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Top 8 Places to Live in Belgium for Expats

Belgium is not just a hub of world-renowned chocolates and beers, but it is also home to the NATO headquarters, EU Commission, and European Parliament. Moreover, there are several cities that could be the best place to live in Belgium for expats like you.

Relocating to any country is never easy, which is why doing research about where to live, the cost of living, housing, and rules is a must. In this Pacific Prime article, we will take you around Belgium and see why it is one of the best places to live in Europe for expats.

Beyond the delectable chocolate and beers, the housing is also affordable compared to other cities in Europe, and The job opportunities are wide. Here are the top 8 best places to live in Belgium as expats.

Brussels – International City

buildings in river side area of Brussels, Belgium

Did you know that Brussels is the cuisine capital of Europe? It is also home to institutions and several international companies. Moreover, the number of expats living in Brussels continues to go up. Let’s get to know this city more:

  • Housing Costs
    Renting in Brussels depends on the location and the size of the accommodations. You can expect to pay around USD $812 a month or more. Compared to other major cities in the EU like Paris, it is relatively cheaper by at least 17%.
  • Expat Community
    In 2022, the statistics showed that around 35.9% of expat populations reside in Brussels. The expat community has a very strong foundation making it extremely suitable for expats.
  • Wide-ranged Job Market
    Brussels is considered to be the Capital of the European Union. That’s why this city has many vacancies related to services. It also offers a wide range of job opportunities in different fields from finance, law, and politics to technology.
  • Great Transportation
    With various options, you can get around the city easily whether taking the bus, tram, metro, or train. The best part is you can use only one card with all transportation systems.

Conclusion: Brussels would be a perfect city for you if you seek a diverse city. It’s also a good place to kick-start your career in many industries. The cost of living is reasonable compared to the salary you will make.

Ghent – Education City

A view of the area in front of a river in Ghent, Belgium

Looking for a young and dynamic city to relocate to? Ghent could be the place for you. This city is home to lots of museums, art galleries, bars, and shopping streets. You can enjoy the markets at the city’s squares every week, or join festivals throughout the year.

There are also more to discover, including:

  • Medieval Architecture
    Tourists visit Ghent for its stunning architecture which mostly was built during the Middle Ages as it was the major center of trade and commerce in Europe. You will feel like you are walking in a giant castle all the time in this city.
  • Festival Town
    If you enjoy music, food, or any festival, this is the city for you. Each year, Ghent is home to various interesting festivals, including Ghent Jazz Festival, Ghent Light Festival, Gentse Feesten, and many more.
  • Youngster Area
    There are over 60,000 students residing in Ghent due to the number of universities and colleges. That’s why there are so many places for hangouts and parties. The atmosphere in the city is vibrant and suitable for young professionals as well.
  • Jobs in Hospitality Field
    Ghent is a popular destination, resulting in the city having rapid growth in the travel and hospitality industries. Also, communications and marketing-related vacancies are plentiful as well.

Conclusion: Ghent would be the best place to live in Belgium for you if you want to be in a chill and vibrant city. You will meet a lot of young people and professionals. Moreover, there is a strong demand for new hires from the hospitality and education industries.

Antwerp – Diamond Kingdom

Brabo's Monument, The Brabo Fountain is located in the Grote Markt of Antwerp, Belgium

Antwerp is all about the diamond and fashion industries, besides the fact that it is one of the biggest port cities in the world. The city has had an expanding economy, creating a lot of job opportunities and offering chances for locals and expats to grow.

  • Job Opportunities
    Since it’s the world’s capital of the diamond trade, Antwerp has a high demand in the service and industrial field for skilled talent. There is a high demand for customer service, admin & operations, hospitality, and tourism.
  • Museums
    Antwerp has many museums for you to visit, including the largest Belgian chocolate museum, Chocolate Nation, which is home to over 6,000 artworks from the 19th century like Fritz Mayer van den Bergh and many more.
  • Outdoor Activities
    Get yourself outside and hike in Antwerp, which has so many trails for you to choose from. The short trails would be around 3-5 km. and the longer ones start at 8 km.
  • Multicultural Community
    Residents in Antwerp come from over 180 different countries. Living in Antwerp can be fun for meeting new people. This not only brings diversity to the town but also allows for the perfect blending of cultures through food and communities.
  • Fashion Capital
    If you love fashion, this is the city for you. Antwerp is considered the fashion capital of Belgium. It is also home to the most well-known fashion schools like the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, creating a demand for skilled talent in the fashion industry as well.

