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Moving to Brussels

(34 Posts)
ToniKat Sat 11-Aug-18 21:30:08

I'm moving to Brussels in October and we are struggling to make a decision on housing. We want to enroll our son in a local nursery when he turns 2.5 but can't figure out how to locate them. I haven't had to look at this before and there do not seem to be many around. We are looking at Wezembeek-Oppem. I'm sure I'm just being an idiot but I'm hoping someone here can help me as I'm starting to get very stressed out. We need to choose a house but I want to be able to walk to a school. Or is a school 5km away from home going to limit the contact outside of school with other kids.
Please help!

Nlds Sat 11-Aug-18 21:49:50

Why wezembeek. This is not in Brussels.

What language for school.

Where is work.

ToniKat Sat 11-Aug-18 22:52:07

Hi Nids

We were looking at properties in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Kraainem and Wezembeek-Oppem. Our first choice property was in Kraainem but was unfortunately let before we could make an offer. Of the remaining properties, our favourite 2 are both in Wezembeek-Oppem. One is near Stockel and the other is near Tervuren. My husband will be working for NATO and is hoping to commute by bike, we have set a limit of 10km commute each way because of this. He will likely be starting work around 7am and finishing at 16:30 so we hope this will help on the occasions that he does have to drive.
We would like a garden as we have a very active 2 year old so this has limited the properties that we felt would work for us.
I would prefer to enroll him in a a French speaking school as we will only be in Brussels for a maximum of 6 years and I feel like this is the language that it would be easiest to continue his use of in the future. But if the only option is a Flemish school then we are still happy that he will have the opportunity to learn a second language. My husband speaks some French but I do not so I will also be taking lessons smile

PrincessMargaret Sat 11-Aug-18 23:05:08

Stockel all the way. Tevuren is especially cut off at the mo due to roadworks that have been going on for years.

PrincessMargaret Sat 11-Aug-18 23:07:59

At 2.5 he can start Maternelle in either French or Dutch schools. This is free.

Nlds Sat 11-Aug-18 23:33:49

Find a school place.
Next find somewhere to live.
Always best to do it this way round. Otherwise be prepared to have less ideal school place this school year and apply for next school year place immediately and move to ideal school if necessary.
All areas mentioned are french majority, do not consider dutch.
If you choose one of the 4 Kraainem and wezembeek schools, you only qualify if you live there, no residents restrictions for Brussels French schools.
Cross off tervuren or near it immediately.

Longtime Sun 12-Aug-18 00:29:36

Definitely Stockel. There’s a nice little square which has a cinema m, bars and restaurants, a market, shops etc but most importantly a direct metro into Brussels!

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 01:02:21

St georges and notre dame de la Trinite are 2 small schools in wezembeek but walking distance 1-1.5kmfrom wsp place dumon where stockel metro is. 2 most likely schools with places for 2.5 year old in school year called acceuil.

ToniKat Sun 12-Aug-18 09:43:09

One of the properties we like is very close to Our Lady of the Trinity. Our only concern is that the garden backs onto the R0. My husband noticed the noise immediately. I didn't but I grew up in a city so I think I'm slightly desensitised! We visited it during the day during school holidays so I'm not sure it was representative as to how noisy it will be at other times. It is a long garden but we do want to be able to sit out in it and relax whilst our son plays. The garden is fenced in so it's safe.

I like the house and it's a good location but with a 3 year lease, if the noise is unbearable it's a big issue!

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 10:30:48

Yes the noise is loud there and constant 24 hours a day.

Dont accept 3 year contracts, 9 year contracts are far better and easier to get put of.

There are heaps of 2 and 3 beds in this area under 1.5k. I d personally not live in a house backing on to r0, plus you are not in the best place for activities there. I d look at nearer to work in wsp or wsl.

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 10:33:10

Ps i suspect the reason the house is on 3 year contract is to make it difficult for tenants to leave when they find they cannot live with the noise

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 10:36:46

I would consider temporary housing and choosing carefully after moving.

Bbf have serviced flats at roodebeek metro, other serviced housing at Montgomery roundabout, others on av georges henri, others with home in Brussels at tomberg metro.

ToniKat Sun 12-Aug-18 11:22:15

Sorry, it is a 9 year contract but we know that there is no penalty for leaving after 3 years. We are looking for a 3-4 bedroom up to €2000 per month with a decent size garden. We looked at 12 houses on Monday and Tuesday and narrowed it down to 3. As I said, unfortunately our first chose was let. We do not want to move into temporary accommodation as we will have to pay for storage for our furniture and living in temporary accommodation is not ideal with an overactive 2 year old. We reviewed all of the properties on Immoweb that met our criteria and narrowed it down to the ones we viewed. We are hoping to grow our family during our stay in Brussels so are looking for a house that will work for our growing family.
A concern for not getting a property for when we move over is that we have been advised that the most properties come on in the summer and so we feel that we may end up holding out for a property that doesn't come on for months.

