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One more moving to Brussels :)

(463 Posts)
ShutterNutter Mon 13-Dec-10 21:51:14

Hi everyone! Found this site a few days ago and I see that some of you live in Belgium :-)

My husband has been transferred to Brussels for 3 years, which is great and we are looking to move early next year. We have 2 little girls 5 & 6 .
We have been in Brussels for 8 days now school & house hunting. I tell you it has not been easy. We just can't decide were to live. After looking at quite a few houses we have come down to two.

The first house we are deciding on is in Ixelles near all the shops, it has no garden (not even a little patch) and no parking which is a bit of a pain driving round and round trying to find one after a long day of work. On the plus side the house is near Tenbosch Park and another big play ground that I can easily walk the girls to, also all the restaurants and shops.

House number 2 is in Watermal-Boitsfort, it is bigger and newly renovated, plenty of parking but the nearest shop (which is 2 supermarkets) is 1.5km away. Not crazy far, but far enough not to make the area very exciting or have anything fun to walk to.
One of the things that appeal to me coming to Europe is the fact that you don't have to get into your car just to get milk. I really enjoy walking and was looking forward to be able to walk to the corner store to get milk or whatever. Also living in a quaint, pretty european style street is very appealing.
DH understandably wants it to be an easy commute to work (Auderghem) and back and to the girl's school (we are deciding between BEPS and ISB) and the Watermal house would certainly provide that. It also has a garden for the girls. The downside is that this house is just surrounded by big offices and buildings and some embassies.

So, after all that rambling ... having lived in Brussels for a while, would you go for the more lively location and walkable locations, but smaller house and no garden, or the bigger house with a garden but not very exciting surroundings but closer to work and schools?

I probably won't have car for the first 6 moths or so but will probably get one later. DH will have car and will be traveling quite a bit with his job. I'll be a stay-at-home mom.

Thanks for any input!!

Signed, indecisive Crazy Rambler ;-)

runningmad Mon 26-Aug-13 10:59:46

you can live in Kraainem and Wezembeek and usually prices are a little lower and you might still be nearer Brussels schools.
do not restrict yourself to just Kraainem and Wezembeek, look on budget, you can find bargains in WSP too or WSL.

Is it likely the points system might change? Who knows, but I think not in the next 2 years, it's certainly fairer than the 3 previous systems tried, with exception of facility French school children.

It is easy to get places in all the WSP schools, maybe Mater Dei and ND des Graces excepted, but only if you apply on time, which means from next week onwards.

Portofino Mon 26-Aug-13 13:08:34

When should I think about asking for 5eme places in Stockel schools? or Don Bosco?

runningmad Mon 26-Aug-13 13:22:20

now! Well from next week. You can at least ask them to tell you how many children they have in P4 now. Ecole communale de Stockel is supposed to be buiding 5 new classrooms, no idea if the current building work there is for that. If they did add them by next year, they could divide 2 X 25 chidren into 3 X 18ish and add on some more students if they are able to add that extra class.

Lucy012 Tue 27-Aug-13 13:52:55

Thanks for the advice!

cinanina Sun 22-Sep-13 17:38:15


This will be my first post in this forum. I would like to ask you if you have a suggestion for a good school to look at in Brussels, starting from this time of the year. My children would start in November, that is if there are any schools... I could see a number of schools mention a certain flexibility with the beggining of the school year, such as BISB, ISB or BSB ("as we are an international school, it is fairly common for a limited number of places to become available throughout the year as parents are called elsewhere for work, or return to their home countries. As a result, we accept applications at all times and aim to help all students arriving throughout the year"). However, I'm not sure exactly what to expect and do not wish to be over optimistic.

My children are bilingual English/French (and portuguese) and they are 4 and 9. My oldest child is of course my biggest concern since he is in 4th grade. I wouldn't mind to keep my daughter at home for some months, if needed, although we are looking for a school for the both of them. My son I think would probably adjust slightly better to a bilingual or english school. He went to Lycée français before for 2 years and I could see he struggled a bit with french and he seems to be more at ease with english.
But I don't mind public or private or cost just as long as the school is good. At this time of the year, I wouldn't be too specific as to what is good...