Conclusion: Not just rich in culture and history, but Antwerp is home to a large number of expats. You will enjoy the multicultural community, cuisines, and activities, and you will feel welcomed by the friendly atmosphere of the community as it is.

Liège – Industrial City

Cityscape of Liège, Belgium

When thinking about the industrial center of Belgium, Liège is the first city that Belgians will think of. Due to the history of heavy industries like steel, coals, glassworks, and copper refineries, it is now home to various industrial companies and research centers.
The benefits of living in Liège are:

  • Manufacturing and Research Jobs
    Liège is a perfect city to find manufacturing and research jobs. Due to the growth of its heavy industries, the city focuses more on developing technology. It is also home to startups and small businesses which are constantly looking for new talent to join.
  • Vibrant Nightlife Scene
    There are some areas in Liège where you can party until early morning. For example, in the areas behind the opera house, you will see various pubs and clubs where you can hop around and experience Belgian parties.
  • Epic Festivals
    Liège takes festivals very seriously. Every year, the city hosts a multi-day electro-rock music festival called Les Ardentes which attracted more than 200,000 spectators in 2022. You can join Jazz à Liège, the jazz music festival, for a more chill atmosphere.
  • Diverse Cuisines
    Dishes in Liège were influenced by French cuisine because it’s located in a French-speaking location. Famous Liège waffles are also one of the influential dishes everyone must try.

Conclusion: With a welcoming community, job markets, and diverse cuisine, Liège can be a great place to live in Belgium as an expat. Even though there are some challenges with job searching in specific industries, it’s a good start for career development in the long run.

Waterloo – Family-friendly City

The Lion's Mound, Memorial of the Battle of Waterloo 1815, in Waterloo, Belgium

This city was named after the important fight, the Battle of Waterloo, which marked the end of Napoleon’s reign. Other than that, it is a perfect city for families due to its international community and facilities in town.

Let’s see what are the benefits of living in Waterloo:

  • Facilities for families
    Several headquarters of international companies settled in Waterloo causing the city to adapt to the needs of expat residents. It has excellent international schools, healthcare facilities, shops, and many more.
  • Great Public Transportation
    When traveling inside Waterloo, buses are great options. The bus network is provided and operated by TEC, not only for traveling in town but also to nearby towns as well. The best way to get to Brussels is by train.
  • Rich in History and Culture
    Waterloo is known for its historic war sites. It is where Napoleon was defeated by the Duke of Wellington. Nowadays, you still can visit the battlefield and the museums around town.

Conclusion: Relocating to Waterloo would be a good idea for those who move as families. The city provides facilities like international schools, shopping centers, and health services. It is also easy to access other cities in Belgium.

Bruges – World Heritage City

The Rozenhoedkaai (Rosary Quay), Bruges, Belgium

Forget about the original Venice when you are in Bruges, the Venice of the North. Because this city has an amazing culture, stunning architecture, and picturesque canals. Plus, it was fully listed as a ‘World Heritage City’ in 2000. The benefits of living on the World Heritage site are:

  • Careers in Tourism Industry
    Being a World Heritage site attracts a large number of tourists to the city, resulting in overall growth in the travel and tourism industry. It also creates job opportunities for residents.
  • English-speaking community
    There were roughly around 400,000 expats living in Bruges in 2017. Since it’s a tourist city, English is widely spoken here. You can make new friends and explore the city with ease.
  • Brewing Culture
    Did you know that Bruges has its own beer which is only made there? Now that you know, it’s time to go out and try it with your friends. Enjoy the taste of authentic Bruges.
  • Craftsmanship
    If you enjoy learning craftsmanship, this city has a lot to offer. In the 16th century, Bruges was a textile trade center in Europe resulting in successful growth for its economy. Even today, you can learn how to make different types of textiles by enrolling in workshops.

