Why is it so hard to make friends in Belgium?
I have been living for 4 months now in Brussels - and all my friends are foreigners!!! Why is it so hard to make Belgian friends? Sometimes I get the impression that they prefer to stay amongst themselves. This is not really what I expected when I came here.
07 Jun 2007, 12:03 Chris
yeah its hard to make friends here im living i holland den haag its only 4 hours to belgium ive been here for one year and i only have foreigners friends from my own counry in south america .chela 19 Sep 2007, 04:35 - Report
I am in Bel. since 2002 and i have experienced all kind of negative reactions from Belgians. I cannot name one single flemish or wallon friend, only foreigners.I learned Dutch, but that diddn`t change anything.
gabriela 22 Feb 2008, 02:02 - Report
Hi, most of my friends are foreigners, I live Ghent and mostly met them at foreign clubs/shops or at courses, or amongst neighbours. I don't use to go out anymore but most of them still gladly visit me and vice versa. I think it has made me rich, learning other values, food, music... in short, culture. Wish you succes, however maybe age makes difference, and so one generation might be less interested than the other. Plus nowadays many are hiding behind their PC screen... difficult!helga 07 Apr 2008, 10:31 - Report
I live in Gent and I must say that it's true that it's difficult to meet people. But you can always try to follow some course, take a dancing class or something similar. I'm sure you will meet people soon.
Of course, it does help if you speak Flemish or FrenchEvelien 17 Apr 2008, 03:00 - Report
I have a Chinese girlfriend living in the UK and we're planning for living together. And when she was here and we were joining some social activities, this isolated treatment was not the case.karel 22 Apr 2008, 08:51 - Report
I am 100% native and i want to make foreign friends. I think what you experience it rather normal because Belgians usually network through hobbys and sports and are participating in a wide range of clubs from music clubs to book clubs and other sorts of hobby clubs. They have their own life with a strong family life so they dont need really foreigners. I used to life for four years abroad in Hungary and i experience just the same, foreigners have time because they are usually without any family or hobby obligations in their host country.
Anyway i just misssssssss very much the foreign international life so i am happy to go with any foreigner for a drink in Brussels,
Bart (a typical belgian name by the way)contact me on [email removed]Bart Van Costenoble 28 May 2008, 08:38 - Report
si alguien juega al pro evolution, 2008 i vive en antwerpentete 04 Jun 2008, 11:35 - Report
I'm from South Africa and have dropped my whole life and moved here with my partner who got a job here. I don't know anyone yet and would like to make some friends. I'm going to start a Dutch course soon but am exploring all options so if anyone is nearby and would like to go for a drink drop me a mail at [email removed].
So far I've observed that some locals are not open to public greetings and informal chit-chat like South Africans. Some seem to think it is okay to stare at you without smiling or greeting which I find a little scary.Margie 25 Aug 2008, 11:10 - Report
I am possibly moving to Belgium start of next year and now I am almost scared off by the comments! Has anyone found it difficult to get a job?? If Belgians are not a particularly friendly bunch, does that mean they are hesitant to hire foreigners? Especially those who dont speak flemish/french?K 11 Sep 2008, 01:54 - Report
Hi, Its true that Belgians are not very open to new people, but don't worry this has nothing to do with racist issues, they are really closed even to new Belgian people. What I mean by this is that is your are at a party for exaple, they will stick to the group of people they know, and not be willing to talk to people they've never seen before.
However, there is something good....with time and in a common environment (courses, sports, etc) it is possible to develop a nice friendship, and these friends there will be not many but they will be the best your can find.
I live one year and 3 months here. I studied a master degree (just finished in July) and I got on well with all my classmates, but specially I met my 3 best friends.
