Brussels - Post Report Question and Answers

What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Huge European expat community. This is where all 27 EU countries meet to negotiate, so all EU nationalities represented here. Also, other expats, including Americans and the former-EU Brits are here. And many countries have three separate missions here, one to the EIU, one to NATO,a nd one to Belgium, so there are a lot of diplomats here. Morale seems quite good; this is a great place to be an expat. - Feb 2023

It's pretty big, since there are a gazillion diplomats in the city. For the most part, though, it's not tightly knit. We ended up with friends outside of our work community, some of whom were Belgian, and some of whom were long-term diplomats. - Jan 2022

The community is very large due to the three missions. USEU and the Embassy are on the same compound, while NATO is further away and tends to stick to themselves. Morale is good but because of the ease of life and travel in Brussels, this is not really a community-focused post. If you want to be involved you need to get involved. It is easy to miss out since everyone can do their own thing. - Oct 2021

Huge community between NATO and EU headquarters. - Sep 2020

Very large expat community, between the Trimission, military and corporate families. Many people love it here, but I feel that the spread out community makes it hard to feel connected, which can make it hard for some people. I think people expect life to be "easy" here because we are in Europe, but there can still be real challenges of daily life. - Sep 2020

It's huge. Brussels probably has the largest diplomatic community in the world. There are also lots of expats working in the private sector, many for pharmaceutical companies that have large campuses nearby. Most people I've met are very happy here. - Mar 2020

Huge and nobody really hangs out. With so much traveling to do everyone is always off on a trip somewhere. - Feb 2019

As you can imagine, the expat community is very large here. Morale is pretty much the same as it is in any large European city. That is, it is what you make it. There is literally no end of things to do, excursions to make, sights to see. Paris is an hour and 20 minutes by high-speed train. Amsterdam and London about two hours. Bonn is a two-and-a-half hour drive. Luxembourg is next door. In Belgium itself there are Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp, Liege, Dinant, Durbuy, monasteries and abbeys, many of them breweries, castles, etc. Furthermore, Brussels has oodles of events all year long. It is almost impossible to be bored. - Feb 2019

The expat community is huge (especially with the E.U. and NATO here, as well). Morale? It's fine. Not great, but OK. I think that often expectations of Brussels are too high. There really are some frustrating elements of living in Belgium that people don't expect. It's surprising how many people say "Oh, my God! You too?" when you complain about living here (poor customer service everywhere, less-than-driven local colleagues, laziness and entitlement, etc.). There isn't much to hate, but it's hard to love even if you really want to. - May 2018

Brussels is full of expats thanks to the EU. Morale varies a lot--some people love it here and some can't wait to leave. - Jan 2018

It's a large expat community and not cohesive at all. There is so much to do that outside of work people more or less do their own thing. - Feb 2017

Overall, morale seems to be quite high. Some folks at the NATO mission tend to be a bit more stressed, but it is due to the heavy workload and long hours. Brussels is an easy place to live and a good "hub" for traveling around Europe. There are MANY things to do. - Dec 2016

Very large and morale seems to be high for most of the people with whom we associate. There are some who complain about everything but I think they bring their own baggage with them. - Aug 2014

The expat community is HUGE. I think morale varies a great deal. For those who need more support, it's hard to find, as everyone is kind of doing their own thing. You have to really go out and be proactive if you want to meet people. But there are quite a few different American clubs and other English speaking clubs if you are inclined to do so. - Jul 2014

This is a tri-Mission (NATO, USEU and the bi-lat) so huge government expat community plus plenty of expats working for U.S. companies and others. - Apr 2014

Very large and and very international. Most people are pretty happy to be here, but the cloudy winters can get you down. - Jan 2014

Large expat community with high morale. - Jan 2014

Large - Oct 2012

Massive! - May 2012

This is a town full of expats given Brussels' position as the EU capital. - Jan 2012

Huge, too big. I sometimes think there are more expats than Belgians in Brussels. - Aug 2011

GI-NORMOUS. Absolutely immense. Larger even, it seems, than Hong Kong. With the Eu Parliament here, all the ancillary agencies and NGOs, the embassies to the EU, and the embassies to Belgium and NATO you are awash in expats. - Jul 2011

HUGE and widely spread out - Jun 2011

HUGE - Jun 2011

Large, very large. This is the capital of Europe, and the Belgians are often more "European" than Belgian. - Jun 2010

HUGE. - Jun 2010

HUGE - over 30,000 diplomats alone. - Mar 2010

One of the largest expat communities in the world. - Jul 2009


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