Belgium at a glance

Belgium at a glance

Although occupying such a small landmass of roughly 30,688 km2, Belgium has an incredibly big name in the global space. Today, so many people actually migrate to the country in search of opportunities or links with families there.

In Europe, Belgium has a great economic and social significance. There’s incredibly a lot of fun facts about Belgium ranging from its culture, people, government, history  and more. 

Belgium at a glance
Welcome to a new life and memorable experiience of Gent, Belgium

On your planned move to start life in Belgium, a lot of things may still remain unclear to you. Moving to a new country with a fairly diverse culture, up to three common languages spoken and a few other nuances may be such a tough cookie to crack.

To ease your process of setting up a new base, making Belgium your new home, we’ve generously identified a few areas for discussion. These topics, although often overlooked or completely  ignored, importantly get you started.

As you will definitely agree, the journey towards complete integration into any country can be such a long one. We don’t promise that this piece will make you as prepared as a native or Belgian born person. But at least, you won’t be completely oblivious of so much. 

Let’s know more about Belgium on topics including; 

  • Credit card
  • Payday loan
  • Insurance(s)
  • Mobile subscription
  • Electricity/heating
  • Internet subscription
  • Housing/rental
  • Dating

Quick and enlightening facts about Belgium

You’ve probably checked around opportunities for internationals in Belgium and convinced yourself that it offers so much for you. Now, the journey to move over to the country has just started with so much hope and inspiration fuelling everything. But before you get everything started, let’s know a few things about Belgium. 

Belgium at a glance
Royal Palace of brussels-Belgium’s landmark building getting a closeup of 

The Kingdom of Belgium lies in the Northwestern part of Europe. Today, the country hosts immigrants from so many other countries that makes it a melting pot of cultures. Brussels, Antwerp, Leiven and other Belgian cities remain home to so many internationals. You may eventually end up in one of these major cities. 

Belgium is  famous for its chocolate, castles and beer. If you ever visit the country, please remember to have a taste of their beer. 

As an expat, living in a foreign country is not that easy. Because of this, you may need credit cards and payday loans in case you have run out of money, and you need to pay some bills or purchase something. Also, apart from that, when living in another country, your safety should come first. Thus, the need for insurance be it car, property, or life. 

Credit Cards in Belgium

Belgium, like many developed countries, has a well-established credit card market. Credit cards offer a convenient means of payment, allowing users to make purchases. Also, the users can make transactions both online and offline. Besides, most international credit card providers like Visa, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted in Belgium.

Credit issuers in Belgium have different loyalty programs to keep their customers plugged. As much as you take the credit card to access credits, they do everything to make you stay longer. Take advantage of the credit cards that offer the best loyalty plans.

Belgium at a glance
Get hold of and start using your credit card in Belgium

To best benefit from attractive credit card features, look out for various features including cashback rewards, travel benefits, and promotional interest rates. However, it is crucial for you as a customer to understand the terms and conditions. Ensure that you are fully aware of the annual fees, interest rates, and potential penalties for late payments.

Although Belgium’s financial regulations aim to protect consumers, it is essential for individuals to use credit cards responsibly. If you can, avoid accumulating debt. Many banks and financial institutions in Belgium offer credit cards, and consumers can choose one that aligns with their spending habits and financial goals.

What to consider when choosing a credit card in Belgium

  • Credit cards usually come with various fees which you need to be aware of 
  • Check out the  fees including late payment fees, balance transfer fees, foreign transaction fees, and annual fees. Choose the one with lower fees.
  • Consider rewards. Ensure that you are getting a card that has rewards which are in line with your spending profile. 
  • Know the security features offered by your credit card provider. 

Pros of Credit Cards in Belgium

  • Cashback feature. Different cards offer different rewards. Therefore, it all depends on the one that you have chosen. 
  • Convenience. You don’t have to carry the card. You can add it in your digital wallet and use it to make payments.
  •  Wide acceptance  in Belgium. Therefore, you don’t need to worry about having an alternative form of payment when making purchases. 

Downside of Credit Cards in Belgium

  • Risk of overspending
  • Sometimes fees such as annual fees and interest charges may be high. 
  • If you miss a payment, your credit score can easily go down.

Payday Loans in Belgium

In Belgium, just like anywhere else, payday loans help you sort out a shortfall in your budget. In case something comes up before your salary hits the account, these loans insulate you against the sometimes troubling need to go around borrowing and explaining your predicaments to friends or relatives.

As much as Belgium offers a lot of amazing opportunities for people who want to prosper, situations that demand for loans arise. Do not hold back or feel guilty about going for a payday loan. Even the most frugal people in Belgium sometimes find themselves seeking loans. 

