Moving to Brussels this summer

(34 Posts)
Angelasmith83 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:12:19

Morning everyone!

I'm new to mumsnet and the idea of living abroad! Hoping to find some other mums in Brussels and some much needed advice.

My husband is started a job at BSB in September, and my 4 year old will be going there too. My first question is about where to live. I currently live in Bristol so have been spoilt with the ability to walk or cycle anywhere I need. I would love to be able to do the school run on foot, bikes or public transport if I can. I also have a 1 year old in tow. I'm learning French, haven't started learning Flemish yet, but I plan to. I want to feel connected to the city so think I should avoid villages where I'm car dependant. Also, I'm concerned about feeling isolated so think a busier location might make more sense. We currently live in a small house, so I'm not desperate for a big house, the sort it seems we could get in a more rural location. We have a modest budget and are hoping for a 3 bed house or appt with a garden.

From looking at the map, can anyone tell me what they think the following areas to live, based on ease of the school run and stuff to do and the general feel of the area. I'm hoping to find a down to earth area where we can meet other young families.


Any where else I've missed that you think could be good?


OP’s posts: |
kelda Thu 28-Apr-16 10:15:58

Hi, I am also a fellow Bristolian living in Belgium. Have you heard of Brussels Childbirth Trust? They are a very supportive group of families with children. I will point some friends in the direction of this thread, they can help you more.

Angelasmith83 Thu 28-Apr-16 10:22:28

Thanks Kelda. I've heard of the bct, but not properly looked into it. Going to now. Thanks for flagging me up to you friends!

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Thu 28-Apr-16 10:54:34

There are 2 3 beds for rent in central tervuren now for rent in july. 1100 or 1200 euro.

I can tell you loads about bsb.

lifeisunjust Thu 28-Apr-16 12:18:26

Wsp auderghem wezembeek french.

Overijse tervuren dutch. Wouldnt recommend

kelda Thu 28-Apr-16 12:37:04

Realistically, as you looking at speaking flemish or french? Unless you are very good languages, it is better for you to concentrate on one new language, at least to begin with.

BoboChic Thu 28-Apr-16 12:41:48

I agree with Kelda: you need to choose one language of either French or Flemish and decide to make it your family's second language. Choose to live somewhere French-speaking, send your 1 year old to French nursery and your 4 year old to French extra-curricular activities etc.


lifeisunjust Thu 28-Apr-16 13:56:00

Sorry missed end of last sentence. Wouldnt recommend overijse.

If you want dutch stick to tervuren.
If you want french then wezembeek or wsp.

Angelasmith83 Thu 28-Apr-16 21:34:14

Thanks everyone. I think it needs to be a French area as we have a little bit of a head start. We'll be there for at least 2 years, hoping it will be much longer so want it to be a home rather than an extended holiday. I feel much more confident now that the search has been narrowed down a bit. I'd almost ruled out W-O as I didn't realise how well connected it was with public transport.

OP’s posts: |
Longtime Thu 28-Apr-16 22:50:05

If you want public transport, look along the 44 tram route. If you want walking distance it'll have to be Tervuren but then you said you wanted French and Tervuren is part of Flanders though so Flemish speaking. Mind you, there are so many Brits there that you can speak English pretty much anywhere there.

Longtime Thu 28-Apr-16 22:50:32

Also, we have Benelux mumsnetters facebook page - let me know if you want to join (send me a pm).

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 29-Apr-16 09:36:33

Hi, I'm also moving to Brussels in the summer with a 1 year old!

We're going to be offered accommodation with my husband's job but hoping to have a trip over to check out the areas before we choose one. I'd been looking into similar areas but we've got no idea if that's where the houses we'll be offered are!

