Moving to Antwerp

(30 Posts)
Dizzy08 Thu 01-Mar-18 21:02:14

Can anyone tell me anything about it? DH has been offered a job there and it looks likely we will be moving in three months time. We currently live in the north of the UK.

What are the best areas to live with an 18month old? I’m worried that we’ll have to live in an apartment with the (€1,500) budget we have and I’m really worried about not having outside space for my little boy.

I’m concerned it may take a long time to find work for me as I don’t speak Dutch and therefore I want to make sure where we live is nice and there is plenty to do.. but will also need to be close to one of the international preschools and ideally a gym with a pool as I’d like to at least work on my fitness while out of work!

The contract will be at least three years so we really want to get it right in terms of where we live, but I fear my DH isn’t being realistic wth ideas of living right in the centre so we can go out and socialize.. I swear sometimes he forgets we have a toddler and no family support out there for babysitting!!

Any help would be great! I’m quite overwhelmed by all the reading I’ve been doing, so some real life experiences would be really helpful.

(DHs job will be based in wilrijk)

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Thu 01-Mar-18 21:25:55

Awesome place.

Where exactly is work? That is the major fact to know before anyone can start suggesting where to live. It's Belgium's second biggest city and commuter towns surround.

Why do you need an international school? There are 4 of them but at the age of 18 months, absolutely go Dutch unless you're on a fixed contract of less than 2 year and will 99% be leaving again. Local and free in Dutch. As you say 3 years, go Dutch. Otherwise you'll
never really be able to appreciate your surroundings and your child's life will be quite limited by not being able to integrate into local life.

1.5k is a rather nice budget. A 3 or 4 bed house. Look on

Learn all the Antwerpen post codes to help look at housing.

Post again with work location, street name will help.

A few Antwerpen mums in this group.

lifeisunjust Thu 01-Mar-18 21:27:55

PS Wilrijk is very nice. I'd live there.

Dizzy08 Sat 03-Mar-18 17:46:49

DH will be working in Wilrijk. The company will pay 70% if the fees for the international school so that’s why I asked about them and I also thought it would be the easiest way to meet people in a similar situation to me but I haven’t ruled out local. My son won’t be able to start the international preschool till he’s nearly three anyway so for the first year we’re there I’ll need to find a local crèche anyway and then see what we think. I’m thinking about Berchem if we go for a central location but the budget might not be enough there.

OP’s posts: |
lifeisunjust Sat 03-Mar-18 19:50:00

70% still leaves you paying 7-8k per year for some of the schools, but I don't think any take children aged 18 months.

Public school starts 2.5 years from the day / term / half term after, depends on date of birth, sometimes you have to wait to age 3.

If you're not working, you won't need a creche.

There are only 4 private schools
Lycee Francais - centre of Antwerpen 2018 post code
Antwerp International school - a huge distance from Wilkrijk
Da Vinci - centre of Antwerpen 2000 post code
DYP International - in Aartselaar, used to be the British school of Antwerpen but bought out by an Indian chain of schools

DYP is the nearest to Wilrijk.

The area with most English speakers is Wilkrijk, Aatselaar area. It's due to the Jainist Indian population who now dominate the diamond trade in Antwerpen, have the biggest Jainist temple outside India.

There is a lovely public Flemish school in the old building of the old British school of Antwerpen, it also does after school English via ISF Active English.

If you're going to live in the inner city, this is the area I'd choose.

lifeisunjust Sat 03-Mar-18 19:53:33

A map with the 4 private schools.

lifeisunjust Sat 03-Mar-18 20:08:26

Other very nice looking public schools right in the centre.

De Brug

Vita et Pax (Life and Peace) - it's a method school


lifeisunjust Sat 03-Mar-18 21:03:09

Actually this is the one in the building of the old British School of Antwerpen, where the ISF Active English operates too.

Dizzy08 Sat 03-Mar-18 21:06:35

I appreciate your responses are trying to be helpful but why do you get to decide that while I am out of work my child will not benefit from going to a crèche?

Also I’m aware the fees for preschool when he is 3yrs old are 11k so we will pay around 3.5k a year for this. We’re only there for three years for definite but if it was extended for a year or so we would have all the school fees paid for by the employer so that isn’t a concern for us. As I say I haven’t decided what option for definite we will take, but my draw to the international school is because this will not be a permanent move. They will expect us to return to the uk or move onto another expat contract elsewhere in the world after the three year term.

Anyway as discussed this won’t even be an issue till he is three but I still need to consider it as we won’t have the option to move properties part way through the contract and I do want to find him a crèche as he is currently going to one here and it’s good for his development and I do hope to find work at some point and I don’t think it’ll be good to stop going for a year to then start it up again. Anyway if you disagree with my choices that’s fine but it is my choice. Thank you for your time anyway.