Thank you all for your advice, hopefully we will make a decision this week. smile

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 11:40:17

I d say unless you are very pleased with your choice, short term accommodation and choosing at leisure is the wiser option.

Nlds Sun 12-Aug-18 11:43:13

People move all time, properties come up all year, just more in summer and the peak time has passed which is rentals starting 1st August.

Nlds Mon 13-Aug-18 11:20:15

Here s a super house in super area, reckon you could get it for 1600 to 1700. Next street to sports centre and swimming pool. Joli bois school on same street with places and very international. Tram 39 on street. Forest 800m away.

www.immoweb.be/en/ad/house/for-rent/woluwe-saint-pierre/1150/id7670447

scaryteacher Mon 13-Aug-18 21:05:13

I would also look at Homeconsult www.home-consult.be/en

We've rented our last two from them. Tervuren isn't entirely cut off - I've managed to get out every day this week, and lots of NATO bods live out this way. I wouldn't bank on your dh managing to leave at 1630 each day unless he's watch keeping. Mine manages it very rarely, and is in the second of his three year contracts!

I've lived in and around Tervuren since 2006 and like it.

Agree with going for the 9 year contract. Belgian landlords aren't always known for their honesty, and what they say and what they do are different.

You could also look in Kortenberg, Everberg etc as many people bike into NATO from there.

Nlds Mon 13-Aug-18 22:05:12

Stockel in wsp is 6.5 km from nato and 40 minutes on public transport, though wsl is nearer and quicker.

Central Tervuren is 10km and 60 minutes on public transport.

Bear timings in mind.

midlandsprout Tue 14-Aug-18 07:59:03

Stockel and Wezembeek will allow you to consider French schooling for your child but if you live in Tervuren and want French you would need to travel into Brussels as the local schools are Dutch. Tervuren does have private options that offer English and some French - BSB and Montessori are the main ones - but they are expensive.
Stockel is a really nice area to live in with plenty going on in the newly refurbished square. As a PP said the area near Joli Bois round St Alix is very handy for public transport, shops and local schools. There is a really good park as well on Dames Blanches and houses to rent are not too expensive as mentioned above. Most will be sort of 'townhouse' in U.K. housing terminology but will have a garden.

ToniKat Tue 14-Aug-18 08:41:11

We did look at some properties in Sainte-Alix and yes they were townhouses. Interestingly, they were still a 9km cycle to NATO, which is only 1km less than the property we were looking at near Tervuren. I think we have settled on a property 1.4km away from Stockel as it is a nice size, good garden and all the bedrooms are on the same floor. It also has a couple of schools nearby.

Thank you all for your advice. We are looking forward to our move smile

Nlds Tue 14-Aug-18 09:30:30

Ste alix is not 9km,it is 7km to nato by bike. It might be 9km by car but bikes go a different way. Ste alix is a fab choice. Everything on your doorstep and immediate school places.

Nlds Tue 14-Aug-18 09:43:04

Be aware sainte Trinite area of wezembeek is also 500m from a Brussels airport flight path and planes lower there, on top of r0 noise, plus virtually no shops, no playground within 1km, no sports facilities. ste alix is same distance to nato, 1km from flight path and planes higher so noise is not so bad, sport centre and swimming pool, shops, cinema, 3 playgrounds within 500m, forest 800m. It s quite hard to beat stockel and sainte alix v sainte Trinite in wezembeek.

Longtime Tue 14-Aug-18 10:11:52

I may be too late as you seem to have already made up your mind but I live at the Brussels end of the e411. It is noisy but that’s not the worst thing. It’s the pollution! Think very carefully before renting a house too close to a motorway.

lifeisunjust Tue 14-Aug-18 11:13:57

Indeed I hadn't even thought of the fossil fuel pollution overall. Sainte Alix area has a lower pollution level, so does Stockel, simply due to not being so near to the R0 or E411, but Sainte Alix also because of the proximity of the forest.

From the perspective of noise and fossil fuel pollution, anywhere in Tervuren is actually going to be better than Notre Dame de la Trinite area of Wezembeek, the downside to Tervuren is it's a further 2.5-3km from NATO which is why I'd have crossed it off, simply due to getting more positives in Stockel/Sainte Alix and proximity.

Townhouses still have at least 2 bedrooms each floor, as you can only be occupying 2 at the moment, is it such a disadvantage if a 3rd or 4th bedroom is on another floor?

Appreciate you've probably made up your mind but I'm not sure if you've considered all the positives and negatives.

midlandsprout Tue 14-Aug-18 11:21:31

Hope the move goes well. The BCT - Brussels Childbirth Trust - is a good network to link into once you arrive as activities for younger children, local groups, events and also a source of information on all sorts of aspects of life in Brussels/ Belgium. www.bctbelgium.org

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