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Retirement in Belgium: An expat guide to living well and remaining active

14:10 09/11/2020
In association with the King Baudouin Foundation and the Federation of Notaries

Retirees – or “seniors” – are well catered for throughout Belgium, with wide-ranging social events and activities, and low-price or free access to cultural attractions, museums and exhibitions. Online links will open up senior citizens’ clubs and organisations covering cultural, social and sporting activities, travel groups, study courses, and social events all year round, designed to bring pensioners together.

Communes run dedicated services for senior citizens and often stage special activities. Contact your commune: for services and advice for seniors simply enter your commune name and the word “seniors” into your search engine. Commune services are usually listed under “Culture et Loisirs/Cultuur en Vrije Tijd”. For the Brussels region, check this site. For study courses, a starting point is: be.brussels/culture-tourism-leisure

Five good reasons to stay and retire in Belgium

  • A multicultural country and an excellent base for travel throughout Europe
  • Property prices
  • Healthcare
  • Quality of Life – social, cultural, parks, general standard of living
  • Favourable pension and investment taxation – but beware of the inheritance and tax laws

And four more...

  • Chocolates, beer, waffles, mussels!

Brussels – the first Belgian city to be recognised by the World Health Organisation as an “Age-Friendly” city – stages many senior cultural, social, sport and leisure events every week in various parts of the city. Many of these events take place in the city’s “S” (for Senior) spaces. In addition, the Brussels Seniors Service (Service D’Aide Aux Seniors Bruxellois - Dienst voor Hulp aan Brusselse Senioren) in cooperation with the Advisory Council for Seniors, has created the “Senior Friendly Label” which the city grants to social areas and services considered particularly suitable for seniors. The label goes to restaurants, cafes and hotels which “take into account the wishes of seniors”. The guide listing these places can be obtained through the Brussels Seniors Service.

Although not exclusively for senior citizens, InterNations links expatriates of all ages, listing events in cities all over Belgium, and hosting an expat forum for exchanging tips about living in Belgium and meeting others. The organisation describes itself as the largest global network for expatriates

Loneliness can be one product of older age, and can be particularly difficult for expatriates. Expat Club Brussels hosts events every week, including guided museum tours, lectures, full day trips and day and weekend excursions. Membership, which is free, is not required for most events.

This article appears in Golden years in Belgium: an expat guide to life after retirement, produced by the King Baudouin Foundation and the Federation of Notaries, available to download for free.

Written by The Bulletin with the King Baudouin Foundation and the Federation of Notaries