Tips for expats in Brussels
One of the main guiding principles for Expat Club is to bring people together. Our diverse and open-minded community guarantees a relaxed and safe atmosphere in which you can share beautiful moments together. Another great aspect is that you can endlessly learn from other expats. Questions I hear all the time are: “Where should I find a house?”, “How does it work with social security?”, “What are the best hospitals, internet connections, mobile phone operators, etc?”. The suggestions for the nicest coffee bars and restaurants are shared royally during our get-together. And so it should be! Sharing is caring, as the saying goes!
This made us realise how much knowledge about Brussels expat life actually exists in our community. So we put our heads together and collected many ideas, wrote them down and poured them into one handy e-book. Wow, some tips are really amazing and could definitely improve so many expats’ lives. The diversity of ideas is enormous, from public transportation to shopping, and from money to food. After all, how can we forget about giving you some tips on the delicious Belgian cuisine. Without further ado we’d like to share a few of our favourite tips, and tell you more about how you can receive even more!
Find your supermarket
In the multicultural and metropolitan city that Brussels is you can find many international supermarkets that cater to specific communities, from Chinese to Polish. They have products that regular supermarkets don’t, so they are definitely worth a visit. Still, you may not find everything you need. Maybe you miss a certain comfort food, some herbs and spices to flavour your favourite dishes, that specific chewing gum you love so much, or that medicine or additive? Make sure to check whether you can get it in Belgium before you get on that plane and to stock up before you leave.
Get a moBIB card
It is not unlikely you go to your work by car or are lucky enough to simply walk to your office. Still, it is strongly suggested to get a MOBIB public transportation card. It costs only €5 and can be bought at the main metro stations and several other outlets. You can upload single tickets for just €1,40 (instead of €2,50 onboard). This way you can jump on a bus, tram or metro without any hesitations or coins in your pocket.
You have a busy professional life with long hours at the office. On top of that come the necessary social activities, and you still have to do groceries and other shopping. No wonder your domestic work doesn’t get the attention it needs to keep the house in order. But did you know that for less than €30 per week you can have a cleaning lady come over to clean your house, iron your clothes and even do some shopping and cooking for you? Through the titres-services system you can order special cheques of €9 that equal one hour of cleaning service? The minimum is 3 hours and you can be sure you will get a trained “bonne” whose social security contributions and insurance payments are all in order. Btw, you get about €2 in tax reduction for every cheque you order, so you effectively pay only €21 per time! A total no-brainer!!!
Watch out for temporary parking restrictions
Finding a parking spot in Brussels may be a big challenge to begin with. But did you know that you should always be a bit suspicious when you find a few open spots behind each other? There may be a temporary restriction! Whenever you see the round “forbidden to park” sign in a low pole with a rectangular blue sign under it, make sure to check what dates you cannot park there.
Wait for the soldes
Two times per year you can enjoy great sales in Brussels, in January and July. The first days, and especially the first Saturday, it may be extremely busy in the stores. Not because the best sales can be found then, but because everybody has been anxiously waiting to buy that special jeans or lovely but expensive skirt for a discounted price. If you’re less picky, you may want to wait until the second or even third week when prices drop even more.
Are you ready for more?
We as well… Before telling you how you can receive even more useful tips for expats in Brussels in one nice e-book, we also like to ask you to contribute to a next edition. If you namely have an interesting tip to share with other expats, please let us know by leaving a comment below or sending it by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks so much in advance for your contribution, it’s greatly appreciated by thousands of expats! To get your free copy of Brussels Expats Tips, simply fill out the below form and we’ll do the rest.