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Advice about living in Brussels

Question

My partner and I(plus 8month baby) will be moving to Brussels early next January and are therefore avidly researching the place and have been mining this site :)

We have two concerns which I hope some of you can offer your opinion on, unfortunately they are on negative aspects I'm afraid, but please don't take it the wrong way. These two questions are just sitting in our minds..

1) Are burglaries really a strong concern in Brussels- or is it a case of some people have a big experience with it , and others have none? What about saftey in travelling around the town centre also. (Sorry we are not sure where we will be staying as yet..Ixelles?).

2) Are there any scams or things we should particularly be wary of as newcomers? Whether just day to day things, or service concerns? We have both lived in Europe before and know its easy to be initially oblivious to this side so just thought to ask..

Obviously- thanks for your time and input if any!

From the archives

Well, I live Ixelles (the Trinite/Tenbosch part) with a young family and can assure you we find it neither dirty, crowded (?), nor particularly noisy. We like it a lot and I don't feel unsafe. But those things are all relative.

OP from your message it sounds like you are coming from North America. With regard to the safety of Brussels, I have had this discussion recently here with my colleagues who come from a variety of countries, and we concluded that Brussels is relatively safe (certainly compared to US cities) but that certain neighborhoods (around Midi, parts of Scharbeek, for ex) feel less secure than others, and that these "less secure" neighborhoods seem particularly rough in Brussels, compared to other EU cities. The point is, watch where you go as you would anywhere.

As for "scams" related to newcomers, service concerns: I've lived in a number of EU cities and don't find Brussels much different than any other. In fact, I find people here to be a bit more friendly and open to outsiders than in other places, perhaps just because they have gotten used to it. Certainly - if you don't speak French or Dutch - you won't have the language concerns you would have in some other non-English speaking EU cities. Coming from North America or the English speaking world, I guess you will find customer service a bit lacking. And the very limited opening times of shops and availability of services can be frustrating, especially if you work during business hours. You have to just take it as it comes and get used to it, I've realised.

But I'll say it again - all these things are relative, so impressions will depend on where you are coming from, and what your expectations are.

Sep 1, 2011 09:19