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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

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Warsaw27 February 202228 February 2022Tickets from 10
Dublin4 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 13
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Sofia15 February 202217 February 2022Tickets from 14
Milan17 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 14
Bologna11 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 15
Wroclaw26 February 20221 March 2022Tickets from 15
Brindisi11 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 16
Bucharest11 February 202215 February 2022Tickets from 16
Pisa4 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 16
Budapest1 March 20223 March 2022Tickets from 17
Berlin8 March 202210 March 2022Tickets from 17
Krakow11 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 17
Bratislava11 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 20
Copenhagen24 February 202227 February 2022Tickets from 21
Riga11 February 202216 February 2022Tickets from 21
Kyiv23 February 202228 February 2022Tickets from 21
Manchester26 February 20224 March 2022Tickets from 21
Suceava18 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 21
Toulouse11 March 202212 March 2022Tickets from 22
Oslo18 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 22
Vilnius3 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 22
Prague24 March 202228 March 2022Tickets from 23
Madrid19 March 202221 March 2022Tickets from 24
Palermo25 February 20222 March 2022Tickets from 24
Sibiu3 March 20228 March 2022Tickets from 24
Porto16 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 24
Rome28 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 25
Pescara3 February 20228 February 2022Tickets from 25
Marseille4 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 25
Stockholm3 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 26
Timisoara4 February 20228 February 2022Tickets from 26
Thessaloniki7 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 27
Barcelona10 March 202213 March 2022Tickets from 27
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Lviv7 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 28
Bordeaux3 March 20226 March 2022Tickets from 28
Tel Aviv-Yafo3 March 20225 March 2022Tickets from 28
Venice16 March 202218 March 2022Tickets from 29
Helsinki18 February 202222 February 2022Tickets from 29
Katowice7 March 20229 March 2022Tickets from 30
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Eindhoven5 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 32
Cluj3 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 32
Paris18 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 33
Podgorica7 February 202211 February 2022Tickets from 34
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Tallinn4 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 37
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Cologne14 February 202217 February 2022Tickets from 38
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Larnaca11 February 202215 February 2022Tickets from 38
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Hamburg24 February 202228 February 2022Tickets from 39
Cagliari18 February 202222 February 2022Tickets from 39
Paphos12 February 202215 February 2022Tickets from 40
Kharkov22 March 202228 March 2022Tickets from 41
Kaunas21 February 202226 February 2022Tickets from 41
Odessa4 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 41
Nimes30 January 20222 February 2022Tickets from 42
Poznan5 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 42
Palma Mallorca31 January 20223 February 2022Tickets from 44
Malaga1 February 20224 February 2022Tickets from 46
Chisinau21 April 202226 April 2022Tickets from 46
Newcastle11 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 48
Geneva15 February 202218 February 2022Tickets from 49
London18 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 49
Swidnik1 February 20222 February 2022Tickets from 51
Gdansk6 March 20228 March 2022Tickets from 52
Malta26 March 20221 April 2022Tickets from 55
Valencia28 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 56
Iasi17 March 202221 March 2022Tickets from 59
Nuremberg10 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 61
Zagreb27 April 20222 May 2022Tickets from 62
Birmingham1 February 20223 February 2022Tickets from 62
Basel, Switzerland/Mulhouse14 February 202218 February 2022Tickets from 63
Zaragoza11 March 202214 March 2022Tickets from 64
Dusseldorf17 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 65
Nice15 March 202217 March 2022Tickets from 66
Tirana30 January 20225 February 2022Tickets from 66
Santiago De Compostela24 February 202227 February 2022Tickets from 67
Bydgoszcz15 February 202217 February 2022Tickets from 67
Liverpool26 February 20224 March 2022Tickets from 68
Nador15 February 202216 February 2022Tickets from 69
Faro19 February 202223 February 2022Tickets from 70
Luxembourg31 January 20222 February 2022Tickets from 73
Amsterdam25 February 202227 February 2022Tickets from 75
Saint Petersburg4 April 20229 April 2022Tickets from 77
Santander11 April 202215 April 2022Tickets from 80
Lyon18 March 202220 March 2022Tickets from 81
Bristol18 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 82
Munich27 May 202229 May 2022Tickets from 85
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Skopje11 March 202212 March 2022Tickets from 86
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Olbia15 February 202216 February 2022Tickets from 88
Bacau28 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 89
Gothenburg3 March 20226 March 2022Tickets from 100

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