Regarding the "job" question, it is true that it will be difficult. My Belgian classmates got a job after sending 4 to 5 application letters, but it took me more than 25 applications to find a job, specially because I don't speak the french and my dutch is still pretty basic. But there are companies where foreigners are accepted. At the end I had 2 job offers to choose from, and now I'm happily working with an indefinite contract.
good luckLizeth 22 Sep 2008, 04:43 - Report
which railway station is nearest to port of ghent,and how can i go to brussel midi from port of ghent,by bus?by train or sth else?pls helpfirejokers 12 Oct 2008, 01:57 - Report
i am from NJ and have been living in Brussels for a year now. It is hard for me to make friends cause I am a stay at home mom with two young children. If anyone is in the same situation as me and would like to get together, please let me know.Serena 24 Oct 2008, 12:08 - Report
hope your doing well.i need a female friend who can look after me.am happy because am sure i have to get one in your country.Bogere Moses 18 Nov 2008, 01:35 - Report
Hi all,my name is Jose.I´m working in the European Parliament and I love to meet nice people who speak good english(especially girls of course)Honestly I don´t have any problem to meet people because in the European Parliament is very easy to find friends but I´m always open to meet new people.
Best regards Jose.My e-mail address is [email removed]Jose M. G. Margallo 25 Nov 2008, 05:46 - Report
I am here for nearly a year, and do not have any friend except other foreigners. Well, you wanted to find the reasons... I may add some reason for discussion .. and I welcome other to adjust my comment.. just feel free....
1. Belgium is one of the most over estimated countries... like price and status; it creates pressure of people's social life.
2. People themselves are not feeling secured and happy! They, themselves are always talking about breaking this tiny countries into parts.
3. For over estimation, social, and for mistrust political instability is huge. There is no formal operation government in the country for long! It would happen in a country where people are not paid by government, the scenario reminds me Somalia now (if you watch news..), ( Being in Somalia, do you expect friends?! )
4. Enormous and long lasting mistrust even on one part to another, embedded the social feeling, not to trust, welcome friends!
(I welcome, please correct me, if you have good reason to do so...)Chayon 26 Nov 2008, 01:39 - Report
my address is
hodo9090 (AT the RaYe) yahoo (dot) com.Chayon 26 Nov 2008, 01:40 - Report
Hello..nice to meet you my name is Luigi, Italian nationality and I live here in Antwerp since 2006, well about your questions, I think it's depend who will be your employeer because some international company are really not interest to know you are French or Flemish speaker..the important is you must spoke English!
About the rest of the employers I think they will not give the job if you dont speak flemish espcially over here in Antwerpen.
About friends is true ...forget about Belgian they dont need foreign friends they are leaving on their own!!.
In two years that I leave over here I just know some expa as me ...that all!!
by the way my email is [email removed]
Have a good luck!!Luigi 26 Nov 2008, 05:55 - Report
I found quiet interesting all your opinion, but I have few questions for you;
- What you mean when you said that Belgium it's one of the ‘over estimate’ country in Europe?...bear on mind that Belgium is one of the richest country in Europe and not the other way round. Are you agreeing with me?
- About your second question is partially true.
Belgian people are unhappy and insecure, I feel on the same why as you.
People are not very interesting regarding the Belgian separation.
Is just a political matter for the Election of the new government! With the promises of less tax, more jobs etc.
Politicians are the only one who always spoke about Belgian separation.. see as well Vlaamse Belang.!
- Regarding to compare Belgium with Somalia is a bit excessive!
About the Main Questions friends in Belgium .. is true!
Over here, is very difficulty meet person and have a friends, it’s even worse when you are trying to get in deeper with them or even… just have 5 minutes conversation!
Generally this kind of ‘practice’ it’s just end up before to start with few syllable
‘see uoo’ but this is due of the winter clime that force people to keep their mouth shut!
And please forget about to meet the same person two times in a row..is just impossible!
But is Ok! …that is Belgium!
Even here finally is coming the Italian fashion so everything come from Italy is absolutely design and expensive!
Most of Belgian people fellow Italian class to learn this fantastic language with agreement from the Vlaamse Belang!
But many of them maybe they forget how many Italians people died while working on Belgium Mine and if you ask about that Belgium was occupied first by the Roman Emperor, they don’t even know who Julius Ceasar is!
But Flanders they are still looking for their identity???..
