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Babies in Brussels

(45 Posts)
SalM Sun 12-Jun-11 21:19:34

Hi all, wanted to say thanks for all your advice re houses / areas to live etc. My husband and I came to Brussels last week and settled on a house in La Hulpe. It seems like a lovely area and it will save hubby having to fight with too much traffic on his way to work in LLN. We should be moving in 1st Aug, I'm quite excited about the move now!

I now have a couple of other questions, I hope you dont mind. I've contacted several Maternelles in the area and have had a positive reply from 4 so I think we're coming back in a week or so to go and look at them all. Does anyone have any recommendations for Maternelles here? There ones we heard from are:
Ecole Communale "Les Colibris"
Ecole Fondamentale Libre Notre-Dame
Ecoline Rosieres
Ecole Communale de Maubroux - from the websites I like the look of this one.

As well as Maternelles, I need to start thinking about Creches. I will be having a baby in October and returning to work April / May next year so will need to start thinking about these as well. I did do a google search but havent come up with much. Anybody have any suggestions of places to look?

And my last question...So we'll be arriving in Brussels 1st Aug and baby due 4th Oct, which doesnt give me much time to get doctors / hospitals sorted etc. Anyway aside from that, I read somewhere that Mutuelle cover doesnt start until 6 months after you join, does this mean we'll be liable for the costs associated with giving birth? And if so, any idea how much are we talking about? We will have health insurance though hubbys job as well.

Sorry for all the questions! I have contacted BCT but wasn't able to proceed with registration until now as I didnt have a local address to give them.

Many thanks!!

natation Sun 12-Jun-11 21:34:34

Hope you will be happy in La Hulpe.
I personally would go with the nearest maternelle, one hopefully within walking distance. the first 2 on your list are very near to each other in la Hulpe village, the other 2 are in Genval, so surely it would depend on which village you are living in?

for creches, you need to use the ONE search engine.

1310 is the post code for la Hulpe
1332 is the post code for Genval (Rixensart)
so here is the full list of approved child care for the areas around the schools you listed.

natation Sun 12-Jun-11 21:37:46

6 months Mutuelle coverage I believe is for "complimentary" things like getting a brace fitted, not the "obligatory" things covered from day 1 such as giving birth. Don't quote me on it though. You will need however to bring the correct form with you from the UK to prove your NI contributions are up to date in order to register quickly with a mutuelle. You may miss out on the "prime de naissance" payment given when you give birh through the mutuelle, that may be counted as a "complimentary" service...

natation Mon 13-Jun-11 08:14:38

PS one extra thing about the schools on your list, the 2 schools in La Hulpe go from 2 1/2 to 12, so maternelle and primaire classes. The schools in Genval/Rosieres are maternelle only. You have the advantage of a smaller school, but the disadvantage of having to change schools for primaire - think ahead to the possibility of having to take one child to a maternelle and another to primaire, I'd check out how near the primaires are.

AlpinePony Mon 13-Jun-11 08:34:35

I always got on well with - they're based in Gent, so English-speaking.

natation Mon 13-Jun-11 09:18:15

We chose our Mutuelle based on proximity of walk-in office to process reimbursements, but in La Hulpe you will probably find your nearest offices are going to be Brussels, Waterloo or Wavre.

Mutuelles do vary a little. for example ours gives us €600 towards a dental brace, another will only give €350 reimbursement for the same brace. If you have a specific need for regluar reimbursement, worth checking out which mutuelle reimburses the most money.

Your children can start making you money too, once they start doing school residential trips and do holiday activities!!!! Our mutuelle Euromut is not so generous and we can only claim back €60 per child for these activities per year, whereas Mutualité Neutre allows €105 per child. We have 4 kids so this can make us quite alot of money back! Some Mutuelles also offer great value summer residential camps eg Mutualité Chrétienne whearas others offer money off other organisation's summer camps eg Partenamut.

Here's a list you can choose from. The English versions of the websites do not always contain all the information available in French and Dutch so do be careful.

