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Up my street: The Bulletin’s neighbourhood guide to Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
Well-to-do Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (Sint-Pieters-Woluwe in Dutch) includes the Montgomery area of Brussels and stretches east to the border with Flanders. It’s a popular place to settle among the international community, who appreciate it for its green spaces, broad avenues, public transport and family-friendly atmosphere. Readers of The Bulletin told us what it’s like to live here.
“It’s a lovely neighbourhood, with good infrastructure and excellent service from the commune,” says Thomas from Austria. “It’s very green and safe; all in all a good place to live.” “It’s a good transport hub with buses and trams nearby,” says Rose from the UK, who’s lived here for almost 30 years. “But where we live on Rue du Bemel, it has become a highway, with buses and trucks passing through constantly, making it difficult even to get out of our garage in the morning; I have the impression that we have the Formula 1 racecourse just in front of our house! We are a stone’s throw away from Petillon metro, where there are plenty of facilities like flower shops, a Carrefour express, car wash and small grocery shops. And Stockel is great for Saturday shopping at the market.”
Mathieu from Belgium has lived here for 22 years and describes it as “a green and peaceful place, with a calm atmosphere suitable for families. It’s not very dynamic in terms of nightlife, though.” Woluwe-Saint-Pierre is “a small town inside a city”, according to Ashley from England. “It’s peaceful, safe, green and beautiful, though there’s not much variety for the young generation. The town hall staff are so helpful! I struggled a lot with Brussels City, and the difference here is remarkable.”
After 12 years here, US expat Diane is happy to call this part of town home. “It’s leafy, with family neighbourhoods, safe, and with everything you need. There are friendly people, good tram and metro connections, lots of nice shops, easy access to sports venues and good walking and biking trails,” she says. “I enjoy the activities at GC Kontakt, the Flemish community centre, such as dinners hosted by Our House, a community NGO that helps refugees integrate through food and other activities. And Kontakt is where our choir, the International Chorale of Brussels, rehearses – new members are always welcome! Kontakt has been very supportive of us and have got us involved in the La Monnaie community opera project Sounds of Longing.”
“This is a very green, relaxed, clean neighbourhood that’s close to the city centre, says Andras from Hungary. “But there aren’t so many restaurants and bars, and it’s expensive.” “There are some very nice parks to walk and run around, but not many options when it comes to public transportation,” according to one Portuguese resident who moved here from Ireland. However, “it’s got excellent public transport, excellent sports facilities and excellent French schools,” one resident told us. The town hall’s revamped website offers lots of information in English, and “it’s welcoming of those who cannot speak French; in fact, it would be hard to find an easier place for a non-French- or Dutch-speaker to deal with. Rental prices are high, but less high than people think.”
According to property website Immoweb, studios and small flats are widely available for between €600 and €750 per month, with lots of two-bedroom apartments rented for €1,100 a month and upwards. Large renovated three- and four-bedroom apartments with roof terraces or gardens can cost as much as €4,000 a month. Properties are more commonly available in large apartment blocks rather than in traditional townhouses. A small number of three- and four-bedroom houses are available to buy for less than €500,000, but many of them require renovation or modernisation. Anyone looking to spend upwards of €1.5 million can expect to find a villa with large garden and perhaps a swimming pool.
Metro stations Montgomery and Stockel on line 1 are at each end of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, with trams 39 and 44 running from west to east through the centre. Tram 8 and bus 36 also operate here, and metro line 5 is just outside its borders.
Bon-Bon, restaurant with two Michelin stars • Jules & Charles restaurant • Be Burger • Woluwe Park • Avenue de Tervuren and surroundings • W:hall live music venue • Tram Museum • Brasserie des Etangs Mellaerts • Stockel market on a Saturday • Restaurants and shops in Place Dumon and Place Sainte-Alix • Le Mucha restaurant: “great jazz evenings every couple of months” • Phénicien House Lebanese restaurant • The Chant d’Oiseau district • Chemin Vert walking trail • Parc des sources • Sportcity sports centre • Le Stockel cinema • Crousse community centre with English-language children’s library • Bibliotheca Wittockiana museum • Schievelavabo restaurant • Rob gourmet supermarket • Sasaki patisserie • L’Auberg’In French restaurant
- Clean and quiet
- Lots of parks
- Safe and welcoming
- Town hall easy to deal with
- Close to city centre and EU institutions
- Good public transport
- On the dull side with an older population
- Expensive property
- Not enough bars and nightlife
- Lots of traffic