Anyhow I think they should be tells thanks to all of US to bring here culture, food, colour, etc etc to this grey and empty country!Nickname 26 Nov 2008, 07:21 - Report
I had just arrive last saturday here in belguim and Im New to this Place. I really hope to meet some Friends in this site doesnt matter If you are a foreigner or not.
Best regards. heres my e-mail add
[email removed]princess 29 Nov 2008, 03:19 - Report
Im really surprised with all that I had read in this web site. Im mexican, my boyfriend is Belgian, now I had visit Belgium two times and my impression of the people there is very diferent. Of course I was introduce with all his friends as his girlfriend and I can understand that this help, but I can say in this moment that the persons whom I had meet in Belgium are very nice, even the girls in the shop or in the bakery, butcher's shop, drugstore, everyone very opened, friendly etc. I think that in the relationship there some rules:
1.- Talking about interaction we must to think that there are two or more persons, the important is: what is your attitude in front of new pesons?? As you think that yourself as the people can see.
2.- Never have general ideas about persons. Around the world, Mexico, Belgica, Estados Unidos, wherever!! There good, bad, stupids, opended, extrovert, introverted, enterteining, bored people!! Someones with a different tastes than others. These are not exclusive characteristics of the persons just because belonging to certain country.
3.- The lenguage could a problem. Absolutly. But think about it. If you are thinking to make a life in a country diferent, dont think that the minimun thing that you must to do is learn the lenguage??? Not because the beligians dont want to talk with me if I dont speak vlaams or frech, but because of me!!!
4.- Culture. Everycountry has a culture. How is possible dont think in culture in a country that have centuries of history!! Por Dios! Just give a view in the big and beautifuls cathedrals, the small houses, the paved streets, the beautiful paintings, the whole sacred art!!
5.- Grey and empty. I had seen amazing landscapes and big speces to feel to myself free and with possibility to grown up. Perfect convination between natura and modern life.
I think that everybody can have diferent opinions about the things that have and recieve in the life, that depends of the experience of life, where you come from and what you are looking for. But in my case Im completly in love of my belgian guy and start to fall in love of his beautiful contry and his people.
PD. Im still loyal to my Mexico querido, lleno de colores, fiesta y calor humano.Diana Mendez 09 Dec 2008, 08:18 - Report
Hurray for Diana!
I am belgian and i am really surprised about all the things i read here... Everyone is entitled to his own opinion of course, but we are not that bad, i can tell you that. I'm not going to try to convince you all, but you're all being to hard on us. We do like contact, but it takes a bit more time (and i don't like refer to belgians as 'we' as in 'my people', because everyone's different like diana says, you shouldn't put people into boxes). I do wish you all a lot of friends, because i have a lot of them and they make life worth while.
xsofie 09 Dec 2008, 04:51 - Report
I have just moved from Wales, UK to Brussels, I have been here for about 4 weeks now, I would like to meet some new friends during my stay here. I have found that it is quite difficult to make friends here, what with the language barrier but I think that is more my part than anything. People that I have met have either been through work or just sitting down by a table and meeting non-Belgian people. I would like to meet either Belgians or anyone that is wanting to go out for drinks or just have a good time or even a good old fashioned coffee. I work a 'normal' job 9-5. Me myself, male 23. In a relationship. So looking just to make friends. I have discovered most of Brussels in my 4 weeks (lets face it, that's not hard to do) So if anyone would like to meet or have a new friend in the area. Just drop me a line
[email removed]Marc 21 Dec 2008, 05:26 - Report
hi i am rana looking for girl freind here in brussel u can call me 0484631785fateh 30 Dec 2008, 06:29 - Report
hi i'm ivan from argentina and i'm locking for friends , i wanna learn french , i can teach you spanish and italian , we can mix languages =P
i hope you people!! good bye
this is my e-mail :
[email removed]ivan 04 Jan 2009, 03:03 - Report
Since 20 years in Belgium, I would say that there is little chance to make friends (apart among other foreigners), even if you speak 3 national languages and have a fine job.
Around the big cities a lot of rich people live who stick to their peer-groups and are not interested to welcome newcomers (unless you pay a high fee to enter their clubs).
