The Capital of Europe
The beating heart of Europe, Brussels is a thriving cosmopolitan capital that's perhaps most famous as the home of the European Union. Offering plentiful job opportunities in a diverse range of sectors from politics to business, the city is also exceptionally well connected to the rest of Europe and beyond, making it a popular home for business people who regularly travel to other major regional and international hubs.
First-time visitors to Belgium’s capital are sure to be wowed by the impressive architecture and strong creative and multicultural spirit found in many neighbourhoods. What might surprise you is the size of the city, with Brussels being relatively compact in size when compared to other capitals like London and Paris.
Overall, it’s a busy and vibrant metropolis that has much to offer expats and native residents, both in terms of work and general high quality of life.
Living in Brussels
Brussels has experienced a real property boom over the last few years, with over 100,000 new-build homes expected to be constructed by 2025. Whether you’re looking for property in the trendy southern neighbourhoods or up-and-coming areas in the north of the city, you can take your pick from a diverse range of housing stock spanning everything from chic apartments to traditional townhouses and large detached homes.
Today, the average property price in the Brussels capital region stands at approximately €420,000, while tenants can expect to pay around €1,100 to €1,500 per month for a two-bedroom city centre apartment.
Indeed, the Brussels City (Bruxelles Ville) district is the preferred choice for those wanting to be close to the action, with easy access to a great selection of cultural and entertainment venues. Here, you’ll find many of the city’s most famous landmarks, including the Grand Palace, the Royal Palace and Stock Exchange.
Head a little further south and you’ll find the family-friendly commune of Etterbeek, which is more affordable yet still offers fantastic links into the heart of the city. Fashionable Ixelles is a desirable neighbourhood with a village feel, offering a great mix of restaurants and bars together with pleasant open spaces.
Meanwhile, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is another desirable location that mixes plentiful greenery with great transport links. For those seeking rural life, be sure to check out Wataremael-Boitsfort and the beautiful Zoniënwoud forest.
Location and transport
When you consider that Brussels is widely considered to be the Capital of Europe, it’s hardly surprising that the city is exceptionally well connected in terms of international travel and offers a plethora of transportation options to take you to wherever you need to be.
Brussels International Airport is located around 12km from the city centre and offers frequent flights to every corner of the globe, while there are also no less than three railway stations offering both domestic and international connections. From Brussels South, it is possible to catch a direct train to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Cologne, making Brussels pretty much unrivalled as a base for those needing to travel frequently to other European cities.
For travel within Brussels itself, the extensive tram and metro networks offer fast and frequent services throughout the city. As you would expect, there’s also a modern road network providing links to the rest of Belgium and over the borders into France, Germany and the Netherlands.
Shopping, culture and nightlife
Brussels is home to a fantastic selection of top shopping destinations, from the renowned Avenue Louise and Boulevard de Waterloo to sprawling covered galleries and shopping centres. Whether you’re seeking exclusive designer boutiques or everyday franchise stores, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. As you would expect, Brussels is also home to a huge range of bars and restaurants serving local and international cuisines.
For those seeking culture, you’ll be spoilt for choice thanks to Brussels’ thriving arts and music scene. There’s an amazing range of museums and galleries, from the Musee des Beaux-Arts d’Ixelles and Musee Constantin Meunier to the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History.
Work and education
Brussels has a thriving business community, with work opportunities available across a diverse range of sectors. Considering that Brussels is the home of the European Union, you also won’t be surprised to learn that the city is a fantastic location for those seeking careers in politics and international affairs.
In terms of education, Brussels has many world-class education institutions for both natives and expats, including renowned public, private and international schools. Just keep in mind that Brussels has a large expat community, meaning that places at international schools can sometimes be in short supply.
Why move to Brussels?
As a major international hub combining great job opportunities and a high standard of living, it’s little surprise that Brussels is a popular choice. Whether you’re attracted by the buzzing cultural scene or just those exceptional transport links, Brussels has much to offer – and all at a relatively affordable cost.