The payday loans available to you in Belgium come as short-term, or cash advance loans. They may not be so common in Belgium as compared to other countries like the United Kingdom and Germany but the payday loan lenders exist anyway. 

The payday loan lenders in Belgium operate under close regulation of the Belgian financial authorities. The regulations offer borrowers assurance against possible exploitation by lenders. No room for predatory lending that may end up worsening the borrower’s financial situation. 

The payday loans do come in handy when one is facing financial challenges. For example, if you want to pay the due electricity bill, you can take them instead of asking for money from friends and family who may not have. The good thing is that they are convenient. You can get them within minutes. All you need to have is an internet connection to make an online application. 

 As helpful as payday loans are, the high interest rates associated with payday loans can lead to a cycle of debt if not managed carefully. Belgium’s financial authorities have implemented measures to protect consumers from excessive interest rates and fees. Individuals considering payday loans should be cautious and explore alternative financial solutions, such as personal loans or budgeting assistance, to avoid the potential pitfalls associated with payday lending.

Insurance(s) in Belgium

Insurance plays a crucial role in the financial security of individuals and businesses in Belgium. Various types of insurance are available, including health insurance, car insurance, home insurance, and life insurance. Health insurance is mandatory for residents, ensuring access to medical services.

  • Car insurance in Belgium

Car insurance is required for vehicle owners, just like in other countries. It provides coverage for accidents and liabilities. In Belgium, you must have at least third-party liability insurance. The insurance covers the damage that you can cause to other people if an accident takes place. 

Apart from the third-party liability insurance, you may look for additional coverage. They include legal assistance coverage, collision coverage, and comprehensive coverage. In case of an accident, you may save a significant amount of money. 

Home insurance 

Home insurance protects homeowners and renters against property damage and theft. Some of the coverage types for home insurance include personal, property, as well as liability coverage. The other things that might be covered in your home insurance include disasters, windstorms, and fire. 

Life insurance

Life insurance offers financial protection for beneficiaries in the event of the policyholder’s death. With life insurance, your family members will not be financially worried when you die. This is because your insurance will cover the funeral costs and those left behind. 

Belgium’s insurance market is competitive, with numerous providers offering a range of coverage options. As an expat, you are encouraged to compare policies. Also, consider their specific needs, and choose insurance plans that provide adequate protection.

Mobile Subscription in Belgium

Belgium boasts a well-developed telecommunications sector. It offers a variety of mobile subscription plans. Major telecom operators provide diverse options for data, calling minutes, and messaging services. Expats can choose between prepaid and postpaid plans based on their usage preferences.

Moreover, competition in the mobile subscription market has led to innovative offerings. It includes unlimited data plans, international calling packages, and family plans. Additionally, Belgium has excellent network coverage, ensuring that users can stay connected across the country.

If you choose the option of prepaid sim cards, you may get some benefits. One of them is that you do not have to terminate the period of your sim card when going home. In short, they are very flexible. Also, you do not need a bank account for you to get a prepaid card. Lastly, you will get the sim card free of charge. Is that not a good deal for an expat?

When choosing a mobile subscription, you need to compare the prices as well as network coverage. Don’t pay more for services that you can get from another provider at an affordable price. Also, while saving money, remember to choose the one that is reliable in terms of network so that you continue communicating with your friend anytime anywhere. 

Electricity and Heating in Belgium

Belgium places a strong emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency. The country has made significant investments in renewable energy sources, including wind and solar power. Consumers have the option to choose their electricity and heating providers, promoting competition in the energy market.

In Belgium, there are different energy-efficient technologies and initiatives. They include smart meters and energy-saving programs. They are highly encouraged to reduce carbon footprints and lower utility bills. Also, the country’s commitment to green energy aligns with European Union directives to transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly energy landscape.

Belgium at a glance
Know about Electricity supply and bills in Belgium

Belgium has different electricity suppliers. As an expat, you have the power of choosing the provider that you want. Remember, the prices and offerings can vary. Thus, it is advisable to compare different suppliers to find the best deal.

In terms of heating, natural gas is a common source in many households. However, there is a growing emphasis on promoting more sustainable and energy-efficient heating solutions. They may include heat pumps and district heating systems.

Moreover, energy efficiency measures and the use of renewable energy for heating purposes are encouraged. Belgium, just like many European countries, has regulations and incentives in place to promote energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy. In addition, homeowners may have access to subsidies or tax incentives for implementing energy-saving measures or installing renewable energy systems.