Neither of us have actually been to Brussels before so looking forward to finding out what it's like!

n0ne Fri 29-Apr-16 10:00:07

I know it's kind of cheating but if you live in the Walloon (French) bits, you'll have to speak French, but if you live in a Flemish (Dutch) bit you'll have a high proportion of English-speakers so can get away with not speaking Dutch most of the time.

lifeisunjust Fri 29-Apr-16 10:31:03

Or in wezembeek or kraainem or wsp you can speak English as easy as you can in tervuren. About half of wsp is not belgian and most of that half speak English. In shops and ofgical buildings English is spoken in fact wsp is famous for the positive welcome by officialdom in English all publications now in English.

lifeisunjust Fri 29-Apr-16 10:37:50

The wallon area is too far to cycle or take public transport to tervuren. Brussels or facility Flanders ie kraainem and wezembeek which are bilingual with English all over are better choices.

amyboo Fri 29-Apr-16 11:58:38

I have two friends who teach at BSB and have young kids. They commute from Waterloo and I understand there are quite a few other BSB teachers in the area. Waterloo is FR speaking, with plenty of English speaking expats. You'd probably find plenty of people to socialise with as the BCT has quite an active group there. My friends used to live in Hoeilaart, which is in the Flemish region, but I know they had their kids in a FR speaking creche nearby (I think it was called Dumbo kids). Hoeilaart area is also nice, but quite expensive.....

amyboo Fri 29-Apr-16 14:04:58

Arg - totally misread your post. My friends are at ISB not BSB, so ignore what I said about Waterloo and Hoeilaart!

HildurOdegard Fri 29-Apr-16 14:10:08

I had a friend worked at BSB and chose to live in Tervuren as she figured it was easier to catch the tram in to town when she did want to go in rather than battle with the traffic to school.

Tbh you're better off living in a Flemish area if your French sucks.

lifeisunjust Fri 29-Apr-16 15:58:25

On public transport or cycling to Tervuren from WSP or Wezembeek, there is no need to battle with traffic. Wezembeek starts 1km from BSB, you can walk it in 10 minutes. Even driving from Stockel 6km away takes 12 minutes in rush hour and 10 minutes outside rush hour, the cars are mainly going the other way, but it's still not as enjoyable as cycling or tram. The tram to BSB is on its own rails so there is no waiting in traffic. It does even from Montgomery to Tervuren in 20 minutes, no matter what time of day.

If your French sucks, no difference in WSP or Wezembeek, due to the frequency of English. Same in Tervuren.

scaryteacher Fri 29-Apr-16 17:44:54

Tervuren, which comprises Moorsel, Vossem and Duisburg. Overijse is OK as well. English is widely spoken in Tervuren (even at the Gemeente), and given the amount of Brits here, that is not surprising.

There are a good selection of buses from Tervuren, plus the tram, and it's easy for BSB, and for access to the Ring, and the airport etc. Not hard to get into the centre of Brussels either.

I lived in Tervuren proper the first time round for 7 years, and we are now in Duisburg, but no longer have school run concerns as ds is at university.

Teaandbiscuits if you are coming over with HM Forces, you don't get a huge choice, just what they have on the books.

teaandbiscuitsforme Fri 29-Apr-16 18:54:13

Sounds promising scary confused Never done forces housing before so I have no idea what to expect!

Angelasmith83 Sat 30-Apr-16 21:30:43

Thanks everyone. Although my French does currently suck, I hope that won't be forever so am keen to live somewhere where I get the opportunity to improve! Although this is the scarier option it feels right for me. I'm just please to hear I have options outside of Tervuren in terms of managing the school run on public transport. Very excited about living somewhere with efficient trams! Longtime, I'll work out how to private message you as I'd love to join your group. Teaandbiscuitsforme, perhaps we could meet up when we've both settled in a bit? LIfeisunjust, thanks so much for all your helpful information. I feel much more clued up now. Once house hunting is all sorted, I'm sure I'll be back with some more questions! X

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Sun 01-May-16 13:44:27

This is a good Facebook group to join if you have children at BSB.

You can learn French and Dutch through the Parents' Association at BSB but I'd not expect any course to go quickly. There are several Adult education centres where you can also learn the 2 languages of the area for between 0 euro and 250 euro for an entire year, choice of day time and evening courses.

The military families I know leaving are all currently in Kortenberg, not the best location, little village compared to Brussels or even Tervuren, but unlike FCO kids who don't get the school bus paid, the MOD kids do get the school bus paid.

Babysgotthebends Wed 04-May-16 08:09:57

Hi Angela. Brussels is a fantastic place to live with young kids. Will PM you some more specific info but make sure you message Longtime to join the private fb group, it's so helpful.

scaryteacher Thu 05-May-16 00:26:00

Life it depends where the MoD have taken on housing. There are still many military families living in the 3080 postcode!

Who is the new principal at BSB now SW has gone? I am an ex BSB parent.

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