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 176,500 (2019 est.), while the inflation rate (CPI) is 0.48% for Belgium as at October 2019. Xpatulator Hypothetical Tax for Belgium is based on the current personal income tax rates which are progressive up to 50%. Tax is applicable to net taxable income after the deduction of social security charges and professional expenses. In addition, communal taxes are levied at rates varying from 0% to 9% of the income tax due. The average rate being 7%.
Cost Of Living
The cost of living for expatriates / professional migrants in We have collected prices for the same items, world wide, based on Expat spending norms, in or closest to the location, and converted them to $USD so that we can compare the cost of 13 different baskets in 780 global locations. For each basket, compared to New York, the equivalent cost in Brussels is as follows: Brussels as at 1 November 2019 is high in comparison to other places in the world. 1) Alcohol and/or Tobacco: for items such as beer, spirits, wine and tobacco related products such as cigarettes. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$680. Average price in a store for a midrange bottle of wine is USD$7.75, domestic/local beer (500ml) USD$1.29, imported/international beer (330ml) USD$2.09 and a pack of 20 cigarettes is USD$7.36. 2) Clothing: for items such as business, casual and children's clothing and footwear. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$1170. Average price for an international brand of mens jeans is USD$83, a quality international brand of running shoes USD$86, mens leather shoes suitable for office wear USD$128 while a medium size international summer dress from a global chain store is USD$36. 3) Communication: for various communication costs such as home telephone rental, internet subscription, mobile service provider tariff and data costs. A basket costing USD$200 in New York costs USD$326. Average price for a monthly standard plan internet subscription is USD$50, while the benchmark mobile tariff is USD$0.26 per minute. 4) Education: for items such as creche / pre-school fees, primary school fees, high school fees and tertiary study fees. A basket costing USD$30000 in New York costs USD$29100. Average annual private international school fee (excluding extras) USD$18,886 for Primary School, and USD$21,017 for High School. 5) Furniture & Appliances: for items such as dining table and chairs, home entertainment, kitchen appliances, and sofas. A basket costing USD$2500 in New York costs USD$2375. Average price for a 6kg front loader Washing Machine is USD$745, and USD$639 for a 46+'' LED UHD TV. 6) Groceries: for items such as consumables, cleaning products, dairy, fresh fruit & vegetables, general food products, snacks, soft drinks. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$800. Average grocery prices in a major international retail store for 1 kg apples is USD$2.43, 1 kg oranges USD$2.55, 1 head lettuce USD$1.49, 1 kg potatos USD$1.54, 1 kg boneless, skinless, chicken breast USD$10.57, 1 kg cheddar cheese USD$15.07, 1 dozen large eggs USD$3.13, 500g loaf white bread USD$2.00, 1 L full cream milk USD$1.21, and 1.5 L water USD$1.05. 7) Healthcare: for general heath care, doctor visits, hospital stays, non-prescription medicine, and medical insurance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$680. Average healthcare cost for a private practice Doctor visit for an uninsured patient is USD$55, and a private hospital stay per day including nursing care, medications, diagnostic tests, food, and related costs is USD$1,681. 8) Household Accommodation: for items such as apartment rent, house rent, property purchase, mortgage rate, and utilities. A basket costing USD$5000 in New York costs USD$2100. Average expatriate house / apartment rent for a secure upmarket unfurnished apartment (3 bedrooms) is USD$2,219 in a central location, and USD$1,459 in a suburban location, per month, excluding utilities. 9) Miscellaneous: for items such as dry cleaning, linen, magazines, newspapers, office supplies, and postage stamps. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$550. Average price for dry cleaning (1 mens 2 pc suit) is USD$10.74, while an international newspaper is USD$3.30. 10) Personal Care: for items such as cosmetics, hair care, and toiletries. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$240. Average cost for a mens haircut and blow dry is USD$19, while a womens hair colour, cut and blow dry - medium length is USD$97. 11) Recreation & Culture: for items such as books, cinema, sport and theatre tickets. A basket costing USD$500 in New York costs USD$410. Average price for a latest release international cinema ticket (average of on and off peak where applicable) for one adult is USD$12.18, and an international fitness, recreation or sports club membership cost for one adult is USD$28 per month. 12) Restaurants Meals Out and Hotels: for items such as hotel daily room rates, meals and beverages in a restaurant, and take away food and beverages. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$990. Average cappuccino price (regular, medium) is USD$3.35, coke/pepsi (330ml) USD$2.56, burger meal (international franchise or similar) USD$8.86, and a mid-range international restaurant meal for 2 USD$66.44. 13) Transport: for items such as fuel (petrol/gasoline), car hire, public transport, vehicle purchase and maintenance. A basket costing USD$1000 in New York costs USD$1120. Average average price over the last year for highest available octane petrol / gasoline (1L) is USD$1.61, while the benchmark car sedan purchase price including taxes/duties for a compact / small / economy vehicle (1.4 L) is USD$22,366. Brussels is 25% more expensive than Houston TX for groceries, -0.7% cheaper for household costs than Kuala Lumpur, and 90.2% more expensive for transport costs than Dubai. The hardship premium for Brussels for an expat from Perth, is for example 0%, i.e. host location (Brussels) premium of 10% minus home (Perth) location premium of 10%. Brussels is ranked as a minimal hardship location. Want to know more about cost of living, hardship (quality of living) or expat salary in Brussels? Register subscribe to your home location and Brussels and run your personalised reports.