Discover Belgium

Be volunteer in Belgium

Belgium is a small, highly developed and densely populated country (10 million of inhabitants) at the cross-roads of Western Europe. Belgium is one of the founding members of the European Community, and its capital, Brussels, is also the capital of the European Union. It is a federal state, with 3 relatively autonomous regions: Flanders in the north, where the language is Dutch (“Flemish”), Wallonia in the south, where the language is French, and the centrally located Brussels, which is officially bilingual. Belgium’s rich history has left impressive churches, town halls, castles and works of art, dating back to the early Middle Ages, spread around the cities and country-side.

Belgium has possibly the highest “quality of life” in the world, as testified by its excellent food, housing, health care, education and infrastructure, its world records for high productivity and low poverty, and the appreciation of foreigners residing in Belgium.

Food in Daily Life. Bread and potatoes are the traditional staple foods. Most meals include pork, chicken, or beef, and seafood is popular in the northern part of the country. Beer is the traditional drink, but wine is imported in large quantities. In northern cities, popular dishes include mussels with fries and waterzooia (literally boiling water), a stew made of vegetables and meat or fish. All accross the country, French fries are eaten with steaks or minced raw meat. Cooking is traditionally done with butter rather than oil; there is also a high consumption of dairy products. Moreover, immigration has ensured a diversity of “ethnic” restaurants and is gradually changing the eating habits of the residents in culturally mixed areas.

Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Christmas is an occasion for large family meals with grandparents and cousins. There are many other occasions for long meals at public and private celebrations, such as weddings, funerals, and the days devoted to city and parish saints. Pastries are associated with religious and civil occasions. At Christmas, people eat sweet bread in the form of the child Jesus; at Easter, children are told that eggs are dropped in the gardens by flying churchbells; and sugar beans are distributed to those who visit a young mother.

Classes and Castes. There is a relatively even distribution of wealth, with 5 to 6 percent living close to the poverty line. The majority of the population is middle class. The vast majority has equal opportunities for education and a professional life. There is a very inclusive social security system.

Deep societal cleavages have led to the construction of “pillars,” integrated social structures based on ideology. Although “pillarisation” is becoming less important in social life, its influence is clearly noticeable. These pillars encompass every aspect of societal life, including youth, sports and leisure movements, education at all levels, trade unions, health funds, newspapers, and political parties. The three main pillars are the Christian-democrat pillar, the socialist pillar, and the liberal pillar. Until the 1990s, the positions of these pillars were mutually agreed on and anchored through a complex system of “political nominations” in which people with a philosophical affiliation to one of the pillars were appointed to key societal positions as magistrates, top public officials, and leaders of state-controlled companies. The public is turning against this aspect of the pillars, but their influence and power are considerable, especially when their interests are challenged.

The major cleavages are ethnocultural (Flemish speakers versus Francophones), philosophical (the church versus liberals) and economic. The importance of these cleavages has changed over time, often leading to the establishment of new coalitions.

Symbols of Social Stratification. Wealth is most often expressed through houses and cars. In general, there are few external behavioral class markers. The upper classes act discreetly, and people make little distinction between classes or social strata. Exceptions sometimes appear in youth culture, where fashion can turn into a means of social distinction.

Read more: here

Cost of living in Belgium is 5.59% higher than in United States (aggregate data for all cities, rent is not taken into account)

If you would like to have the daily life costs, click here.

You might want to note that most stores in Belgium close around 6pm (8pm for supermarkets) and that lots of stores are closed on Sunday.

  • “Pôle handicap” : Partners with projects with disabled people.
    – Arche
    – Côte à Côte
    – Les Pilotis
    – Accueil et Vie
    – Renaissance
  • Youth Hostels : Jacques Brel Brussels, Tournai, Generation Europe.
  • Project NOW
  • School Projects : Don Bosco, École des petits chemins
  • Le Fagotin
  • The Caves of Han