Mutualité Neutre
Mutualité Socialiste
Mutualité Chrétienne

Longtime Mon 13-Jun-11 21:51:45

Our mutuelle (the last one on the list) has a waiting period of 120 working days prior to giving up work (if you worked full-time) for pregnancy. It does say, however, that the rules may be relaxed for certain situations. I'll e-mail them and see what they say...

SalM Wed 15-Jun-11 10:54:59

Thanks for all your messages, I believe the Mutuelle close to hubbys office that they recommend is Euromut so we're now in touch with them, though dont seem to be getting a straight answer from anyone about being covered for birth!

I'm in touch with a few schools and coming back next week to look at them all, it's all quite exciting!!

Longtime Thu 16-Jun-11 08:40:42

I've had a few e-mails from my mutuelle too SalM but am also having a difficult time getting a straight answer!

natation Thu 16-Jun-11 11:45:56

worth contacting the ladies who do the pre-natal classes at BCT to ask whether they know.

Longtime Fri 17-Jun-11 14:06:01

Mine have asked me to phone with more details so if you do need more advice, just let me know.

natation Sat 18-Jun-11 08:04:17

No firm information from BCT ante-natal teachers I'm afraid, just to ask your mutuelle. It doesn't help you much does it! Not when you are not yet in a mutuelle.

But as you say you are self-employed and will be in Belgium too, read this information.

BestImitationOfMyself Tue 21-Jun-11 18:42:32

Hi, sorry to crash but your thread jumped out at me. I found out less than a month ago that my husband and I are moving to Brussels in August and I have also just discovered that I am a few weeks pregnant with our first!

Excited but was already overwhelmed with organising the move, etc and now have to figure out how maternity care will work. Tried my doctor in UK today and told I wont be far enough on before we leave even to get to see a midwife (will be 11ish weeks). Due end of Feb, so got a bit of time and we will have medical insurance through husband's work.

I looked up BCT too and am keen to join once we have an address (hoping to sort this in early July). I don't quite follow the references to "your mutuelle", could someone possibly explain? Would love to chat to anyone who lives/will live in Brussels. So excited to find this forum, there seem to be a lot of you!

natation Tue 21-Jun-11 21:50:06

There is no NHS here, nearly all Belgians join a semi-public health insurer called a mutuelle, when coming from the UK, you arrive with form S1? showing your NI contributions so you can be eligible for mutuelle care immediately (EU and NATO fonctionnaires have own insurance, many expats choose private health insurance and never join a mutuelle).

You can join BCT can't you with a UK address? Or can you not?

Births are highly medicalised as a general rule here, if you are looking for a midwife approach or home birth, might take a bit of looking around, BCT contacts are invaluable here.

BestImitationOfMyself Wed 22-Jun-11 06:45:44

Thanks for your reply Natation, I was just worried in case we needed this in addition to our private insurance policy. Will look into joining BCT, I haven't tried yet but noticed SalM said she couldn't proceed without a local address. A medical approach sounds good to me, never liked the idea of home birth. Thank you, can't wait to get to Brussels smile

Longtime Wed 22-Jun-11 09:37:22

Let us know when you arrive Best!

natation Wed 22-Jun-11 18:18:22

A mutuelle for an employed person is very cheap and has many advantages, above covering basic health care. A typical private health insurance policy offered by a Belgian employer will refund costs not covered by basic mutuelle coverage eg overnight hospital stay, but I am guessing you have a completely private health insurance policy. We pay around 100 euro a year for 6 to our Mutuelle. The greatest plus of being in a Mutuelle for our family, aside health coverage, is that we make back over 200 euro per year for joining sports clubs, children doing holiday stages.

natation Wed 22-Jun-11 18:27:43

I just tried the BCT website, looks like it accepts a UK address, well it accepted one when I pressed the "send" button.

rushingrachel Tue 28-Jun-11 11:25:33

Hi Sal, BIOM, I have a baby of 4 months and a 3 year old tearaway, both born here.

