Moving to Europe is an aspiration of many around the world; but only a few of us ever consider Belgium as a destination to call home. Belgium, which is located at the very heart of Europe, offers a unique experience owing to its location and population mix. It is bordered by The Netherlands and Germany in the north and the east, and by France and Luxembourg in the west and south.
So, if you’re inclined to moving to Europe and looking at your options, here are some aspects to consider while making Belgium your next country of residence.
Rich cultural experience
The national languages of Belgium are Dutch (spoken in the Flemish North), French (spoken in the Walloon South) and German (spoken in the eastern corner). Due to the influence of these different languages, Belgium offers a rich cultural experience.
Living close to work
This is perhaps one of the best things about living in a small country. In Belgium, you are not restricted to living in the city even if you work there. If you prefer to live peacefully in the countryside or smaller towns, you can do that and travel to work. A great thing about living away from the city is having to pay lower rents as compared to the city.
Belgium has a highly developed network of public transport comprising of subway, buses and trams. Getting from one city to another can also be done quickly using the train network. Another pro of Belgium´s small size and location is that London, Amsterdam and Paris can be reached in less than three hours by train. This makes Belgium a great starting hub for discovering Europe.
Belgians enjoy an exuberant lifestyle and the country offers a great cuisine and nightlife. When it comes to having a good time, Belgium offers a host of options such as museums, beaches, and hilly forests that are great for trekking and fishing.
Regional property laws
Every region of Belgium has different rules and regulations when it comes to renting or buying property. One needs to be extra careful before getting into housing agreements. Buying property in Belgium is expensive in comparison to other countries.
Dealing with three languages
Although having three languages is a great thing when it comes to cultural diversity, dealing with the sensitivities of Belgians could get tricky. Another drawback of having three different languages is the resulting complex state structure. The three languages are divided over three non-converging regions (Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia) and communities (Dutch, French and German). To appease all the different kinds of people that live here, the government largely operates as a federal government. This means that every region has a different set of rules governing areas such as housing, childcare and education.
Very high tax
Belgium is known to have the highest levels of taxation in the world. The personal income tax bracket ranges between 25% to 50%. The country also expects high social security contributions from employers and employees. Apart from income tax and social security contributions, Belgium also levies a 21% VAT (Value Added Tax). In addition to this, different regions, provinces and municipalities have their own taxation powers.
When deciding on a new country to move to, looking at the pros and cons associated with moving to a new country can be a good place to start. Every country has its own set of advantages and disadvantages and they shouldn’t dissuade you from making the move. Once you’re there, both pros and cons, end up becoming a part of the big experience.
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