Cheap flight to Belgium

Ville de départ Date de départ Date de retour Find Ticket

Warsaw

13.11.2020

15.11.2020

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Marseille

29.10.2020

07.11.2020

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Porto

21.11.2020

23.11.2020

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Berlin

06.11.2020

08.11.2020

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Vienna

13.11.2020

15.11.2020

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Faro

26.11.2020

28.11.2020

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Budapest

02.11.2020

12.11.2020

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Prague

30.10.2020

01.11.2020

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Rome

27.11.2020

29.11.2020

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Lisbon

06.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Catania

01.11.2020

30.11.2020

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Krakow

04.12.2020

07.12.2020

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Milan

01.11.2020

01.11.2020

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Venice

27.11.2020

29.11.2020

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Paris

06.11.2020

08.11.2020

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London

06.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Malaga

04.11.2020

11.11.2020

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Athens

04.11.2020

08.11.2020

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Copenhagen

22.11.2020

30.11.2020

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Kiev

05.11.2020

12.11.2020

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Vilnius

05.11.2020

12.11.2020

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Barcelona

01.01.2021

04.01.2021

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Valencia

12.11.2020

19.11.2020

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Palma de Mallorca

24.11.2020

28.11.2020

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Poznan

29.10.2020

01.11.2020

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Tallinn

20.11.2020

23.11.2020

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Bucharest

02.11.2020

05.11.2020

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Alicante

24.12.2020

29.12.2020

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Riga

04.11.2020

08.11.2020

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Istanbul

23.11.2020

30.11.2020

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Lublin

05.11.2020

08.11.2020

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Saint Petersburg

06.12.2020

13.12.2020

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Szczecin

07.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Wroclaw

17.11.2020

21.11.2020

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Luqa

23.12.2020

26.12.2020

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Gran Canaria

12.11.2020

15.11.2020

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Odessa

08.11.2020

15.11.2020

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Madrid

30.10.2020

02.11.2020

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Stockholm

06.11.2020

11.11.2020

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Gdansk

10.11.2020

24.11.2020

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Hamburg

18.02.2021

21.02.2021

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Munich

04.12.2020

11.12.2020

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Tel Aviv-Yafo

13.02.2021

17.02.2021

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Nantes

07.12.2020

13.12.2020

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Kharkiv

18.12.2020

20.12.2020

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Pisa

30.10.2020

02.11.2020

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Nice

30.12.2020

02.01.2021

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Tenerife

24.12.2020

02.01.2021

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Iasi

06.02.2021

13.02.2021

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Moscow

03.12.2020

06.12.2020

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Geneva

06.11.2020

17.11.2020

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Tirana

01.11.2020

02.11.2020

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Antalya

14.11.2020

15.11.2020

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Amsterdam

17.03.2021

20.03.2021

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Verona

15.07.2021

19.07.2021

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Belgrade

20.11.2020

27.11.2020

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Ankara

02.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Kutaisi

20.12.2020

11.01.2021

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Helsinki

28.11.2020

04.12.2020

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Bratislava

27.04.2021

29.04.2021

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Lviv

14.11.2020

16.11.2020

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Lyon

18.12.2020

20.12.2020

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Zagreb

02.11.2020

06.11.2020

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Chisinau

27.12.2020

11.01.2021

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Krasnodar

06.12.2020

13.12.2020

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Rennes

17.01.2021

31.01.2021

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Minsk

02.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Chelyabinsk

09.12.2020

17.12.2020

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Pristina

30.10.2020

31.10.2020

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Kazan

26.01.2021

30.01.2021

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Yerevan

18.04.2021

24.04.2021

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Tbilisi

20.03.2021

28.03.2021

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Mineralnye Vody

21.11.2020

23.11.2020

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Toulouse

02.11.2020

05.11.2020

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Zaporozhye

05.11.2020

08.11.2020

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Izmir

05.11.2020

12.11.2020

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Heraklion

31.10.2020

02.11.2020

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Perm

29.12.2020

03.01.2021

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Rostov

28.12.2020

06.01.2021

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Brest

12.11.2020

03.12.2020

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Sanliurfa

02.11.2020

09.11.2020

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Ekaterinburg

19.12.2020

03.01.2021

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Aalborg

29.10.2020

31.10.2020

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Riyadh

29.04.2021

06.05.2021

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Kuwait City

21.11.2020

28.11.2020

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Novosibirsk

12.12.2020

19.12.2020

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Dnepropetrovsk

10.12.2020

15.12.2020

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Dresden

07.11.2020

10.11.2020

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Ufa

12.11.2020

20.11.2020

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Montpellier

11.11.2020

11.11.2020

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Sochi

21.05.2021

24.05.2021

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Bishkek

26.11.2020

10.12.2020

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Nizhniy Novgorod

30.12.2020

06.01.2021

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Naberevnye Chelny

26.11.2020

29.11.2020

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Malmo

29.11.2020

06.12.2020

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Cairo

25.12.2020

05.01.2021

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Almaty

20.12.2020

24.12.2020

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Sharjah

08.02.2021

12.02.2021

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Dubai

08.02.2021

12.02.2021

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Boston

19.05.2021

09.06.2021

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