Bank, Beobank, Belfius and bpost bank. This system is TüV-certified and market-leader in Germany for online payments. Using the Sofort system on www.expatclub.org is free of charge. Ever since 1989, Bancontact / Mr Cash has provided smooth and secure payment processing and today it is the Belgian market leader in electronic pay...