Cost of living in Belgium

Hi everybody,

It would be very useful to to start a topic about the cost of living in Belgium. It could help a lot!

Don't forget to mention where you are living

Let's compare the:

> accommodation prices (how much does it cost to rent or to rent an accommodation in Austria?)

> public transportation fares (tube, bus etc ...)

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?)

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance)

> eduction prices (if you need to pay)

> energy prices (oil, electricity)

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone)

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant

> prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub

Did I forget something or is this list complete enough?

Thanks in advance for your participation!

sent by lilqna2003 in June 2008

hi there
i can give you some more info about living in ghent belgium
there is a big difference between Brussels and Ghent of course

so i can start with housing this is about 400 euro monthly for a nice house or a rather big apartment. Can be cheaper and of course more than that but the normal price is that and this does not include electricity, water and gas.

gas and electricity may vary depends on use but 100 per month
water 30euro on the 3 months.
Fooding this is not expensive like 60 - 100 a month
if you cook at home not in a restaurant
eating out can be as 5 euro if you get the chips with mayo
or 30 if you go to a restaurant- nice meal .
tobacco way too much 5/40 per pack
internet around 40 euro
tel, mobile - can be 10 euro can be 25 if on contract depends on the provider.
clothing great deals on sales cheap really
if no sales pretty normal
school if language- 20 euro can be 400 if in the uni language centre.
but compared to uk uni higher education is really cheap
i study architecture and this is 500 euro a year .

well for one 1000 euro per month is good to have nice life style not too much but far from surviving. and this you can get with around 25 hours of work in a restaurant or a store.
if you have a better job you would earn more.

I've lived in Brussels,

> accommodation prices = 600-700E per month for 50m2 in city centre.

> public transportation fares = bus /tube / tram / sometimes train within Brussels, you use the same ticket. 1E70 for one trip ticket and 11E5 for 10 times.

> food prices(per month, how much does it cost you?) 100E if you cook, the food is not very expensive

> health prices (for those who need medical insurance): don't know

> eduction prices (if you need to pay) ): don't know

> energy prices (oil, electricity): don't know, mine is included in the rent

> common bills (Internet, television, telephone, mobile phone) , internet =30E, TV about 200E per year, fix line it depends, will cost 6E5 for the line. Mobile 20E per month.

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant. Belgium people told me there is not Belgium cook. A menu normaly 20-25E

> prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub. In bar around the center, 3-5E for a beer.

Allez, bon courage!!!

Yes I agree Brussels is more expensive with short term rentals getting very expensive - above 1k Euro per month.

I alos find food expensice when compared to neughbouring countries Holland for example.

Public transport in Brussels although really filthy in places in cheap when compared to London.

Enrgy prices are steep - Belgium has one of the highest untility csts in teh world.



I do not recall reading here on the forum about the residency/occupancy charges? I was told there there is the so called "occupancy charge"? That are categories of primary and secondary. Could someone elaborate a bit on this type of charges?

Hi folks,

Any input on the this type of charge? Any one? What is this occupancy charge and when do they come to ask for it? It sounds like not every community has such.

Also, I am using my mobile which is non-Belgium yet, thus costing me a bit more with the roaming charges. Which mobile carrier would you recommend and why? I would be looking at a top-up 1st and then on a contract basis.

Thank you in advance for all the help and input guys. :)

We have Base, which is pretty good, plus whenever you top up they give you some extra, and bonuses of free mins/texts with other Base customers (so like you and your husband would be able to utilize it). There's also Ortel Mobile, which I have not used but got a little ad-like thing that lists their calling rates, which seemed pretty good, so you could consider them as well.

Melby as always, thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :)

You're welcome. =) If you do go with Base (and I do recommend them, we've never had any problems at all with them and there's the perks I mentioned), just keep in mind that when you want to switch to the post-paid, you'll need to bring in something like an electricity bill to show them that you are truly billable at this address etc. And you'll have to pick up the SIM cards initially at an actual Base store, not just stores who advertise them in their windows and whatnot but the actual store, that's the only place you can do pick up the cards. But you can top-up online or in tons of other places, you can buy mins at the grocery store or all over; real simple. =)

Hello friend...would like to know more about the cost of living in Belgium if possible....I am moving soon to Brugge and I am thinking n thinking n thinking... :))))...plz help..thanks a lot

I do think that the price of food in Belgium is  actually rather high than in England. Well most things in Belgium cost a fair bit more than in England're kidding, right?? The UK is ridiculously expensive! Please cite your reasoning for this assertment??

