Moving from UK to Belgium
21 August 2014
Belgium is a fascinating country. It's right next door to France, and has just as a culture that is every bit as rich. Belgium is perhaps best known for its cuisine – their chocolate, beer and waffles are some of the finest in the world. Not only that, it is where the EU's HQ is situated and where NATO is based. A politically rich country indeed.
It's a fine place to consider moving to, but potentially, there's an issue with that. It's one that needs to be kept in mind – the potential language barriers. Normally, when moving to a European company, I do recommend you learn the national language, so you can get on with business as usual. But in Belgium, there are three languages spoken in different areas; The Flanders' populous in the north speak Dutch, the Waloon population in the south speak French and there are small pockets of German speakers in the East. However, it doesn't stop there – Brussels is bi-lingual (both French and Dutch), so you'll have to get a grasp of both. What should you take away from this? Research where you're planning to move to, see what language they speak and learn it.
Aside from this, you can treat a move to Belgium like any continental move. You'll be moving within the EU, so as long as you have a UK passport, there's nothing to worry about. You do have to register for residence in Belgium though. So within the first week of your arrival, you'll have to visit your local town hall (maison communale) with your passport and birth certificates, just to confirm your arrival and fill out the necessary forms.
So how should you go about this move? Well, you'll have to get help with the transport of your goods. You can either hire an international mover, or a man with van service. An international mover will be more expensive, but more efficient due to the higher amount of staff at your disposal. A man with van firm will offer a more personal service, and at a lower cost but is perhaps a riskier choice. Whichever you choose, take steps to hire one with not only a competitive price point, but also a good reputation. Ask people you know for advice, and look at customer review web sites for guidance. Remember you're leaving your goods in their hands, it's only smart to make sure they are going to do the best job possible.
You've got to sort out your own journey as well. If you're going by car, pack lots of foods, arrange rest stops or even overnight hotel stays to make the trip less stressful. I would recommend you arrange a plane journey, or take the train. The Eurostar stops at Brussels as well as Paris, so it's a good option if it's available to you. If you're getting your car shipped over, just make sure you get it re-registered within six months of your arrival to avoid any troubles.
When moving to Belgium from the UK, keep these basics in mind. Don't let the idea of learning multiple languages put you off, it is well worth the move. If you want to get away from the hum drum English life, Belgium is one heck of an alternative. Not just for culinary connoisseurs, but for pretty much anyone.