The standard of living in Brussels remains high, which keeps the cost of living fairly expensive for tax and transfer pricing professionals who have relocated. This is especially true when it comes to areas such as housing and electricity for expats. This is why commuting can be a smart step towards lowering your expenses in Brussels.
For tax experts willing to commute, there are a few highly convenient options available.
Leuven is a great alternative to the cost of living in Brussels.
It has been considered as a great place to live, where expats can escape not only from the higher cost of living that Brussels suggests, but also from the fast-paced big city environment and overwhelming amount of people living there.
Leuven is located about 28 kilometres east of Brussels, only half an hour away by car or train, meaning tax expats can still easily travel to Brussels if need be.
Brussels has 3 railway stations (Midi, Centre and Nord) with a direct link to Leuven. A train ride from Midi (the furthest) will take about 30 to 45 minutes and the train interval in weekdays is every 15-20mins. Highly convenient for new transfer pricing expats.
Living in Leuven and working in Brussels can significantly reduce your costs in the long run, due to the lower cost of living that Leuven offers. Here you can access an up-to-date cost of living comparison between Leuven and Brussels.
Mechelen is another good alternative for ambitious tax professionals to living in Brussels. It is located between Brussels and Antwerp in northern Belgium, with well-established train connections to both of them and a nice friendly atmosphere.
Although Dutch is the primary language in the area, in most institutions and shops English is commonly spoken.
In terms of transportation, expats living in Mechelen advise against commuting by car, because although it seems more convenient, commuting by train can be faster, more cost-efficient and less stressful on most days. There are direct connections between Mechelen and Brussels, with an average journey time of only 15 minutes, ideal for travelling tax expats.
Commuting to Brussels from Mechelen is worth considering, especially if you prefer a small city and lower living costs. Here you can access an up-to-date cost of living comparison between Mechelen and Brussels.
Antwerp is another place international tax professionals should consider when planning to commute.
It is a favourite destination and home to many transfer pricing expats. Antwerp is described as a tolerant and progressive port city, located on Belgium’s River Scheldt and is renowned as being the diamond capital of the world. It is not only Belgium’s second largest city after Brussels, but also the second largest port in Europe behind Rotterdam, Netherlands, and is one of the 10 largest ports in the world.
English is widely spoken in the city.
Commuting between Antwerp and Brussels by train is easy and convenient for tax professionals. There are direct connections with an average journey time of 40 minutes. If you prefer driving, bear in mind where exactly you live and work, because Brussels-North to Antwerp-South can be done in 30- 40 min, but Brussels-South to Antwerp-North can easily take up to 1,5 – 2 hours during rush hours.
Living in Antwerp and commuting to Brussels can reduce your living costs. Here you can access an up-to-date cost of living comparison between Antwerp and Brussels.
If you are interested in a move to Belgium or anywhere else in the world and would like to speak to Kingpin International about International Tax Opportunities, across Direct Tax, Transfer Pricing or Indirect Tax please contact a member of the team. Alternatively, view our current International Tax vacancies.
Keen to find out more about Belgium as a great destination choice for ambitious international tax professionals:
A guide for tax professionals relocating to Belgium
Expat communities in Belgium
7 Reasons why tax expats should live in Brussels