Energy prices in Belgium can vary based on factors. The factors include the energy source, the supplier, and the type of contract. It’s common for consumers to have both a fixed and variable component in their energy bills. Therefore, do not expect your bill to be the same as that of your neighbor or friends. 

Internet Subscription in Belgium

High-speed internet connectivity is widely available in Belgium, with several providers offering a range of subscription plans. Options include fiber-optic, cable, and DSL connections, providing varying speeds to meet the diverse needs of consumers.

Belgium’s competitive internet market ensures affordable pricing and innovative services. Consumers can select plans based on their usage patterns, whether for basic browsing, streaming, or online gaming. Internet service providers often bundle services, including television and phone, allowing customers to customize their packages.

When considering an internet subscription in Belgium, here are some key factors to consider:

  • Internet Speeds: Different plans offer different speeds. Consider your usage requirements, such as online gaming, streaming, or remote work, to choose an appropriate speed. This will help you choose the best provider. 
  • Contract Terms: Be aware of the contract length and any early termination fees. Some providers offer both short-term and long-term contracts. Ensure that you are well informed about this before choosing a provider. Maybe you can choose one that is a bit flexible in terms of its contract. 
  • Bundled Services: Many providers offer bundled services that include not only internet but also television and phone services. Bundles can sometimes provide cost savings.
  • Installation and Equipment: Check if there are installation fees and inquire about the cost of renting or purchasing a modem or router.
  • Customer Reviews: Research customer reviews and experiences with different ISPs to get an idea of customer satisfaction, service quality, and customer support.

Housing and Rental in Belgium

The housing market in Belgium reflects a mix of urban and suburban living. Rental options are available in major cities, and the country offers a range of housing types, including apartments, townhouses, and single-family homes. The cost of living in Belgium, including housing expenses, varies depending on the region. The urban areas have high rental costs. 

Rental agreements typically adhere to established legal frameworks. They outline the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants. In Belgium, just like other countries, security deposits are common, and leases may be for fixed or indefinite terms. Also, the government regulates rent increases to protect tenants from excessive hikes.

Belgium at a glance

Moreover, rental contracts can be indefinite or fixed. There are also some rules and regulations concerning notice periods for both the landlord and the tenant. If you do not give notice on time, be sure that you will have to pay rent for the other periods even though you may not be staying in the house. 

Real estate agencies are commonly used in Belgium for both buying and renting properties. They can assist in finding suitable accommodation based on your preferences and budget. Though it can be costly, they make your work easier as they help you get a property based on your budget and preferences. 

Dating in Belgium

Belgium’s dating scene reflects the country’s diverse cultural influences. Dating customs may vary between regions and linguistic communities. Online dating has gained popularity, with various platforms connecting individuals based on interests, preferences, and relationship goals.

Social activities and events provide opportunities for people to meet and connect. Thus, if you are an introvert, just try to attend social events. Although you may feel uncomfortable, you may be lucky to meet Mr Right or Mrs Right. Belgium’s rich cultural heritage offers unique dating experiences, from exploring historical sites to enjoying local cuisine. The country’s open-minded and multicultural society contributes to a dynamic and inclusive dating environment.

Apart from social events, you can do the following to find love in Belgium:

Learning the Belgian Languages

While many Belgians speak multiple languages, it can be helpful to know some basic phrases in Dutch (Flemish), French, and German. It will make your dating journey easier. For instance, one will appreciate your love more if you express it in their language. All in all, English is widely spoken, especially in urban areas, so language barriers may not be a significant issue.

You can enroll in language classes to improve your language skills. Through the classes, you can meet people who are also learning. This can provide a natural setting for casual conversations.

Socializing in Expat Communities

Belgium has a significant expat community. You can attend expat meetups or join online forums to connect with people who share similar experiences. Through that, you may be able to find love. Look for love please, don’t sit and wait for it to find you. You can find the expat communities in Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp groups. 

Online Dating

As an expat, utilize online dating platforms. Many Belgians use dating apps and websites to meet new people. Also, be honest about your intentions and interests in your profile.

Belgium at a glance
Having an adventurous dating experience in Belgium

Join Clubs and Groups in Belgium

As an expat, participate in clubs or groups that align with your interests. Whether it’s sports, hobbies, or cultural activities. joining like-minded communities increases your chances of meeting someone with similar interests.

Step out to Cafes and Bars

Belgians often socialize in cafes and bars. Be open to striking up conversations in these casual settings. You can join people at another table and start a conversation. 

Be Open-Minded and patient

Be open to dating people from different cultural backgrounds. Belgium is a diverse country with people from various nationalities. Building meaningful connections takes time. Hence, be patient and enjoy the process of getting to know new people.