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I am in Belgium Leuven for some time now. I am an Indian. I find this community so about a lot of things. Well, now I just want to know about Dutch people. What is their behaviour towards foreigners especially Indians? I want to meet new people, explore the cultures stuff like that. I don't really have anyone. I am kind of depended on my husband who is Dutch. I am thinking to explore the city on my own. Are there any groups?I would prefer Dutch who like to welcome new people or would like to share their culture moreover happy to invite them to their life. I know language is a barrier. I am not really fluent in Dutch.Does being fluent in Dutch really help? How do Belgian have friends?Family friends? Colleague family?I feel generally people are busy with their own life. It's a bit of cultural shock as well. I have been intending to address this for quite some time. I am not sure whether this community has Dutch people.I would like to hear your thoughts on this. Thank You.


When I moved here 24 years ago I already had basic Dutch having worked for a Dutch company for 9 years before.
From day one, and even now, Dutch speakers are not interested in letting me improve my Dutch, they want to practice their English. Language will never be a barrier if you have good English. It's amazing the number of times my wife and I have found ourselves speaking Dutch to someone who insists on speaking English to us once they realise that we are English speakers.
However, the Flemish are very, very inward looking as far as friendships go. They seem to be only interested in their family and, perhaps, a very few close friends. None of my neighbours seem to have visitors other than immediate family and none of them have ever been in my home or invited us into theirs though we are otherwise friendly when we see each other.

Sep 15, 2017 22:29

I live here for more than ten years and I do not have many Belgian friends. What people say is you meet the Belgians mostly in the sports clubs. They love sports and many go to sports activities. You can meet a lot of English speakers in Brussels Childbirth Trust. I do not know if you have children but there were some people who does not have children there also. It is a lonely society, quite inward, like the previous responder said. You do not see people coming and visiting each other. They are polite and they do not want to disturb people but then they are quite lonely. Good luck,

Sep 16, 2017 14:17

I would suggest you attend Dutch classes for obvious reasons and also to become less dependent on your husband. Are you young or older? A lot of the younger Flemish people in Leuven speak very good English and they seem more open to befriending foreigners. If you are in the 40 and over crowd it may be a struggle trying to connect with people in your same age group only able to speak English. Just be prepare not to have tons of Flemish friends. That's very difficult to accomplish. If you are living in Leuven is will be mandatory for you to attend integration classes and that will include learning Dutch. Fluency in Dutch will open doors, but that won't guarantee tons of Flemish friends. What about your husband? He should be able to help you navigate through this in regards to friends and language. He should be helping you learn the language. Be patient and work on these things. Give yourself time to adjust to all of this. I find the natives extremely inward (Flemish). They are polite, but that doesn't mean they want a friendship with you. I know what you mean by a bit of a culture shock.

Sep 16, 2017 23:54

Hi the best way to make friends in any place is to find something that interest you and go and learn more maybe take a class, art cooking what ever get out and meet others, maybe even find a place to volunteer soup kitchen join a choir any thing. I personally lot find the Flemish are quite family oriented and whilst not unfriendly don't always see the need to engage for example with the people living next door. Taking a Dutch class you would meet other living close by but Leuven is a very happening university city and so I. Sure you will not struggle to find lots to do what ever your interest.

Sep 17, 2017 19:38