Many Belgian people live in the country-side and have a lot of travelling to do to reach their workplaces; there is almost no time for friends. They are very family-based. Competition at work is considerable and it is certainly hard to develop friendships at your workplace (unless inside EU-offices).
Living-conditions in Belgium are very over-estimated; this means many middle class people frequently live in a rather poor environment and do not want to show their interior. It is common to meet in restaurants - this is, however, more and more expensive and people who feel the social pressure to pay for friends, are not willing to spend a lot of money on friends. It is unusual to ask for separate bills in a restaurant.
Belgian people have a "brick" in their stomach; this means that they only live for "my home is my castle". They like to build houses, even if they cannot afford modern service installations, central heating and furniture. There is a real lack of "apartments" and middle-class accommodation to hire. In Belgium, in particular in the big cities, people are "very rich" and even more people are really poor, with little chance for middle-class to gain in prosperity.
Probably living in the countryside - and not in the big cities - opens up for nicer contacts with people.
Apart from "Dance", "Cinema" and "Jazz"-Ralley - theatre, opera + literary culture is not really developed at the base and open to everybody. There are 3 national languages and cultural development in small countries as Belgium does not really create identity and social contacts, it rather segregates and the top events are imports from other countries.
If you do not make part of the rich, this is no place to go.
Unless you are a very talented cook and you have sufficient seduction potential to make people come to your place. (But competition is very hard). People love excellent kitchen.filet americaine 08 Jan 2009, 02:41 - Report
My husband works for a Belgium company here in the US and is contemplating a job in their kortrijk office. Any suggestions on areas to look into and schools would be appreciated. I am a stay at home mom with a 6 year old and 2 year old. We would probably enjoy living in the country more than the city as we also have 2 dogs that will need exercise. I'm also open to getting to know other mom's.
[email removed]Heather 09 Jan 2009, 11:05 - Report
Hy my name is Catalino and yes the girls from brusells are very cold ,i hope someday i can fiind a normal girl,i have 2 months here and i am trying to learn french if any girl wants to give me a hand [email removed]Katalino 31 Jan 2009, 11:59 - Report
I'm agree with "filet americaine" about what you said is absolutly true! but I'm not agree with Diana Mendez please come over and live in Belgium and then you see!
About the paved street they are adjusted this street every month!
they are not even good to repair it once for all!nickname 05 Feb 2009, 12:05 - Report
Belgium Is Good you just have to find the right things at the right place.It will be too naive if you think everyone is just waiting for you at the street corner to be your friend you are greatly mistaking. people are friendly in here and busy as well the really do not have all their time to find friendship. As I say you just need time and right timing as well to have a lot of friends.
Here is my any kind of reaction or different opinion is welcome.DakBangla 07 Feb 2009, 06:58 - Report
Finally after three years leaving here in Belgium (Flemish Side) I give up!! Indeed is hard to get 'IN' that all.
I mean it's even hard to have a small chit-chat with people around! You (Belgian) are really I would say without..... I really don't know what!? you just miss something around!! That is my personal feeling!
So I'm happy to move back to my country.
But please 'Belgians' say thanks to the Expat People that they are bring something in this Black/Grey Country!Jimmy 17 Feb 2009, 12:02 - Report
...with Flat People!!
Stay away from Belgium!Goran 17 Feb 2009, 12:06 - Report
I'm Belgian and many of my friends are foreigners. But it's true it's not the case for all Belgians. You have to understand people in Belgium are mostly very shy and make friends not on street, but though work or hobbies. It really takes a while and some effort to make Belgians trust people they don't know. But really, they're not so bad... Anyway, welcome and good luck!An 17 Feb 2009, 04:29 - Report
Hey! I'm a flemish girl and i'm doing an exchange in New Zealand for 1 year. You've all probably heard of this programme before. What I experienced is that they're usually not friendly to foreigners in other countries. I mean that you always have to put a lot of effort in it. It was really hard for me to make friends here but after 7 months I have some real good friends ! (: so don't get sad if it doesn't go fast, just keep on tryin. that's my advice. I think in Belgium it depends where you go. If you're in the big cities people ll be less friendly to foreigners. they re even not friendly to a real belgian, like me. the town where I come from is way different. we have exchange students every year and they always go home happy and with lots and lots of friends. (exchange students from all around the world) I really hope that you all didn't start dislike Belgium because it's such a wonderful country. And that my advice gave you more strength to keep holding on.Stefanie, belgian in New Zealand 18 Feb 2009, 05:13 - Report
I totally agree with filet americaine (I live in Belgium since 2004).
