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Brussels - Overview
Belgium last had a census in 1991, at which time there were over 60,000 recent expatriates living within the capital region of Brussels. Attitudes towards expats are relaxed and friendly, with most people finding it rather easy to find housing and employment. Belgium has two national languages; Dutch and French. About 80% of residents in Brussels speak French, while the rate of French speaking residents country wide is only about 40%.
Brussels has a wide variety of activities one can participate in. There is lots of shopping, as well as fine dining. Belgium is known worldwide for its exquisite chocolates. Expats seek to live in Brussels for a wide variety of reasons, but the biggest reason is that it is simply a very inviting and welcoming place. The locals in Brussels are very accommodating to tourists and expats alike, and are appreciative of the fact that these people help to create a diverse and varied society.
The climate of Brussels is rather accommodating. Rain is rather frequent and something one should become accustomed to quickly in Brussels, but temperatures are rather moderate. One can expect it to be roughly seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit in the summer, and to slip down to between thirty-five and forty-five in the middle of winter. While it can snow in Brussels, this is actually a very uncommon occurrence.
There are a number of places online to seek information for expats looking to relocate to Brussels. One excellent site is http://www.xpats.be/, an expat welcome site hosted in Belgium that is set up entirely in English. There are links to classifieds, jobs, and even a free welcome pack for both newcomers and people considering relocating to Brussels.
Brussels has its own welcome webpage as well, located at http://www.brussels.org/, and it has guides to everything from dining and shopping to museums and hotels. It is an excellent site for tourists and expatriates alike.
The city webpage for Brussels is only in French and Dutch languages, but is located at http://www.brucity.be/. They do have a links page for municipal, business, economic, and tourism links that is located at http://www.brucity.be/multilang/links.cfm?nlanguage=3. The website for Belgian social security is located at http://socialsecurity.fgov.be/en/index.htm, and contains information about their social security program as well as a listing of helpful addresses that can be downloaded in .doc or .pdf form.
There is a wonderful site located in the US for the Belgian embassy in Washington DC located at http://www.diplobel.us/. This site contains a wealth of information about Belgium as a whole as well as information regarding business, foreign policy, and the many public services offered within the country and within the city of Brussels.
Expat Health Insurance Partners
At Bupa we have been helping individuals and families live longer, healthier, happier lives for over 60 years. We are trusted by expats in 190 different countries and have links with healthcare organisations throughout the world. So whether you're moving abroad for a change of career or a change of scene, with our international private health insurance you will always be in safe hands.
Cigna has worked in international health insurance for more than 30 years. Today, Cigna has over 71 million customer relationships around the world. Looking after them is an international workforce of 31,000 people, plus a network of over 1 million hospitals, physicians, clinics and health and wellness specialists worldwide, meaning you have easy access to treatment.