Thank you for any advice.

runningmad Sun 22-Sep-13 18:03:02

Only Lycée Francais and BSB have bilingual programmes which last from 3/4 to 18 years old. LF is French outside class time and BSB is English outside class time, so a child without French doing bilingual at BSB is not likely to reach full fluency for several years if all the exposure they get to French is at school and a child without English doing bilingual at LF is not likely to reach fluency in English if there is only exposure to English in class time.

LF is very difficult to get places at. Maternelle is about 2km from primaire and both are in Uccle, so your children, if you were lucky enough to get 2 places there, would be in different school buildings. It's about 5k per year there. BSB is in Tervuren which is outside Brussels. It's between 20k and 30k there. Both schools are inspected and you can read their inspection reports. Both very different. BSB usually has places, but not in the bilingual programme - depending on date of birth, your 4 year old might not be old enough for bilingual class there until next September but the class before has plenty of space and is superb. You're far more likely to get places at BSB than LF. Ultimately, work location might lead you to prefer one over the other.

The other schools which offer French and English are International Montessori, Acacia, BICS, out of those. Acacia gets good reviews, as does International Montessori, although not necessarily for the level of French. These schools always have places, so long as you have the money to pay.

There are no public school which do English in Brussels. There is one in Wavre called Le Verseau which does 4/5 hours of English per week, but you pay top-up fees of 4-5k, despite it being a public school. It's quite a way out of Brussels and exceptionally popular in maternelle and primaire and as likely to have places as LF so not likely.

cinanina Sun 22-Sep-13 18:24:13

Thank you so much! You don't know how much of a burden you took off from me because I was really affraid I wouldn't find a place for the children. I guess because the public system is very good then the private system still may have some places, we'll just have to look around a bit more.
Work location is not such of a criteria because they will be relocating so for the moment it's Schuman but then I risk being somewhere entirely different in some time. I will have a look at BSB and BISB maybe, to start with.

runningmad Sun 22-Sep-13 18:29:42

LF is not very good for Schuman.

BISB does not do French and only goes up to 11 years old, most children transfer to BSB for Year 7 or relocate.

The public and private systems are completely different. The private system is mainly non Belgians who don't pay their own school fees - the exception being LF which is cheap enough people tend to pay their own fees but still has few Belgians attending, mainly French and other nationalities who have gone to LF elsewhere in the world. The public system is mainly Belgians and non Belgians who prefer to integrate / don't get private school fees paid.

cinanina Sun 22-Sep-13 18:43:28

The good thing I would see in BISB is the more familiar atmosphere maybe and perhaps we could find a house in the same neighbourhood. I guess it will also depend on who has a place. In our case the school fees are payed so that's alright. BSB seems to be an excellent school.

gastrognome Thu 26-Sep-13 21:16:39

BISB does an hour of French a day from Reception upwards.

gastrognome Thu 26-Sep-13 21:21:29

Sorry hit post too soon.
But not fully bilingual curriculum obviously.
Nonetheless, we have found the amount of French sufficient to keep our bilingual child progressing well in both languages.

Maymay2009 Sun 27-Apr-14 15:46:38

hello everybody!! Any information about school parc shuman in woluwe saint Lambert??? Ecole princesse paola ,?? Ecole du bonheur .thanks

littlemissl00py Mon 13-Oct-14 22:25:41

Hello, another newbie to Brussels!
I have just found out that I got the job which will take me and my two children to Brussels in January 2015. They are 2&1/2 and 4&1/2.
I am slightly panicky about finding them a school place after reading many of the previous posts. I will be working near Gare d'Etterbeek and as many before me, had assumed living in Ixelles would be best. Given that I only have 3 months to find a school any advice or direction to past posts would be very gratefully received. I am a single English speaking mum but the girls are familiar with French as this is the language their dad speaks to them in (mostly). Many thanks in advance!!

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