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Up my street: The Bulletin's neighbourhood guide to Auderghem

07:38 01/08/2018

Stretching from the ULB campus in the north to the southeastern border with Flanders, leafy Auderghem is popular with expat families seeking village-style living within reach of the city. We asked Bulletin readers to tell us what they enjoy about life in Auderghem, and what they’d change.

Ana from Portugal has lived here for 15 years, having previously lived in Portugal, the UK, Angola and Saudi Arabia. “Auderghem is a green haven, it’s my village in the city. I love it,” she says. “Neighbours still say good morning and good afternoon to each other. The parks are calm and beautifully cared for. On weekends there’s a real feeling of country living in the air, the parks are suddenly packed with people out strolling. It’s got all the amenities you might need and is right next door to Boitsfort and its Sunday market. Twice a month we have our own Jeu de Balle-style flea market under the viaduct. We have everything on our doorstep here, including metro and trams. The restaurants are great, and the town hall staff are very friendly and helpful.  I love Auderghem.” Are there any downsides to living here? “The viaduct is not pretty and its traffic can be heard sometimes, but it’s not overwhelming.”

A fellow expat from Greece also appreciates the calmness of the area – but would like there to be a little more going on to really make it the perfect spot to call home. They’ve lived in Auderghem for a year. “It’s calm, but there’s no social or neighbourhood life, so it’s very difficult for expats. There aren’t so many places to go out so it’s not really easy to meet locals and interact with them. But we do have good connections to the city, with the metro and bus number 34.”

Having moved to Auderghem from Leuven four years ago, one Italian expat calls it “a perfect place to live”, thanks to the metro access, proliferation of green spaces, lots of restaurants on Chaussée de Wavre and easy shopping. Another vote for the commune as a “village in the city” comes from a German expat who moved to the area from the UK a year ago. “It’s green, close to parks and the forest, and the staff at the town hall are very nice and efficient.”

John Moutsopoulos from Greece is also a fan. “It’s a nice place, with easy access to the city and close to all the facilities you need,” he says. “It’s a good area, close to where everything’s happening, and very safe. There are people at the town hall dealing only with expats and they’re very nice. The downside is there can be a lot of traffic.”

“The nice thing about Auderghem is it’s so green,” says Kristien Viaene, of Noa real estate agency. “It’s on the edge of the city, with small lakes and lots of greenery, making it a nice combination of space and easy access to the city. There are good connections within Brussels and outside, as you’re close to the E411 highway and Overijse. So it’s good for commuting outside the city, and there are trams, buses and the metro close at hand to travel within the city.”

However, she warns, it’s not a charming place with a nice shopping area: “It’s not like Ixelles where you walk around and there are a thousand shops and trendy restaurants. There are major roads like Boulevard du Souverain and Chaussée de Wavre, with heavy traffic going through. Those roads are handy, but it breaks up any charming aspect the area might have. You don’t go there for a walk in the evening and find a restaurant to drop into on your way, say.”

It’s an expensive area to live in, she adds, and the population is mixed. Lots of Belgian people live here, particularly older people, and there are plenty of younger expats with families, as it offers facilities like buses for the international schools and it’s close to the Japanese school. “There’s a lot of new construction going on here, like a lot of offices being converted into residential properties, though these are not always in a nice architectural style,” she explains. “Many old houses are for sale, but even though they need renovation they are still expensive. You can find an apartment in a six-storey building here, in a converted office, or in a large villa. There’s a good mix of properties with something for everybody, but it’s not for everybody’s budget.”

Favourite spots: Seny ParkThai Orchid restaurant • Local cultural centrethe public libraryRouge Cloître park and arts centre • Woluwe Park • La Soeur du Patron French restaurant • Schievelavabo brasserie • Promenade du Bergoje

Positives

  • Calm and quiet
  • Good transport to city centre and outside Brussels
  • Community feel

Negatives

  • Expensive property
  • Not a lot going on socially
  • Lots of traffic
Written by Sally Tipper