I would like to add that "mediocrity" is the word to use.
People are too attached to material things without valuing education, culture or just the idea of being open-minded.
There is a lot of conformism in the classic Belgian mentality and no room for intellectual activities or even "subversive ideas" at all; if you think out of the box, then you're considered even as an aggressive individual, dangerous for the community (maybe I am exaggerating now).
This has nothing to do with being poor or rich but when you come from a certain environment, a country where everybody has a high-level academic background and knowledge, critical acumen and wit, you DO feel the difference.
Also living in the countryside is quite a weird decision to me: it seems a desperate way to show other people that you belong to the "wealthy side", even if that means having a huge empty house, totally tasteless, with a lonely life after work and no human exchange whatsoever.Layla 06 Mar 2009, 03:28 - Report
Hi Friends, me too new here and i like have friends my email is
[email removed]Salma 24 Mar 2009, 03:15 - Report
Je travaille pour une agence bruxelloise (B&B Consultants) de conseils en communication spécialisée dans les études de marché qualitatives. B&B Consultants organise souvent des études avec des personnes expatriées. Ces études ont pour but d'améliorer les produits vendus en Europe. Le plus souvent, il s'agit juste d'exprimer son opinion ou de tester un produit pas encore disponible sur le marché européen; nous organisons aussi des études à vocation sociale.
En échange de leur collaboration, les participants reçoivent de l'argent liquide et des points qu'ils peuvent échanger contre des cadeaux ( cartes iTunes, cartes Fnac,...) ou des dons à diverses associations caritatives telles que Médecins et Reporters sans frontières.
En ce moment nous éprouvons des difficultés à trouver des personnes de nationalité italienne, résidant en Belgique depuis moins de 3 ans. J'insiste sur le fait que nous n'essaierons pas de vous vendre quelque chose. Notre unique but est d'en apprendre plus sur les opinions et habitudes des Européens sur divers produits et sujets.
Nous organisons également des études pour d'autres nationalités, tout le monde est le bienvenu. Les interviews sont réalisées dans la langue maternelle de l'interviewé. Les personnes intéressées peuvent s'inscrire sur www.euroconsumerpanel.com. Ne vous inquiétez pas, elles ne seront pas submergées de mails et de spams, nous leur enverrons uniquement un ou deux mails par mois.
Participer aux enquêtes est aussi une opportunité de rencontrer de nouvelles personnes, avantage qui n’est pas à négliger lorsque l’on vient d’atterrir dans un nouveau pays. Si vous avez des questions complémentaires, n’hésitez pas à nous contacter soit via mail [email removed] ou par téléphone au 02/500.33.10.
Bonne journée,François Vuidar 27 Mar 2009, 11:22 - Report
tenia un amigo de belgica , soy de puerto rico
y fue la persona mas dulce y buena que he conocido,
la gente de belgica es muy linda.Edith 30 Mar 2009, 06:08 - Report
lo siento olvide dar mi emai [email removed]
El nombre de El es pascal sagaert s aluien le interesa me puede escribir a se email. chau
je t; aime beaucoup k hou van jouEdtih 30 Mar 2009, 06:15 - Report
Hi, I will soon be living in Gierle, with my Boyfriend. He is German, and of course speaks German,Dutch,French,English and Spanish....which really makes it easy to comunicate. On the other hand, I only speak English and Spanish, although I am learning German. He works there, and I am currently living in Puerto Rico, and would like to make friends before arriving....so if you think he have some common intrest feel free to contact me: [email removed]
born in NY, but have latin roots...Colombian =)
have a labrador
love sports (spinning, zumba, cardio, and scuba, I am also begining to ski)
love to party
Hope to hear from some new friends...Merle Pastrana 06 Apr 2009, 03:30 - Report
HELLO FOR ALL
I'LL GO TO LIEGE NEARLY
AND I LIKE TO MEET A GOOD FRIEND THIER I AM ELECTRIC ENGINEER
THAT JOURNEY FOR TRAINING
29 M FROM EGYPT
[email removed]HAMADA 20 Apr 2009, 04:51 - Report
I am a chinese, and have been in Belgium for nearly one year. and really, I have very few Belgian native friends here. I want to meet some foreigners and make friends. I am in Leuven. So if some one are interested, you can email me:
[email removed]Du 19 May 2009, 12:21 - Report
I live in Belgium more than 24 years. Finished all my studies in ULB and worked for many years in Belgium except 6 years that I lived in US, unfortunately all these years could make only couple of Belgian friend. The rest of my friends are foreigners.