OP’s posts: |
cannotseeanend Sun 04-Mar-18 08:02:02

With that level of rudeness in response to helpful information, good luck.

With no priority for crèche places as not working and 2 years late in applying, good luck.

cannotseeanend Sun 04-Mar-18 08:03:07

And 1of the 4 international schools charges 25k for a 5 year old.

8SaltandVinegar Sun 04-Mar-18 08:07:15

How bloody rude are you OP?

You won't get far with that attitude!

Dizzy08 Sun 04-Mar-18 08:48:45

I’m rude? confused all I said was I didn’t think it was fair for the person to decide I don’t need a crèche for my son on my behalf.. you think they do?

OP’s posts: |
Dizzy08 Sun 04-Mar-18 08:56:28

Wow when did mumsnet just become a place of judgement and harsh comments... I’m glad I sought some advice elsewhere too! hmmsad I really thought I’d find some helpful mums here.. it’s not my choice to be out of work.. I’ll want to find work.. are you saying I shouldn’t or do you all just believe if I’m not at work I shouldn’t send him to a crèche.. I thought a crèche would help him integrate and pick up some of the language..

OP’s posts: |
Dizzy08 Sun 04-Mar-18 08:57:31

At 5 we wouldn’t be paying the fees cannotseeanend

OP’s posts: |
cannotseeanend Sun 04-Mar-18 09:05:00

You fail to understand you won't need crèche because without priority as you're not working and whilst others apply at 6 weeks pregnant, your chances are pretty much nil.

There are occasional crèches which you can book to coincide with training and language lessons.

As public school starts 2.5, you won't have long before care is free.

cannotseeanend Sun 04-Mar-18 09:09:10

You are also now contradicting yourself, having stated you dont want to integrate by sending him to school in English costing 11to 30k, now you are stating crèche for integration.

You really need to make your mind up. Links to public schools there if you want to integrate. Sign up for language courses and you might get a part time crèche place.

Rudeness is not needed here, this is not aibu.

mimibunz Sun 04-Mar-18 09:09:21

You found a very helpful mum, but you were rude to her!

Mrscaindingle Sun 04-Mar-18 09:16:08

As far as I can see lifeisunjust spent a lot of time finding helpful information for you for which you did not thank her and were very rude in your response.

And mumsnet has always been a place of judgements and harsh comments grin


Dizzy08 Sun 04-Mar-18 09:23:54

I absolutely did thank her actually

OP’s posts: |
Dizzy08 Sun 04-Mar-18 09:28:07

Do you know what I’m not doing this... i apologise to life is unjust. I’m finding the idea of uprooting my family very stressful and felt I was being judged for wanting my child to have social interaction with other children when I’m perfectly able to spend all my time with him if I’m not working. I’m frightened that if I don’t have somewhere for my son to go we’ll end up hermits stuck in the house.. I am grateful for help but terrified of judgement.. which is the same for a move to new country. I want my son to be outgoing and happy and not have hang ups like me..

OP’s posts: |
cannotseeanend Sun 04-Mar-18 09:47:57

Parks, playgrounds, parent and child groups. Given how rude you were, I don't expect anyone will want post links now.

My Dutch is not great, French for occasional crèche is halte gardenie, try find equivalent in Dutch.

midlandsprout Sun 04-Mar-18 13:24:20

People were trying to help and point out that the system is different as childcare below 2.5 is focused on working parents and access is difficult if you are not working. Interaction can come through lots of other settings for small children and Brussels has lots of options, I don't know much about Antwerp but people have tried to steer you in some useful directions.
If you are already this stressed then perhaps moving overseas is not a good option as you will face situations on an almost daily basis that you don't understand or can't work out but you have to try and sometimes you will get it right and sometimes you won't but it is all part of the process. Generally I have encountered much more help and indeed kindness than obstruction during my time here but it is not without its challenges.

Imarriedaniceman Sun 04-Mar-18 17:05:01


I don't think you were rude at all.

I lived in Belgium but only visited Antwerp a couple of times. Friends of ours lived there and liked it. I liked what I saw of it and would have preferred to live there rather than Brussels. Please pm me if you would like any more info on Belgium in general. For some reason the Belgian threads on here get rather heated!


amyboo Sun 04-Mar-18 20:47:29

I don't think you're rude at all. Childcare is just as accessible in Belgium for working and non-working parents. Very few people in Brussels manage to get places in public (subsidised) creches, but there are plenty of private ones and they don't cost a huge amount more (especially if you're used to UK childcare costs). I don't know Antwerp (I'm just outside Brussels), but have friends who have lived in the area and had no trouble finding a place in a private creche.

Belgium is a brilliant place to live, and Antwerp has a much nicer city centre than Brussels in my opinion.

P.s - Incase you didn't realise it, cannotseeanend and lifeisunjust are the same person...

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