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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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Prague24 September 202228 September 2022Tickets from 35
Riga12 September 202214 September 2022Tickets from 41
Madrid21 September 202226 September 2022Tickets from 46
Vienna9 July 202213 July 2022Tickets from 49
Reus5 July 20227 July 2022Tickets from 59
Berlin30 August 20221 September 2022Tickets from 61
Vilnius28 August 20222 September 2022Tickets from 61
Budapest22 August 202226 August 2022Tickets from 62
Helsinki5 September 20228 September 2022Tickets from 62
Warsaw10 August 202216 August 2022Tickets from 65
Venice25 July 202231 July 2022Tickets from 67
Suceava26 September 202230 September 2022Tickets from 68
Tallinn28 August 202231 August 2022Tickets from 68
Dublin7 August 202210 August 2022Tickets from 72
Bologna20 August 202223 August 2022Tickets from 72
Poznan29 July 20221 August 2022Tickets from 74
Valencia17 September 202220 September 2022Tickets from 77
Milan7 July 202212 July 2022Tickets from 77
Sofia4 July 20226 July 2022Tickets from 82
Bratislava14 October 202217 October 2022Tickets from 86
Geneva30 August 20224 September 2022Tickets from 88
Alicante6 October 20229 October 2022Tickets from 89
Podgorica3 December 20226 December 2022Tickets from 90
Krakow12 August 202214 August 2022Tickets from 92
London10 October 202216 October 2022Tickets from 94
Kaunas30 July 20222 August 2022Tickets from 94
Paris6 September 20228 September 2022Tickets from 96
Rome17 August 202222 August 2022Tickets from 97
Palermo5 July 20226 July 2022Tickets from 104
Wroclaw21 July 202224 July 2022Tickets from 104
Bucharest18 July 202220 July 2022Tickets from 107
Stockholm1 August 20227 August 2022Tickets from 108
Belgrade23 September 202226 September 2022Tickets from 109
Barcelona8 July 20229 July 2022Tickets from 112
Malaga15 September 202216 September 2022Tickets from 119
Swidnik20 September 202225 September 2022Tickets from 120
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Naples5 July 20227 July 2022Tickets from 137
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Funchal14 July 202217 July 2022Tickets from 145
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Hanover22 August 202225 August 2022Tickets from 179
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Nice4 August 20227 August 2022Tickets from 197
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Yerevan10 October 202216 October 2022Tickets from 221
Izmir22 December 202227 December 2022Tickets from 246
Lappeenranta8 August 202212 August 2022Tickets from 247
Tbilisi15 September 202216 September 2022Tickets from 269
Larnaca18 July 202220 July 2022Tickets from 276
Dalaman8 July 202213 July 2022Tickets from 282
Zakinthos7 August 20229 August 2022Tickets from 283
Stavanger12 July 202216 July 2022Tickets from 301
Sharjah3 October 20229 October 2022Tickets from 334
Klagenfurt5 January 20238 January 2023Tickets from 341
Saint Petersburg29 April 20233 May 2023Tickets from 343
Kutahya7 July 202211 July 2022Tickets from 346
Bodrum28 July 20223 August 2022Tickets from 350
Bydgoszcz8 July 202210 July 2022Tickets from 354
Ljubljana7 July 20228 July 2022Tickets from 363
Batumi25 September 202230 September 2022Tickets from 390
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Mineralnye Vody28 August 20222 September 2022Tickets from 750
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