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. The climate is temperate with mild winters and cool summers. It is often rainy, humid and cloudy. 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. Belgians are generally democratic and non-discriminatory. Brussels is officially bilingual, however in the regions language can be an issue with some regions being French speaking and others Dutch speaking. Expatriate business dress is becoming less formal but remains conservative and most Belgians tend to use formal titles and surnames when addressing business associates, at least upon first meeting. 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 currency of Belgium is the Euro (EUR). Banking is on a par with the rest of Western Europe and North America. Medical facilities are good, however the cost of treatment for expatriates from outside the EU can be high. The population of Brussels is 175,000 (2016 est.), while the inflation rate is 2.24% (2016 est.).
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates in In Brussels, the cost of each basket, based on local prices, compared to the international average, is categorized follows (Exact cost of living percentages only available in personalised reports): Brussels as at 1 April 2016 is high in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol (where available) & Tobacco: Low 2) Clothing: Very High 3) Communication: High 4) Education: Average 5) Furniture & Appliances: High 6) Groceries: High 7) Healthcare: Average 8) Household Accommodation: Average 9) Miscellaneous: Very High 10) Personal Care: Low 11) Recreation & Culture: Very High 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: Very High 13) Transport: Very High Brussels is for example 59.8% more expensive than La Paz for groceries, 28.8% more expensive for household costs than Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 74.3% more expensive for transport costs than Sarajevo. The hardship premium for Brussels for an expat from Bulgaria, is for example -20%, i.e. host location (Brussels) premium of 10% minus home (Bulgaria) location premium of 30%. Brussels is ranked as a minimal hardship location. 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.