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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

OriginDeparture atReturn atFind tickets
Edinburgh21 November 202124 November 2021Tickets from 6
Manchester28 November 202130 November 2021Tickets from 10
Billund26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 10
Suceava22 November 202126 November 2021Tickets from 12
Bucharest3 December 20216 December 2021Tickets from 14
Budapest2 November 20216 November 2021Tickets from 14
Milan20 November 202122 November 2021Tickets from 15
Prague3 November 20216 November 2021Tickets from 16
Pescara2 December 20214 December 2021Tickets from 16
Bratislava12 November 202115 November 2021Tickets from 16
Wroclaw20 November 202123 November 2021Tickets from 17
Warsaw20 November 202124 November 2021Tickets from 17
Krakow26 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 17
Zagreb28 November 20211 December 2021Tickets from 18
Barcelona30 November 20213 December 2021Tickets from 18
Tel Aviv-Yafo13 November 202118 November 2021Tickets from 18
Riga10 December 202112 December 2021Tickets from 18
Dublin30 November 20212 December 2021Tickets from 19
Copenhagen27 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 19
Rome22 November 202127 November 2021Tickets from 19
Vienna27 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 19
Helsinki18 November 202120 November 2021Tickets from 20
Marseille29 November 20212 December 2021Tickets from 20
Sofia26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 21
Lisbon25 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 22
Lviv12 November 202115 November 2021Tickets from 22
Bologna25 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 22
Venice11 November 202114 November 2021Tickets from 23
Kyiv15 November 202119 November 2021Tickets from 23
Pisa16 November 202117 November 2021Tickets from 24
Toulouse20 November 202123 November 2021Tickets from 25
Berlin16 November 202117 November 2021Tickets from 26
Paris1 December 20213 December 2021Tickets from 26
London11 November 202113 November 2021Tickets from 28
Oslo17 November 202122 November 2021Tickets from 29
Catania22 November 202127 November 2021Tickets from 29
Bordeaux17 November 202121 November 2021Tickets from 30
Marrakech13 November 202116 November 2021Tickets from 31
Thessaloniki24 November 202127 November 2021Tickets from 31
Tallinn20 November 202123 November 2021Tickets from 32
Porto18 November 202121 November 2021Tickets from 32
Kharkov27 November 20211 December 2021Tickets from 33
Iasi26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 34
Madrid19 November 202122 November 2021Tickets from 34
Vilnius12 December 202114 December 2021Tickets from 34
Alicante23 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 36
Cologne20 November 202122 November 2021Tickets from 37
Stockholm19 December 202120 December 2021Tickets from 39
Athens6 December 20219 December 2021Tickets from 40
Poznan3 December 20216 December 2021Tickets from 40
Nantes1 December 20214 December 2021Tickets from 41
Gdansk8 November 202113 November 2021Tickets from 43
Girona17 December 202119 December 2021Tickets from 44
Valencia10 December 202112 December 2021Tickets from 44
Turin3 December 20215 December 2021Tickets from 45
Ljubljana15 November 202119 November 2021Tickets from 47
Odessa22 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 47
Cluj9 December 202110 December 2021Tickets from 47
Bristol19 November 202121 November 2021Tickets from 47
Skopje26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 48
Bacau11 December 202113 December 2021Tickets from 49
Geneva25 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 49
Sevilla20 November 202124 November 2021Tickets from 50
Agadir16 November 202117 November 2021Tickets from 50
Frankfurt26 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 52
Tirana28 December 20212 January 2022Tickets from 53
Rabat9 November 202111 November 2021Tickets from 55
Nice6 December 20219 December 2021Tickets from 55
Naples5 November 20218 November 2021Tickets from 56
Chisinau20 November 202123 November 2021Tickets from 56
Malaga8 November 202114 November 2021Tickets from 58
Hamburg12 November 202114 November 2021Tickets from 58
Amsterdam26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 61
Tenerife9 December 202114 December 2021Tickets from 62
Lamezia-Terme11 January 202212 January 2022Tickets from 68
Aarhus26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 68
Timisoara22 December 202127 December 2021Tickets from 68
Rzeszow3 December 20215 December 2021Tickets from 69
Oradea27 November 202130 November 2021Tickets from 71
Santander10 November 202111 November 2021Tickets from 74
Bydgoszcz20 January 202221 January 2022Tickets from 74
Gothenburg27 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 74
Basel, Switzerland/Mulhouse6 December 20218 December 2021Tickets from 76
Birmingham10 December 202113 December 2021Tickets from 76
Bari5 November 20216 November 2021Tickets from 77
Nuremberg28 November 20212 December 2021Tickets from 78
Bergen27 November 202128 November 2021Tickets from 84
Moscow20 January 202226 January 2022Tickets from 88
Istanbul11 December 202113 December 2021Tickets from 89
Sibiu26 November 202129 November 2021Tickets from 89
Munich4 December 202110 December 2021Tickets from 90
Kutaisi10 December 202111 December 2021Tickets from 93
Paphos18 December 202123 December 2021Tickets from 96
Saint Petersburg16 June 202219 June 2022Tickets from 98
Caen19 November 202121 November 2021Tickets from 98
Bilbao22 February 202227 February 2022Tickets from 100
Alghero27 December 202130 December 2021Tickets from 105
Las Palmas4 December 20217 December 2021Tickets from 106
Genoa5 November 20217 November 2021Tickets from 106
Baku27 January 20222 February 2022Tickets from 110

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