Brussels - Post Report Question and Answers

What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

That consuming nonstop cheese, dried sausage, Belgian beer, frites, and mayonnaise would add 25 pounds to my belly. - Feb 2023

It met our expectations. - Jan 2022

You need to learn French!! Also, restaurants do not function the same way they do in the States. It is considered rude for waiters to keep checking on your table, so if you need something you have to call them over. This is great as they don't rush you out, but not so great if you are in a rush. - Oct 2021

Bureaucracy. - Sep 2020

The long, dark winter days. I had been told it was rainy, but did not realise how dark it would be. In December, we only get 8 hours of daylight, and the sun doesn't rise until 8:45am! Luckily that means we have 16 hours of daylight in June, but it makes for really dark days in winter. I also wish I had been told how hard it would be to work locally here. Belgian labor laws are very difficult. - Sep 2020

I had lived in Germany before so I pretty much knew what to expect. - Mar 2020

How expensive everything is and how aggressive and rude some locals seem to be. The Flemish/Dutch Belgians are very nice so we tend to frequent the communes that are Flemish. - Feb 2019

Nothing. - Feb 2019

Mostly, the frustrations noted earlier. Not the best housing/poor infrastructure (e.g. Internet). Bad customer service, in general. Not "rude" like stereotypical French, but generally seems apathetic. Everything is closed on Sundays. Generally seem to have a poor work ethic. Belgians have a 38-hour work week and generally go home early one day/week and seem to use that as an excuse to say 'no' to things. How expensive it can be. Eating out and just grabbing in the store without checking prices first can empty your wallet pretty quickly. Those things can eat at you, especially if you didn't expect them coming in. But, realistically... First World Problems! - May 2018

It's not for no reason that there was a Politico article last year entitled "Belgium is a failed state". While that may be putting it a bit harshly, the bureaucracy goes way above and beyond what one would expect from Northern Europe, and the wheels of government turn very slowly and may not ever reach the intended destination. The number of different levels of government with different responsibilities is surprising even to Americans that are used to the federal/state divide. The "language war" has done a great job of fracturing the government institutions :( - Jan 2018

While this is Western Europe, there are still plenty of things that surprise me like the absolutely terrible customer service. - Apr 2014

The incredible lack of a customer service culture. Even Paris is better. - Jan 2014

I knew about the weather and darkness but a second challenge is the hours of stores. Things are closed at night and on Sundays making errands and shopping difficult if you work. - Jan 2014


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