Conclusion: Bruges is more like a village than a city. Staying in the old town side would be more expensive and have more rules to follow due to its UNESCO World Heritage status. But overall, this city is perfect for relocating to with a smaller budget and a chance to work in one of the most famous destinations in Belgium.

Tervuren – King’s Summer Palace

A park in Tervuren, Belgium

Belgian Tervuren, the dog, is from here. But Tervuren city in Belgium has more interesting things for you to explore. The city is full of greenery and parks, and it was a summer home to the Belgian king. This is why you would love it:

  • Surrounded by Nature
    Even though Tervuren is close to a big city like Brussels, it offers a more peaceful atmosphere. Things you can do in the Park van Tervuren within the Sonian forest, are numerous. From picnicking, hiking, jogging, and biking to fishing. A great space to spend time outside!
  • Enjoy the History
    Just like the other cities above, Tervuren has its own history too. Even in the Park van Tervuren, you will see many historic buildings and palaces. At the Africa Museum, you can learn more about the past and get to know the city’s roots.
  • Family-friendly
    There are at least two international schools in this city, and a lot of family-friendly activities. You will notice families hanging around the parks and museums.
  • Expat-friendly
    Most of the expats who live in Tervuren are from the USA and the UK. There is a large expat community that you can join. Also, you can meet new people in restaurants, bars, and pubs in the city square.

Conclusion: With the diversity of residents, this city gives a welcoming atmosphere to everyone. The greenery and parks in this city will help you feel more at peace than living in major cities, and the education system is also excellent. This is one of the best cities to live in as a family in Belgium.

Leuven – Beer and Academic City

Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula,a medieval Roman Catholic cathedral in central Brussels, Belgium

Leuven is one of those cities in Belgium that have numerous schools, universities, and colleges. That’s why it’s common to see young people hanging out around, making this city lively and full of things to explore, including:

  • Student-owned Bars
    Believe it or not, there are several bars that are owned by student organizations. Mostly, these bars are for students to hang out. Some organizations also have bookshops that claim to be some of the cheapest bookshops in town.
  • Strong Beer Culture
    Leuven is home to the world’s largest brewery, Anheuser-Busch InBev. In fact, the people and the city have shared the brewing cultures for hundreds of years, making Leuven known as Belgium’s beer capital.
  • Vibrant Expat Community
    International students and young professionals in this city are certainly not few and far between. That’s why the City of Leuven and Leuven MindGate created the International House Leuven to help support the expat community. You can meet new people, join activities, learn languages, and ask for help from the expat community.
  • Lower Cost of Living
    Because of the number of students and young adults, the cost of living is lower than in other big cities nearby. Naturally, it also depends on where you choose to stay.

Conclusion: If you are a student or young professional, this city has it all. From the community and vibrant nightlife to an affordable cost of living. You will find yourself enjoying life and connecting to new people as you settle down.

Secure Your Comprehensive Health Insurance

Before relocating, you should secure expat health insurance. It helps protect you from unexpected medical bills, and ensures you can access the best treatments while living overseas.

Does Belgium sound nice, but not quite what you want? Check out the best places to live in Switzerland for expats to see if that’s more to your liking!


Which town in Belgium is considered the most ideal to live in?

The mentioned cities like Copenhagen and Ghent are considered suitable cities for expats who want to relocate to Belgium. Each city has its own uniqueness and character.

What is the most secure location to live in Belgium?

Ghent is said to be the safest city in Belgium, with a 79.7% safety index. Antwerp is next, with a 59.8% safety index.

Where do wealthy Belgians usually live?

Wealthy Belgians typically live in the Brussels-Capital Region, which has the highest GDP per capita in 2022.

What is the experience of foreigners like living in Belgium?

Foreigners have a relatively positive experience due to the large population of expat residents in Belgium – 9.8% of the total population. This is especially true in the Flemish Region including Antwerp, East Flanders, Limburg, Flemish Brabant, and West Flanders.

Is it possible to live in Belgium using only English?

It is possible to live in Belgium using only English, though it might make finding job opportunities more challenging. Knowing French and Dutch is always a plus.

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime United Kingdom
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.