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Living

How to deal with rain?

To answer a question with another question, isn’t this article’s topic just an absurd question? In a way, it is, because there is nothing we can do about the rain. Well, not necessarily. Go forth and explore! Whenever I speak to newly arrived expats, I always say it is essential to have the right mindset when it comes to the weather in Brussels. We typically and make the best of our day. In other words, you should just do the things you want to do and go to the places you would like to visit. Obviously, you’re not going to go to a beach when it’s only 13 degrees and pouring. But if you had in mind to go shopping in Antwerp or making a little road trip through Wallonia, I suggest not to change your plans. Of course, nice weather is, well, better (duh), but the proble...

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...

8 tips to find a house in Brussels

Number one worry for most inbound expats, even before packing their suitcases, concerns finding a proper house or apartment in Brussels. Where to live? What are the rental prices and conditions? How does it work with utilities? And more basic, where should I start with my search for a new home? Everyone struggles with these and several other related questions, but luckily there are many resources online to make the move into your new home town much easier. What often misses though, are the practical lessons of other expats when they first arrived, and which they had to learn the hard way. In this article you will find EIGHT important lessons to bear in mind when you start your house search. And if you have already settled down, maybe you want to share this article with people who are curre...

Cycling in Brussels: Great Routes

Discovering Brussels by bike can be done in several ways.  For those already commuting on two wheels, or using it regularly for getting around town, it may be a good idea to simply take a little D-tour and to drive 15-30 additional minutes on unknown roads.  Spice up your commute and padel a few additional streets! Of course you can also go to an unknown neighbourhood on a Saturday morning and discover yourself what it has to offer. At Expat Club we know why Brussels is such a fantastic city (it has something to do with surprisingly little corners…).  But wouldn’t it be much easier to follow some predefined routes? Other people already did the work for you, so there is no reason to reinvent the wheel. Here are a few great ideas to spend a free day. Although I have mostly biked myself...

NEWS: Opening Shopping Complex

Brussels has a new shopping center! The name of this brand-new complex is Docks Bruxsel. It’s located right on the canal in the North of the city and it boasts 110 stores that “promise a truly original urban experience combining leisure activities with shops, food, culture and entertainment.” It also has ads 8 cinema screens to our city, offers free wifi and phone recharging points, and can be used as a dedicated events venue. Docks Bruxsel is located at about 3 kilometers North from Yser. Although that would be too far too walk for most people, it’s easy to get there by bicycle. It has space for hundreds of bikes and even 40 Villos. Buses 47 and 58 stop in front of the shopping complex, while also trams 3 and 7 halt there. If you happen to come by car, no worries a...

NEWS: Too much sirens noise

Brussels is not exactly a calm city when it comes to noise made by the sirens of emergency services (policy, ambulance, fire department and energy companies). The collective “Stop Sirens” believes they are too often used unnecessarily (links to Dutch article on Bruzz.be). The Brussels government will study this problem and reports on it early 2017. What do you think about the usage of sirens by for instance the Brussels police? Are they using it too often and/or unnecessarily? Are the sirens too loud? Should there be stricter rules for emergency services? Join the conversation!

Lesson from the weather forecasts

Can I be honest with you? I’m totally fed up with the weather forecasts. Belgian weather does justify the question what we have done to deserve this? It’s too often grey and rain seems to fall continuously from the sky. As a professional event organiser you can imagine my top google searches includes the forecast for the next trip destination. Like anyone else I prefer to see a sunny icon, eventually with some light grey clouds, with a temperature between 22-25 degrees. The number that raises most concern is the chance of precipitation, which can range anywhere between 0% and 100%. But what does this actually mean?  Lets say the chance of precipitation is 40%. This simply means there is a 40 percent chance that rain will occur at any given point in the area (city). This does NO...

5 Insights about Expat life in Belgium

Expats moving to Belgium have a lot to look forward to, but settling in after a recent move can be challenging. In addition to cultural differences, you may face visa issues, experience language barriers, or having difficulty making new friends and connections at first. Thankfully, these five tidbits about living as an expat in Belgium are here to help: Understand Language Divisions It is necessary to note that Belgium is not like other European countries, many of which united by a main ethnic group or common language. Belgium is clearly divided into different language groups, and it can be easy to mildly offend someone simply by speaking the wrong language! Depending on where you will be living, you may want to focus on learning some of either French, Dutch (Flemish), or German. Immersing...

Get Your Free Expat Guide

Expats in Brussels is a great reference guide for all expats in Brussels. This handy 300+ page booklet is chock-full of information that can help you settle down in Brussels and find your way around. It contains 12 chapters that inform you about nearly any subject that you may have questions about while you call this your home town. Addresses, links, tips & tricks, or just sheer practical information, it’s all in there. Next time you visit one of our coffee mornings (every Monday and regularly on Saturdays as well) feel welcome to take one home with you. And if you travel with us to another city or region in Belgium or abroad you will get one as well. And the best thing is that it’s completely for free. Expats in Brussels is not only a physical guide, but you can access all...

How to save money in Brussels?

Money. Don’t you wish it would just grow on a tree? Preferably one in your own backyard of course. Keep on wishing… it won’t happen unfortunately. However, in our perennial search to balance our monthly budgets, there are certainly a few things we can do on the debit side. In other words, how can you lower your expenses without giving in on what and how much you buy or do? In this post I would like to share a few of my experiences to save money in Brussels. It is not about budgeting or money saving in general (e.g. taking shorter showers, use the car less frequently …), but it provides some concrete examples of how I saved a lot of money in Brussels quite easily over the past few years. Some may work for you, some may not. Either way, I hope they can be of any advantage to you and ob...