• Brussels, the capital of Belgium
  • Brussels and the European Union
  • Economy
  • Transport
  • Living in Brussels
  • 5. Living in Brussels (part 1/3)

    Despite its economical and political success Brussels has managed to maintain a human dimension with a high quality of life thanks to its low cost of living and housing and thanks to a large area of green space compared to other European cities.

    a. The cost of living

    Living is Brussels is cheaper than living in Paris or London. Brussels is also regarded as one of the top European capitals to live in concerning the quality of life.

    Rental prices are low in Brussels, even in the areas where many expatriates live prices are very reasonable and the quality of housing stock is very high.

    Food and other necessities are also very competitively priced in the Brussels Capital Region and even the luxuries, like going out to dinner, are very reasonable. The cost of public transport is almost half of what it would be in London or other major European cities. Even simply going to and from the airport is fast and cheap. Although salaries are lower in Brussels than in London or Paris, the average worker has greater purchasing power.

    b. Social security

    According to a recent study, titled The Health of Nations, Belgium’s health care system is the best one in the world. Belgian has a modern and efficient health care system with excellent standards. There are 380 hospitals recognized by the Ministry for Public Health, this means that there are over 80,000 hospital beds for a population of 10 million. There are more than 30,000 practicing doctors, i.e. on average one doctor for 335 people. Every hospital provides a basic medical treatment and some hospitals are more specialised. Brussels has 30 hospitals, private or public, three of which are University Hospitals. The staff of these hospitals is usually fluent in English and doctors and nursing staff are always willing to help their patient in the language most convenient for the two parties. Both employees and self-employed persons are obliged to take a health insurance. Employees have to join a “mutual insurance association”. This association will reimburse a part of the medical expenses such as visits to a general practitioner, dental costs, hospital care, surgical procedures and maternity costs. The amount that is reimbursed is a fixed amount and does not depend on the doctor’s fee.

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