Expand your social circle in Belgium

Hello everyone,

Moving to Belgium means leaving one's family and friends behind. Creating a circle of friends or joining an existing one should therefore be paramount in order to fight loneliness in your host country.

But how can one develop a social network in Belgium? Where and how to meet people there?

How easy is it to meet locals? What about cultural specificities?

Share your advice and experience!

Many thanks in advance,


Belgians are definitely reserved and can be somewhat (and this is an understatement) be perceived as cold, especially the flemmish people.

The best way to meet people is to get moving! By that, I mean, find some activities that you love to do, and you will automatically start meeting people. When you are a student or are working here, meeting people and socializing comes naturally. However, do not always take for granted that your co-workers are your friends.

Anyways, it is better to do a social activity, particularly if you are living here alone (for the time being).

I recommend doing activities which involve socialising with people one way or the other. For instance, if you are a gym enthusiast, you will definitely see people at the gym, but not necessarily engage into conversations with them. You should try activities which involve communication with others.

There will definitely be social differences here, therefore, one should be always careful as to observe the ways things are being done first, so as not to offend the locals, or seem too aggressive in their approach.

Last piece of advice; do not give up. I will never say that socialising with new foreign people is easy, especially for those of us who are not natural social butterflies. However, a bit of perseverance will take you a long way.

Good luck!

It's been said many times that one of the most important things to learn when moving to any country is the local language, Belgium is no different, and this goes a long way when making new friends. I was somewhat lucky in that I moved here with my Belgian wife who already had a circle of friends going way back. I just joined in. In the beginning it was all English, but over time, I keep getting told how good my Dutch is coming on though I have yet to learn how to write it ;-)

I have also made a few acquaintances by hanging out alone in one of the local bars. You go to the same place often enough, you will get to know people. The same applies to any activity, not just hanging out in bars. Then again, I have never been a huge social butterfly and generally enjoy my own company. Language issues aside, I have found Belgium much less socially 'clicky' than other countries. You are made to feel much more welcome here than in other places. I lived in Cape Town, South Africa for just over 2 straight years. When I finally packed up and left, I said goodbye to no one. But like I say, I am comfortable alone, so that didn't actually bother me. I was there to work driving tour coaches. I also drove very erratic schedules so I didn't have time for friends.

As far as Belgium goes, you can make friends quite easily, both with locals, work colleagues and other foreigners, depending on your work schedule, and language abilities, among other things. You just have to decide exactly how many friends you need/want. I am more of a quality over quantity kind of guy.

Hello Priscilla,

I moved to Brussels in January and my first few weeks were a little lonely. In a bid to help me find friends my boyfriend invited some colleagues for dinner and asked them to bring their partners or a friend with them. The guests soon invited me for coffee and introduced me to other people. I also made friends by attending expat events such as Meet Up groups & by volunteering. Lastly, I made friends with colleagues when I secured a job. And now, I've made some great friends which helps to feel settled.

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.

Best, Charlotte Rose

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