Finding the best Brussels district for your expat lifestyle

Published:  4 Apr at 6 PM
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Brussels has been a hub for expat professionals for decades, with the majority of expats in Belgium living and working in the historic city.

As much as 27 per cent of Belgium’s entire population is made up of foreigners attracted to the country by its position at the heart of the European Union, with Brussels the centre for international, cultural and political activities. The cosmopolitan city is fascinating for its historic architecture, famous for its universities and much loved for its cuisine, beer, waffles, frites, great nightlife and the world’s most delicious chocolate.

It’s not surprising that Brussels attracts the brightest and the best from across the EU and the rest of the world, all of whom are made welcome by friendly locals wherever in the city they decide to live. The heart of the city is Bruxelles Ville, home to the Royal Palace, the Grand Palace and a host of other attractions. It’s a rentals favourite for expat workers and students for its active nightlife, but finding an apartment here can be tricky and the permanently heavy traffic is a downside.

Etterbeek district is the place for cultural venues, stylish townhouses and international schools and is popular with expat families as a result. Getting to the centre is no problem due to the city’s efficient Metro system, buses and tram lines. Ixelles, also known as Elsene, is a favourite expat neighbourhood with a villagy feel and easy access to the city’s business districts, but it’s also one of the most expensive districts as regards renting or purchasing an apartment or townhouse.

Woluwe Saint Pierre is the best choice for foreign embassy staff for its proximity to most of Brussels’s foreign diplomatic hubs and European institutions. Its upmarket properties are perfect for living the diplomatic lifestyle and the area’s choice of leisure amenities, pretty parks and cultural attractions are set in an harmonious landscape.

Watermael Boitsfort borders Ixelles and is also popular with expats for its quaint charm and semi-rural ambience. It’s home to the famed International School of Brussels, making it the preferred destination for many expat families.

If cultural diversity is an attraction, Saint Josse Ten Noode and Schearbeek neighbourhoods are multicultural, quaint and never dull. The former is a place of contrasts, and the latter is famed for its melting pot of cultures and sociological diversity. Local markets are found in both areas, and the bustling streets, winding alleys and tree-lined avenues are peopled by expats from over 140 countries.

Source: Expat Focus
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