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Where to live in Brussels with a baby

Hi all,

I'm relocating to Brussels with my wife and a baby. I'd like to know good areas to live with my family.

Also any advice about the city would be more than welcome.

Thanks in advanced

Where you choose to live might depend on where you might work. Also budget. Also your personal preferences to be in a city area with limited parking, but lots of cafés, or if you prefer to be in suburbia where it can be very quiet at night but lots of open space, more good schools. There is no "in" area in Brussels for living with children.

Hi schoolmum, thank you for your answer.

I still don't know where my office is located. I'm looking for an area where my wife and 3 months baby have everything accessible, where they can go for a walk, supermarket, whatever they would need, etc.

Baby not going to school now but will g to kindergarden in a few months.

I don't mind driving to work (I don't know how bad traffic is in Brussels).

I would prefer having restaurants, shops, etc close to home and maybe rent something with parking.

Budget up to 1600 €.

Thanks again!

Everywhere has restaurants, though if you are from the UK, you will find eating out expensive. Shops everywhere too.

You would not want to drive to work if it is in the city centre. Public transport is excellent. Parking is an issue in city centre areas such as Ixelles, Etterbeek, some parts of Bruxelles 1000.

Some city centre areas would require a bit of a walk to a big park, but there are small playgrounds all over the place.

School starts at 2 1/2 here. Before that, most mums work full time and under 2 1/2 year olds go to creche full time and places are reserved as a general rule from 6 weeks pregnant. It means those arriving with babies requiring a creche either are extremely lucky to find a place in a regular creche or are stuck with 2 chains of creches which market themselves to expats and cost 50% more than regular creches. Just to warn you. There are however a few part time creches, there is one near you which you can usually get a 9-12pm place for less than 10 euro a morning, maybe not all mornings but a couple of mornings a week.

North and west Brussels are not so desirable and you will find minority populations that are based around one or 2 nationalities eg Turkish or Moroccan. South and east communes have a much greater and even mix of other nationalities - Forest, St Gilles, Uccle in the south, Watermael-Boitsfort, WSL, WSP, Auderghem in the east, more city centre Bruxelles 1000, Etterbeek,Ixelles, parts of Schaerbeek.

Thanks again, it was a very helpful answer.

I have a Belgian friend who lives near the station Tomberg with her husband and 9 month old and they're quite happy. They own a house there so I'm not sure what it's like to to find rental properties, but they seem to have all the points you desired- walkability (to shops, doctor, creche, park), quick access to public transport, etc. The only thing she is a bit grouchy over is that some of the area is a bit hilly so she gets more exercise than she counted on when she's got her son in his pram.

Thanks for your answer ECS.

I saw some houses that look good but I don't know if the areas are ok, maybe you can help:

- Rue d’Arlon à 1000 BRUXELLES, dans le quartier européen
- Rue Van Meyel 28, 1000 BRUXELLES
- Rue Jean Baptiste Decock, 1080 Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

Thanks in adanced!

Would only consider the first one, even then the area is completely devoid of community and a ghost town at night, except for bars down Place Luxembourg, nothing for kids around there, you'd have to walk to Parc Léopold or Square Amborix, good local schools are quite a walk and hard to get in to there too. I'd personally avoid Bruxelles 1000 completely, because of added queues when registering. I wouldn't look until I know where I was working, then choose on ease of commute and look forward a few years to schooling and life for children. Where ECS mentions Tomberg is Woluwe St Lambert, it's much more child-oriented east of the city centre, but not very good if you are working on the west or south side of Brussels.

Here is how to look for a creche (0-3 years) in Brussels. Nearly all creches are inspected and approved by either ONE or Kind en Gezin (language of inspection does not have to be language of creche). The ONE website is much easier to use than Kind en Gezin.
http://www.one.be/index.php?id=619&no_cache=1
http://www.kindengezin.be/kinderopvang/opvang-zoeken/

Thanks for that link schoolmum, very helpful!

By the way, my office will be located at “Marie Curie square, 1070 Anderlecht”. Which area would you recommend to live then? I might drive or use public transport, depending on which is the best option.

Square Marie-Curie.....several choices and not easy either.

a) live outside Brussels in a Dutch speaking area such as St Pieters Leeuw or Halle and take the de Lijn bus to work or drive - but I think your wife may not like that choice at it will be a very "provincial" life.

b) live nearby and walk to work or take a short bus/tram/metro ride, in the commune of Anderlecht (1070). Housing is a bit cheaper over the west side, you do have some pretty spots like the ponds around Marius Renard near your work and near the 81 tram route, you also have Westland shopping centre, Cora supermarket. But you would really need to choose very very carefully in Anderlecht because some areas are a bit seedy, schools are packed out there, due to the terrific rise in birth rate, especially in the large Moroccan population, schools do not perform so well over there, few exceptions at secondary such as Athenée Bracops Lambert and Institut des Soeurs de Notre Dame, the latter has a maternelle and primaire too. Both these 2 renowned Anderlecht secondaires are near St Guido no 5 metro / no 81 tram stop. I know it's a bit looking ahead, but a good secondaire usually has good maternelles / primaires nearby, so do take this into account when choosing an area. If I were choosing Anderlecht, I'd try and find somewhere from work along the 81 tram or 5 metro routes.

c) live in the centre of Brussels, say right in the centre within the inner ring, that would be Bruxelles 1000, or in St Gilles (1060) or Ixelles (1050) where you could catch the 81 tram or metro line 5, depending on exact area. You will find it a bit more expensive to much more expensive than Anderlecht but still within your budget, mainly apartments in this area. The advantages are that everything is on your doorstep, schooling is not good however in St Gilles, a few excellent schools in Bruxelles 1000 and Ixelles, but hard to get in to. From the very centre of Bruxelles out to Ceria no 5 metro stop (nearest metro stop to work) would be 20 minutes. From Flagey area of Ixelles to Marius Renard 39 tram stop (nearest tram stop to work) would be 40 minutes, from centre of St Gilles on 39 tram would be 30 minutes.

d) live on the east side of Brussels along the no 5 metro line. This will be again a bit more expensive than Anderlecht, but more houses instead of apartments, more open spaces, more choice of schools, still everything on your door step. Look at the no 5 metro line, it passes through Etterbeek (1040) and Auderghem (1160) and very near north area (Place Keym) of Watermael-Boitsfort (1170). You could still get a 3 bed house there for €1200. It would be 35 minutes from the end of line 5 at Herman-Debroux in Auderghem to Ceria metro in Anderlecht, closer into city centre it would be 30 minutes from Thieffry metro stop in Etterbeek. So if you chose a house near metro line 5 further away from work, you could still get to work quicker by metro than if you chose somewhere nearer to work such as Flagey area of Ixelles!

Here is a link to maternelles / primaires in Brussels, nearly all schools appear on that map. If you chose option d), you have the greatest choice of good local schools, but you have the biggest housing cost, but then again you also have the biggest choice of housing.

http://batchgeo.com/map/6972012203999a3 … fb2902bcb7

This map contains the maternelle only schools, of which there are quite a few in Anderlecht, as well as the "fondamentales" which are maternelle and primaire combined.
batchgeo.com/map/cde8d3e15607fcbaecf85bef408b6d5f

This is what you could get in Auderghem (1160), 30 minutes by metro from Beaulieu to Ceria, 3 beds for just over 1k.
immoweb.be/en/Rent.Estate.cfm?IdBien=3443710&xgallery=gallery&xpage=1

Hi schoolmum,

That is a very helpful information, thank you very much.
I will check those options.

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