Would love to meet people and make friends of all nationalities, have some quality time, go out, see movies, theatre and share many things and exchange our life experiences...I am in Brussels, 47 years old female and love to have friends of all age an
[email removed]Smile 01 Jun 2009, 11:25 - Report
Hi, I am a Begian native, in his forties, working as an independent consultant. I must admit I am shocked by the negative attitude and echoes toward the Belgians here. Or is it due to the known sociological phenomenon, that only the dissatisfied reply?
I am willing tot ake on the challenge and prove to any expat or foreigner that it is not so hard to become friends with a Belgian. I am into sports (watersports, cycling, jogging) and like to attend concerst or visit museums. So if you want to find out more, just give me a shout at [email removed].
AlfredAlfred Kano 02 Jun 2009, 11:34 - Report
Hi ... I'm looking for a part time job in liege while im studying over there . before i come to blgium ( Liege ) i have to find one before i start doing this cuase the expenses are so high over there and i can't afford it without any subsidization ... so any help would be appreciated . my e-mail : [email removed]
Thank you !Antonio 12 Jun 2009, 05:00 - Report
Hi Serena from NJ
I would love to be friends write to me at gmail the name is rajgopal90 more later, wish you all the best in belgiumrajgopal 02 Jul 2009, 12:40 - Report
Well, Belgium certainly has a HIDDEN charm, once you discover it - once this country opens to you - you are lucky. I am not yet, by the way. So if you need a russian native friend, 33 years old, female, speaking English and some German, you can always give me a call - 0474856720.LUCY 02 Jul 2009, 04:52 - Report
godverdomme !!!benikvergeten 21 Jul 2009, 05:25 - Report
dear filet americaine
although you might be living here some time, you're so terrible wrong about belgium. It is known that people in Belgium are rather closed when you're a stranger, but once you're known, you are welcome all the time. And by this a mean all the time.
Since Belgium is situated between France and Germany whe have the taste of the first and the abundancy of the latter.
Belgians are "Bourgondiers" which means whe enjoy live with all its benefits: excellent food, briljant beers, friends and plenty of laughs
When you are talking bout our culture you are so wrong: Because Belgium is a crosspoint of cultures in Europe, belgian culture is divers. Whe have the medieval masters (Van Eyck) Barok (Rubens, Van Dijck,...)Whe have buildings some countries would dream of.
And if we talk about modern culture: We have a range from Magritte (surrealism) Delvaux, Fabre, Anna-Theresa De Keersmaecker, ...
Music: anything between the jazz of Toots Thielemans to the dance music of the de Waele Brothers.
And if you have never seen Belgian art, you couldnt understand our national feeling, which is that we are all individuals, but linked by a same way of living: the belgian way: relaxed, at ease, no worries, everything will be fine.
So our culture is not all that much only for the rich people (check out zomer van antwerpen, gentse feesten,...), and especially not imported. Whe have a rich mixture of all that is beautifull in europe.
And our housing problems, as you say, are non-existing. I don't know where you lived, but you're talking nonsense.
So my guess after living here for 20 years and not having friends: look at yourself instead of blaming the country
karelKarel Van Doren 04 Aug 2009, 05:10 - Report