What are the best areas to live in Brussels as an expat? Well, Brussels is a melting pot of different cultures. People gather in terraces, squares or in the park and everyone is open to new encounters. Brussels also has a fine selection of cultural activities. Art is everywhere in Brussels, from Zinneke Pis and Manneken Pis to many other museums.
The Region itself is bilingual French and Dutch, but English is also an option in many places. There are several foreign communities, attracted by the various international institutions and businesses that have settled in the capital. As a result, there is a wide choice of foreign products, media, schools, culture, etc. But what are the best areas to live in Brussels as an expat? In this article we discuss a few options.
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Brussels city, the historical center
The Historical core of Brussels is a very large area that crosses Brussels almost entirely from north to south. It is made up of six parts: ‘De vijfhoek’ (pentagon), the historic center with the Grand Place, the Louisa-Roosevelt southern axis (which connects the city to Ter Kamerenbos), Laken (with the palace, where the king and his family live), the European district (home of the European institutions), Neder-over-Heembeek and Haren (more industrial).
The Louisa and Roosevelt neighborhoods are quite popular due to their proximity to Ter Kamerenbos and their prestigious homes. The city center is particularly popular for those who enjoy some activity and nightlife, especially around the Dansaert district and its luxury boutiques! This area is great to go out and meet others, we understand why expats want to live here!
The favorite area of the French has also become the most expensive and trendy in Brussels! Big mansions, lively parks and squares and many trendy bars and restaurants, it’s the capital’s ‘place to be.’ A fine example is the Matongé. An incredible mix of African cultures and Belgian boheme, Matongé is one of the trendiest quarters in Brussels. This place is buzzing and full of colors, noise, music, variety of smells,…
Elsene is a lively municipality with a very urban character. There are mostly mansions, whether or not divided into flats or prestigious town houses. The ponds of Ixelles (Elsene in French) are also nearby. These ponds are great to escape the hustle and bustle of the city on the Weekends! Elsene is also a place for fine dining, novelty theaters and various exclusive shops.
The new favorite of Brussels. Located next to Elsene, it shares many of the same qualities as Elsene (architecture, parks, cozy squares,…), but has the advantage of being less expensive, but that probably won’t last. Its main asset? This small area is close to everything! It is close to the city center, the Louise district (luxury shopping), the South Station (Thalys), etc.
This densely populated and very urban area is home to many young and artistic people as well, who you will come across in the many trendy cafés, restaurants and shops, located here! For expats, this is a great experience to feel and live like a local. You will be welcomed with open arms.
The highest area in Brussels (100 m), it also borders Elsene and Sint-Gillis-Gilles. It is less lively, but still attractive due to its large parks and charming Brussels houses. Cultural attractions in Vorst include the Wiels arts center and the Vorst Nationaal concert hall! Big names come to perform here.
There are also activities in the Abbey of Forest, close to the lively Sint-Denijsplein. In other words: a very diverse neighborhood where you will feel home and welcome as an expat. That is why it is one of the best areas to live in Brussels as an expat.
In this small, quiet, mainly residential area that is quite densely populated, there are a lot of typical Brussels homes dating back to the beginning of the 20th century. But what interests’ expats most is that the European institutions are nearby.
Etterbeek is easily accessible by metro, tram, bus and train. However, it is one of the most expensive boroughs in Brussels. Furthermore, you will find lots of (international) schools in the neighborhood as well!
Sint-Pieters-Woluwe is one of the greenest municipalities in Brussels! It is mainly residential and located in the east of Brussels. It is loved for the beautiful villas and tranquility. Sint-Pieters-Woluwe is home to some of the most expensive properties in the capital and a beautiful immense park with its collection of ponds that attract many walkers and joggers.
A mix of green, nice housing and proximity to the European institutions, an ideal mix for most expat families.
Keep in mind that there are more than 400.000 foreigners living in Brussels, including 180 different nationalities. So, fitting in won’t be that hard and you will feel at home pretty fast and easy!
Furthermore, you will find countless multinationals settled in Brussels. On a yearly basis these multinationals host more than 1.000 business conferences. This is one of the reasons why Brussels is popular along expats, it is a great opportunity to explore your career opportunities abroad! In general there is not one best area to live in Brussels as an expat, the whole city is great!
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