Just everything I have ever brought is like a 3rd more make up most food brands. Cloths but of course you do tend to get higher wages here but its still a bit of a shock to get used to. Dvd's petrol and huge lack of sales given the law were you can only have sales 2 times a year or something

The store new look is a easy example of this I know theres about 4 newlooks in Belgium and dvd's are quite a good example of the price difference and you can find them online easily make up and food its a bit harder to look at online but I know from the difference in price of stuff I buy here from what i bought at home. Also cell phone deals are crazy expensive here compared to UK. You dont get free phones and the deals start a lot higher. Example my phone contract I got my blackberry phone free 100 any network minutes unlimited calls a new number every 3 months on the same network unlimited txts and internet for £20 a month. I looked for similar deals here and I was looking at around 50 euros and still having to pay some for the phone. So needless to say it has been a bit of a shock in some area's

And of course this is with the 11% exchange rate on the euro to the pound

I have however find one nice place to eat out. It is kinda pricey at 9 euros for a lasagne's when looking at the menu. However it is really good value for money (Big portons etc and the food is really nicely made)t pleintje in Beersel

Melby :

the UK is ridiculously expensive! Please cite your reasoning for this assertment??

Ok, so if the UK is so ridiculously expensive as you claim, then I hardly think visiting people from all over Europe would especially go on shopping trips there, would they?

Belgium is quite a bit more expensive than the UK in many ways.

Does somebody knows how much is the minimum salary in Brussels? And how mush tax% do the Government charge from your salary?


Indeed balesy but we have lived in both places so we would know. Although I do think wages here a little higher than uk but still dosnt bridge the gap between money and prices of things much a lot of food brands and car insureance ( actually anything to do with cars period) even bikes thats why its a common fact that a lot of those not living to far from duthc boarder go to netherlands for food shopping although gas prices are insane there but food cheaper

as for tax i was told it was 30 percent but im not 100 percent sure if thats right

the tax level in Belgium is depending of your salary, it can variate between 30 and 53%

I thought it started at 30

that's how it is indead. the Belgian work the first 3,5 mths (or sth close to that) for the state. and it gets longer every year.

and the prices: higher then the neighbours. it's even said on tv, the electricity, the mobile phones, even food... more expansive then in the Netherlands, France or Germany. up to 10-20% if I'm not mistaken.

You're the best off here as a teacher or a clerk (for the state).

Hi, I'm considering a job in Belgium near Kortrijk.  Can anyone tell me about the cost of living and price on housing - Apartment and/or house?

I hope you speak french....

Why would he need french if its in Kortijk when they speak dutch in that region

Ok never mind. As for Kortijk I dont really no the aera that well I can give you information for were I live with is about a half hour outside of Kortijk. A Place called Nazareth which is a apart of gent. For apartmemts check however contracts for houses are 3 years then 6 then 10

Thank you hannahhadman.

I'm looking for furnished apartment.  Can I assume that if I see furniture in the picture, it comes with furniture?  Unfortunately, I don't read Dutch/Flemish.

IWS not you cannot - people are not going to remove or add furniture to a photo to represent they are inclusive in the price. You only need to know a few words to be able to understand an advert for housing. Just learn the words "furnished" and "unfurnished" and in any case, 95% of adverts for property are part furnished - you get the kitchen furnished and that's it, it's wholly down to paying tax on furnished and not on part or completely unfurnished.

If you want to know the cost of housing in Kortrijk, look on Immoweb or Vlan. Public transport and fuel costs are identical, wherever you live in Belgium, supermarket food almost identical, only housing and eating out will vary from area to area.

Just looking on Immoweb, there is 1 single advert for an apartment under €2000 in Kortrijk, whereas there are 50 adverts for unfurnished apartments between €380 and €2000. Do you really want to limit your choice by furniture? You also have to give back the furniture in the same condition, or pay to replace the furniture when you leave. Buying furniture is far more economical.

:lol:, thank you very much Schoolmum.  I appreciate the information.  Taxes are extremely high not leaving a lot left in the Net so I am trying to determine what quality life I will have.

Also we found a lot of apartments dont come with ovens just a frige and a cooker top also immo web is in english and you could use google translate

when it comes to television service, is all local programming in French/Flemish or is there an English provider?


when it comes to television service, is all local programming in French/Flemish or is there an English provider?

It's just French/Dutch providers. I have Telenet at home here and I have plenty of English speaking channels/shows.
I have BBC 1,2,3 and 4 and a good few other channels that have the bulk of their programming in English.
Thankfully in the Flemish part of Belgium they subtitle everything rather than that ungodly Dubbing stuff the French and Germans do.
If you are in the French speaking region then I am not so sure of the dubbing/subtitle situation.

If worse comes to worst and you REALLY want UK channels then there are companies who offer to set up SKY for you.

Thanks Jemmy!


Thanks Jemmy!

