cost of living in Leuven,Belgium

I'm going to KU Leuven next year for my Ph.D in chemistry.What is the cost for living in this city of a month ? Is 600 euro sufficient for a month's living?

Welcome on Expat-blog BoneyM!

I have moved the discussion on the Belgium forum.

Lots of luck,

are you a habitat of Belgium?If u r ,please let me know about the living .

Hello, I live in Brussels not in Leuven but i think that the cost of living is the same all over Belgium. You mention 600 euros for one month but I don't know if you are talking about only food and transport (maybe a beer too) or if you are including in this amount the cost of the rent of a month. If you have already where to stay and you are not gonna pay for it, then the 600 euros is good for one month. But if you still have to pay a rent, I'm afraid this amount is barely the half of the money you need. Hope it helps you a bit.

I quite agree with la D as far as the cost of living is concerned. It is quite the same all over Belgium but for housing accommodation. Leuven rents tend to be higher than in Brussels. Digs are cheaper but less comfortable with all facilities to be shared with your fellow residents. I advise you to rely upon KUL university for finding digs.
Also very popular amongst students is house or flat sharing.
Visit, which is also available in English.
Good luck !

Hello Guys,

I got an offer for a PhD position in Leuven with a salary around 2000€. Can I afford all my expenses ? I have insurance cover, free internet at home, one meal per day ( lunch ).

Thanks a lot,

2000 gross or net and 13.92 months or 12 months?
2k gross over 13.92 months is higher than the average Belgian salary!

Yep, 2000 after taxes and per month, per 4 years. Is it good ?
How much should I pay for an apartment to share with another student? Thanks!!

wow that is amazing money, are you working as well as doing PHD?

If yes I will be doing a PhD in engineering and changing to $ seems not so much!! Also, consider that I am gonna pay at least 1000$ for flying from US. However, thank you for your help.

Firstly to BoneyM,
€600 per month will be enough to live on for food/Transport etc. but will not cover rent by a long shot.
A quick breakdown would be;
Food: €50 per week/€200 per month (provided you cook each night)
Transport: €30 per month (Onmi pass for the bus)
it's the other costs that will hit you hard, such as;
Rent:anywhere from €250 (dorm room) to €500 (small apartment/studio) per month
Electric/Gas: €60 per month (based on my experience in a small 1 be apartment when I first came to Belgium)
Internet/TV: Basic internet €20/€25 per month, plus TV etc €35 to €60 per month
Water: €20 to €60 per quarter depending on usage
Phone: Dependent on provider, anywhere form €15 to €100 per month
General costs: Bin bags/PMD bags etc. €12.50 for 10 large rubbish bags (Lommel) and I think around €3.50 or so for PMD
Socalising: varies from person to person, could be €20 per week or €200 per week

If you are going to be earning €2000 per month after taxes then you will be able to live quite comfortably as a single guy in Belgium, as Schoolmum said the average Belgian wage is a fair bit below this, When I first got myself set up here I was earning less than that and living "quite" well. Keep an eye on your finances,spend wisely and you will be fine

I am just wondering who one PHD  student has only €600 a month  and another PHD student at the same university gets €2000 a month, several hundred euro above the average Belgian salary? No €600 is not really enough for anyone to live on if they have rent to pay, whereas it's enough if they have no rent.

I guess it quite depends on the program, on the professor, on fundings that the Lab has received. And I would also add that this is quite common in universities and research centers.

[at] David: Just confirm that the 2000€ is not before tax, as, taxes are pretty high here. I myself did my PhD from North America and used to get ~2200$ (after taxes and all) but that was fellowship. You are right that stipend varies based on your advisor fundings and all but generally in europe they won't pay you that much. 2000 € a month here is almost close to 4000 € before taxes, thats close to a postdoc fellowship. Also, I am not sure that in academia they pay 13.93 salary. Just know all these details rather than getting disappointment later on. I had a phd offer from norway where they pay insanely high stipend but that's an exception. So, sort out all these before moving to brussels, however, if you will get ~2000 (after taxes and all) + other benefits, then you can live here comfortably :)

Oh, are they kidding me? How can I confirm that? Is this the way European people are used to deal with!? I mean, could be that when I arrive then they will just give me less than 2000€ ??
This will be not fare at all and of course I have other possibilities. So , to sum-up when someone looks for PhD in Europe should find something around 4000€ !! Thanks a lot, rajivuwo!

Its all about the taxes, taxes are pretty high in Europe (especially in belgium). Maybe in academia (phd stipend and all), its not that bad. I remember that in my PhD stipend in US, taxes were ~14% but i guess in industry it's ~30-35% (US, depends on other factors too). I anticipate that its the same here too, nevertheless, talk to your department secretary who sent you the offer letter. You can ask her how much you will get in hand, after taxes and all. If he/she says that its ~2K € then that's great :)

The average Belgian salary is less than 2k GROSS per month, a graduate could not even expect 4k GROSS per month, even European civil servants don't have 4K starting salary!

It's your responsibility to to find out how much you are earning. Salaries are always quoted in GROSS because taxes depend on personal cicumstances and are not the 40% people so often say they are, yes indeed for some that is their tax rate but for anyone with children or non working spouses, taxes are lower.

Hello everyone. I am planning for a PhD in Computer Science in KU Leuven starting July. I am offered a stipend of 1500 euro/month with full insurance coverage - health, travel, accident. Is it enough for living in Leuven? Also will this be enough if my wife stay there with me. How is the rent for 1 bedroom house/apartments in Leuven?

That is enough for 2 people to live on and I'd recommend if it is 1500 euro per month for 12 months with nothing else like bonuses, to keep to a budget of 600 euro for housing, just over 1/3 of your stipend, giving you enough to pay gas + electricity + water, giving you a comfortable amount left over for food and non essentials. You won't live like emperors but you will live without going hungry.

Hi tervurener,
Thanks for your reply. I have few more questions. What is the total cost of living I can expect for two people? can you give me an estimate? Also what are my options for housing within 600 euros?
Thanks once again for your help.

Look on for housing, also at the KU Leuven housing website. You will get perhaps a 1 bedroom apartment at 60-70m2 for that price.

Total cost of living depends on how much you choose to consume.
Gas and electricity at least 100 euro per month
water maybe 20 euro per month
food, can only base on what we eat, that's 250 euro per month
TV/internet, you'll find quite expensive, depends on package, between 30-70 euro per month

600 euro rent
200 euro utility + insurance bills
250 euro food

that leaves you with 450 to use on things like transport, eating out, entertainment

This is KU Leuven housing register. You might find some of the prices include gas/electricity/water so you could go higher on prices. Just leave yourself if possible 500 euro per month for non essentials, after paying rent, any utilities, any food. … hp?lang=en

Hi tervurener,
thanks for your help.
the approximate prices you posted is for two people, right?

that's right. 125 euro each for food = 250 for 2. It's the only cost that will differ from 1 to 2 people. I must add 125 euro is quite frugal but possible if you are careful about what you buy. I'm sure some people spend double what I spend on food. I've had to itemize all my food bill for the last 8 months and the 125 euro is what has come up as the average month.

Thanks tervurener. Your advices helped a lot. It will take some time for me to do some calculations on my own but I will bug you few more times in future.  :)

Hey, I am from India.
Can anyone tell me about scholarship for phd programme in Ku leuven university.
How much i have to pay from my pocket.
Thanks in advance.

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