Brussels is the de facto capital city of the European Union (EU) and the largest urban area in Belgium. Serving as the centre of administration for Europe, Brussels' economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various administrations, and by related services, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery, a lambic brewery founded in 1900. Belgium is in Western Europe, bordering the North Sea, between France and the Netherlands. Temperate; mild winters, cool summers; rainy, humid, cloudy. Flat coastal plains in northwest, central rolling hills, rugged mountains of Ardennes Forest in southeast. The official languages are French and Dutch (known in Flanders as Flemish). Very few people in Flanders speak good French, even fewer Walloons speak Dutch, and using the other community's language is rarely fruitful. Many businesspeople and most government officials are also likely to speak English, particularly in Brussels and the larger towns of Flanders. The main religion is Christianity. The economy of Belgium is a modern, private enterprise economy that has capitalized on its central geographic location, highly developed transport network, and diversified industrial and commercial base. The security risk for expatriates in Belgium is low. Risks include petty crime, occasional immigrant and nationalist tension, and an underlying risk of terrorism. The population in Brussels is 0.158 Mil (2014 est.), while the inflation rate is 0.27% (2014 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in Brussels as at 1 January 2015 is very high in comparison to other places in the world. In Brussels, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average in USD, is categorized follows: 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Average 2) Clothing: Very High 3) Communication: Very High 4) Education: Very High 5) Furniture & Appliances: High 6) Groceries: High 7) Healthcare: Low 8) Household Accommodation: Average 9) Miscellaneous: Very High 10) Personal Care: Average 11) Recreation & Culture: Very High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Very High 13) Transport: Very High Brussels is for example 29% more expensive than Montevideo for groceries, -3.1% cheaper for household costs than Durban, and 37.8% more expensive for transport costs than Athens. Brussels is ranked as a minimal hardship location. Hardship (also know as quality of living) refers to the degree of hardship an expatriate and their family are likely to experience in the host location. Hardship pay is compensation to encourage people to move, in particular to less desirable locations. In determining the amount of hardship premium payable, factors such as economic, political, religious, infrastructure, environment/climate, personal safety, health, education, and transportation factors are considered. The hardship premium for Brussels for an expat from Zurich is for example 0%, i.e. host location (Brussels) premium of 10% minus home (Zurich) location premium of 10%. Xpatulator.com has been created to assist subscribers calculate expatriate pay using the online calculators and extensive database of cost of living and hardship indexes, for 780 international locations. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship or expat pay in Brussels? Register subscribe to your home location and Brussels and run your personalised reports.