Oh, I should have said also..
If you are not completely inept with electronics you can set up a freeview box easy enoough, and after the initial setup costs there will be no bills;)
Buy a box (even an old SKY sat box from ebay without a card will do fine) and get a decent sized dish (the usual mini-dish size may not be strong enough so a bigger one would be better) and you can pick up the Astra 2 Satellite which provides all the basic FTA channels.
I was planning on doing this but where I live there are strict rules about hanging a dish form the building, as in I'm simply forbidden to do it:(

Can anyone explain the 13.92 month pay cycle, holiday,and bonuses?  I'm struggling to understand this?  I'm currently employed by an American company so the pay structure is different.

Hello IWS.

You should start a new thread on the Belgium forum and post your questions. :)

Thank you,

Oh? I think it comes in ok in the cost of living in Belgium

Thank you.  I'll be patient.   If I don't get feedback here, I will start a new thread.

The cost of living is quite high in Wallonia, read my posts: … p=2#758456

I am currently living in Borgloon, Limburg, Belgium

> accommodation prices: I've decided today to rent a place. 100m² in the middle of the center here (store, hairdresser, bank, bakery,...nearby) and the price is 490€ + 40€ of general costs (for elevator maintenance & cleaning)
-> This does NOT include gas+water+electricity+internet!

> public transportation fares: There are busses here that can take you to wherever you want to. I am in between the cities Sint-Truiden & Tongeren and Hasselt isn't that far (30 minutes driving) either.  But a one way ticket is usually around 1.50€ if I remember correctly? Haven't used the bus in ages.

> food prices: Since I am going to live on my own in december, I can't tell you this yet. But shouldn't be more than 100-150€ for 1 or 2 people I think? I don't really eat much either. :)

> health prices: A doctor's visit here is about 25€. When you go during the evening it can even be around 27€. But our "mutuelle" pay back a lot.

> energy prices (oil, electricity): For gas & electricity I have taken a guess. I think I will be paying around 100-130€ a month. Depending on your own personal use ofcourse. :)

> common bills:
- Internet: 63.50 € (Fibernetshake from Telenet: internet + HD tv + cable) There is also a cheaper version that costs like 20€ less.
- Telephone: Not going to use that, since I won't be needing it that much.
- Water: every 3 months about 30€... So that makes 120€ a year?

> prices of a good menu in a traditional restaurant: You can eat a steak here in some restaurants for 20€.

> prices of a beer or a coffee in a regular pub: Usually around 1.70€ I think for the coffee. Everything gets more and more expensive unfortunately.

Sounds about right :D

I'm currently in Lommel (Northern Limburg, on the Dutch border)

I'm paying:
Rent: 735 (2 bed duplex, 2 minute walk from the centre of the town, with a terrace/private car park space and plenty of room (160M2 +/-)
House insurance:a MUST in Belgium, I pay €120 per year for the insurance
Electric/Gas: Roughly €100 Monthly (mainly due to the gas with the cold winter)
TV/Internet: Fibernet Shake, as above, €64 per month
Food: I shop in The Netherlands as it is a lot cheaper there, roughly €100/€120 per week for 2 of us and a spoilt wee dog)
Eating out: A pasta dish, around €12 to €15, Steak around €22
Nights out: Well, I run an Irish Pub so it doesn't cost me much.. but for instance, a Jupiler (33cl) is €1.80, Coffee around the €2 mark
Health: GP/Doctors visit I've no idea.I pay €60 per year Mutuality and I recently had an elective eye operation, the cost in Ireland/UK would have been around €4000/€5000, my mutuality covered 100% of this.
Consultants fees were €40 per visit, I got €30 (+/-) back from each visit. i'd some dental work done last year, again in Irl/UK the cost would have been very high (roughly €1200), it cost me about €80 for the lot.
Water: I pay €35/40 every Quarter so, between €140 and €160 per year.
Transport: Like Evelieen I live close by hasselt and as I used to live there I am up and down to see friends regularly, a bus ticket costs €3 but if you pay on your mobile phone it is just €1.50 (valid all over Belgium for 1 hour)
I've a scooter to get around locally and the insurance costs are €100 per year, petrol is dear enough but my little scoot is very economical.

Generally the cost of living can be as high or as low as your budget dictates, I could easily live in a slightly smaller place or a little outside the town and save between €150 and €250 on my rental costs, but I like being in town and having a little space.

Oh, and I should mention the cost of mobile phone contracts.
I'm on base Check 25, which gives me 150 minutes of calls within Belgium, free SMS's (also within Belgium) and 2 GB of internet bandwidth, I also get free spotify premium which is fairly decent for the price (All in €25 per month)
I do have bills of around €40/€50 but that's due to me paying for roaming calls,texts and internet usage if I am out of the country

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