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Belgium is 15th most expensive country

11:58 20/01/2015

Belgium is among the top 15 most expensive countries in the world, according to the Cost of Living Index 2015. The list of 119 countries was compiled by Numbeo, an online crowd-sourced global database, based on a comparison of the prices of daily essentials such as groceries, housing and transportation.  

The index shows that Switzerland is the most expensive country in which to live, followed by Norway and Venezuela. Iceland and Denmark complete the top five, and Belgium ranks 15th in the list.

The cost of living is lowest in a number of Asian and African countries, according to the index, with India, Nepal, Pakistan, Tunisia and Algeria listed as the world’s cheapest countries in which to live.

Written by Robyn Boyle



These sorts of surveys are pretty much useless unless they are tailored to personal circumstances. If you can manage a high salary and have no dependents, Belgium will eat you alive and few other countries, if any, will be as expensive.

Jan 20, 2015 13:08
Jose Luis

I die to know why shower gels or shampoos costs 3x more than in Germany. One of the biggest mysteries (not to mention why there are only small formats...)

Jan 20, 2015 13:41

Perhaps it would have been helpful to say that neighbouring countries UK, France and Luxembourg were all more expensive; The Netherlands in 16th place not much different but Germany considerably cheaper. Luxembourg marginally, but Germany and the Netherlands considerably cheaper for groceries etc. in other words, some analysis of the figures.

Jan 20, 2015 15:47

It's not just shampoo, my experience is that pretty much all countries in all directions are cheaper for most things. Dove men care antiperspirant in the UK I bought recently at 99P a can.

Exactly the same product in Delhaize? 3,20.

Jan 20, 2015 15:50

Regarding the shampoo and all toiletries I advice you to do what we do - once a month or two we travel to Aachen and by at DM - half the price then in Belgium

Jan 20, 2015 16:15

With perfect timing I open the girlfriends bills (in Belgium) to get them paid and apart from the energy bills that are seriously higher than the UK, there is the road tax for her little Fiesta. 282 Euro or about double what it would be in the UK.

Nah, I don't believe that report for a minute. Perhaps it would make more sense if I lived in central London and housing was taken in to account, but the idea that the UK is more expensive to live in than Belgium is simply not born out by my personal experience.

Jan 20, 2015 16:17

Indeed, we make trips to Germany twice a year and load up for the whole yea, specially in bio soap. What costs 4 euros here for 500ml, is about 3 times less in Germany.

Heck, my vacuum cleaner broke and this time i wanted to get a decent one. Finally found out one that was quiet, had great reviews in Germany.
Went to media market as that's where they had it in Germany, and even though in Germany it was 110 euros, buying it in Belgium would have costed me 180 euros. Same machine, just different price. Ended it up getting it from

Jan 20, 2015 21:36

several factors make belgium a very very expensive place to live:


Jan 21, 2015 22:13

several factors make belgium a very very expensive place to live:

1. the horrendous social burden what with the influx of dependent persons from the eastern block, war-torn & economically ravaged southern europe & hoardes from war-torn north-africa & the middle-east, the handouts hit the pocket hard;

2. unemployment is high (some sources show youth out of work at upwards of 30% in the brussels region, compare to USA worst at recession's peak at 10% and now 5+% and recovering)...

3. goods are off the chart due to crushing price controls & little availability (run from store to store to find a certain lightbulb or hardware piece) and the TVA (VAT) at 21% for most things (in comparison, NJ has 7.5% sales tax & both DE & OR have zero)...

4. wage controls & the rest make services (restaurants with 20% tim mandatory, home improvements off the chart, etc.)...

results: people flock to flea markets to buy items without the sales tax, engage cheap labor off the books to avoid huge fees & overcharges, rush across borders to buy in lower tax areas, & do without...

they live in a premium northern european country but deprive themselves of much living without many pleasantries only within reach of tourists...


Jan 21, 2015 22:24

@Patapoof - While you can be concern regarding the breakdown of immigration (non EU) and the movement of EU, I would not say it is "horrendous" or call a group of people "hoardes". Support systems can always be strengthen but the social burden you describe is made up of all types of people, let's not single out the migrants when actually is a small percentage. Unless you are trying to make an anti-migrant comment, and not just mentioning the burden on the social system, then I would suggest you present a different argument, as this one is not true.

Your other points, raise valid issues as Belgium has a small market that it over regulates and pushes a lot of things into the black. Trying to get household repairs legally done is very difficult, thus pushing people to seek alternatives. This causes a disruption to the markets, reduction for the state, and a vulnerability for the worker.

Jan 22, 2015 13:26

I live on a Greek island, with a very moderate salary compared to Belgian salaries and believe me, the cost of living is very high, so stop complaining, your salaries are still more or less matched to the cost of living, here in Greece it's all out of proportion, as an example: unemployment benefits are now 320 a month, try living on that ( average salary during the summer season is 720€/month so forget about saving for the winter months when everything closes down)

Jan 23, 2015 21:47

The only thing that's cheap in Belgium is housing, all the rest - food,clothing,electronics, insurancs,taxes are way more expensive than neighbouring countries.So take out housing cost out of the equasion and Belgium is very expensive

Jan 24, 2015 08:00