Running a small UK business in Belgium

My wife and I run a floating pizzeria from our barge in the UK. We are interested in re-locating to Belgium and continue on the canals of the country.  Any information to help us would be greatly appreciated.


Interesting project. But you would come with everything?

Do you have a fully equipped houseboat? How are you going to cross the Channel? Or do you want to restart from scratch?

Let me ask a few questions to a friend who owns a river shuttle company in two big belgian cities. He will surely be able to assist you if you realize your project. And maybe interested in partnership...

Everyone can moor almost wherever they want. Mariners and penichards on vacation have great freedom of mooring. But it is necessary to differentiate the temporary parking from the definitive one.

Penichards wishing to settle down are subject to stricter legislation. They must have an authorization from the regional administration where the boat is located. In Wallonia, it is the Ministry of Equipment and Transport (MET).

According to the law, the prolonged parking of a boat (from 6 months) is considered an abusive occupation of the public domain. In order not to be prosecuted, you must pay an annual fee. These are very cheap in Belgium. They are related to parking contracts issued by waterways managers and vary by location. On the waterways of the East (Meuse, Canal Albert ...), the price is 0.937 € / m2 per year. On the Western waterways (Scheldt, Yser ...), the price is lower: 0.38 € / m2.

The public domain is inalienable, nobody can sell or buy a site. When a houseboat is on sale, the location is never included. After the purchase, there is a good chance that the new boat owner will have to find another dock.

There are many places where a houseboat can moor: the city or the countryside, the waters lined with private land (river branches, declassed tributaries), private waters (sandpit, old factory darses) ... It is possible to arrange the end of the bank where the houseboat lives with a fence, a small garden or a parking space for the car. Nevertheless, these developments are only tolerated by the administration which, at any time, can recover its ground without explanations or indemnities.

Depending on the mooring city, some requests are different: the fairing frequency, the minimum depression, the height of the railing, the approval or not of electrical and gas installations, the treatment or not of wastewater before rejection outside ...

As for the opening of a trade, it is governed by the same obligations as a normal trade on the mainland.

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