I can't answer questions about mutuelle acceptance periods. I THOUGHT that for the basic cover there was no trial period but for the complementary cover there is (so you can't register and get the birth premium immediately). I'm not sure though what happens with maternity pay when you are self employed. Partena specialise in self employed people so you might get more help from them.

I am with Euromut and have found them very pleasant and helpful on the phone. They do have an English speaking line, never used it as my French is fine but still I know that they do.

I had a FAB experience with Dr Hutchings at St Luc with my second. My first was born in another hospital in Brussels and I didn't like it at all. PM me if you want more information, it's a personal choice.

I registered first child for the creche. I went to visit loads of them and chose a nice one with a garden etc. But then after about a week I took him out and got a nanny. Rows of highchairs and loads of children all screaming at once wasn't for me. I wanted my little boy to be able to profit from our lovely home and garden, be able to go out and about and do other activities etc. Again, personal choice.

On to schools after much agonising I have chosen to put my son into an international school although did have a Belgian school place. I don't know what the right decision is on that one as he hasn't started yet but my son is English speaking and seems very clever for a little one, but also quite lively. I thought a smaller environment would be nicer for him and hopefully allow him to get more teaching time. The class sizes in the school I had chosen were only 25, but 25 3 year olds with 2 adults looked to me a large number ... I struggle having 2 children in the house at times!! It's a hard thing to know what to do for the best and very personal.

BestImitationOfMyself Tue 28-Jun-11 20:29:41

Wow even more info, thank you smile

Right now we are focusing on our visit to Brussels next week to organise accommodation. Have managed to get an NHS midwife appt here before we go and booked an early private scan here in case there's a bit of a gap in getting registered when we move over. Also registered for an introductory meeting with BCT in September.

I feel like I'm seeing Immoweb in my sleep right now! I saw in another thread from a while ago that said we could probably knock 10% off the listed rental price. Is that still the case, and if so, what's the best strategy with the estate agents/landlords?

Once again thank you so much for all the advice, I hope to get a chance to meet some of you once we're there.

Longtime Thu 30-Jun-11 00:24:46

When are you coming Best? What areas are you looking at?

natation Thu 30-Jun-11 06:23:22

I am looking (increasingly) desperately for somewhere to live, I know nearly all the properties to rent in WSP, Kraainem, Wezembeek at the moment, if you need some help. The quality of agents varies tremendously here, they do not always tell the truth, often so keen to get your money they don't even talk to their clients - learned this several times over the past few month, so do be careful. And DO NOT sign a fixed contract of 3 years or less, unless it has the diplomatic clause inserted into it, it's a contract where you cannot give notice to leave and are liable for the rent for the whole period, landlords take enormous advantage of expats in this way to extort money from them.

natation Thu 30-Jun-11 06:26:08

And yes all rents are negotiable, you simply tell the estate agent or landlord directly. I knocked 15% off the rent on a house we tried to rent a few weeks back, then someone else stepped in and rented it, lucky things and very cheeky too, 200 euro off thanks to me!!!

BestImitationOfMyself Thu 30-Jun-11 06:30:44

Hi Longtime, we're coming next week, looking at apartments in Auderghem, Etterbeek, Woluwe St Lambert and Ixelles. Have found that immoweb isn't updated very regularly as a lot of replies come back saying it's already rented (and some just don't reply at all). Have tried both emailing and calling. Managed to line up quite a few appointments now, we have to choose one next week, but don't want to come across as desperate, as we're on a pretty tight budget (up to about 1000€ inc. building charges), so 10% would make a big difference and give us a bit extra to save for new baby. Any advice gratefully received!

BestImitationOfMyself Thu 30-Jun-11 06:36:21

Thanks Natation, we will be very careful of the contract, really appreciate the heads up about estate agents. One that I called up about a specific
property insisted on arranging a long appointment at their office to show us several properties rather than just the one I enquired about, seemed strange to me but figured we should just do it to see as many as possible.

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