Search form

menu menu
  • Daily & Weekly newsletters
  • Buy & download The Bulletin
  • Comment on our articles

Move to Mons: Ads in Brussels encourage people to leave capital

15:24 02/09/2023

An ad campaign from the Walloon city of Mons is calling on Brussels residents to pack up and leave for greener pastures in the "Cité du Doudou".

With 400 posters displayed in the Belgian capital saying “Déménagez à Mons” (Move to Mons), the city is hoping to attract new residents, RTBF reports.

The posters are being put up around the city and on public transport, hoping to seduce Brussels residents with more than just a significantly cheaper rent or mortgage.

“We're a city with a lot to offer: culture, history, schools, leisure activities for families, sports clubs and creches,” said Shahiness Benabdelouhed, spokesperson for the City of Mons.

“The city is in the process of regeneration, and we thought of Brussels as a place to run this campaign in order to attract residents who might want to leave the capital. Having new residents goes hand in hand with [our] city’s good economic health.”

Many have already left: the Brussels region has seen a significant exodus over the past several years, with more than 44,000 residents moving to other parts of Belgium last year alone.

Many moved to neighbouring municipalities in Wallonia and Flemish Brabant, but they have also relocated to Hainaut province, including Charleroi and La Louvière. In the same period, however, more people moved from Mons to Brussels than the other way around.

“One of the hypotheses for this is that Mons is a university town,” explained Jean-Pierre Hermia, demographic expert for the Brussels Institute for Statistics and Analysis.

"As with Leuven and Ghent, for example, it's quite possible that after completing their studies in Mons, many people come to Brussels to enter the job market."

The Brussels region is most attractive to young adults who, as they get older, might end up leaving.

But in spite of this urban flight, the overall population of Brussels has risen sharply – adding a record 18,538 inhabitants by 2022. These new residents are primarily foreigners, including most recently an arrival of many Ukrainians following the Russian conflict.

The city of Mons had a total population of just 96,545 in 2022.

Written by Helen Lyons