About Brussels

The capital of Europe

Brussels is an international city at the heart of Europe. It is the capital of Belgium and hosts most of the European Institutions, as well as numerous international organizations and companies. It offers all the advantages of a European capital, but it is relatively cheap (in particular housing) and very green. Brussels is only one to three hours by train to Paris, London, Amsterdam, Luxemburg and Cologne, it is ideally located at the main crossroads of Western Europe.

Brussels is a very multicultural city with inhabitants from all over the world. Locals are proud of Brussels being the capital of Europe, and they are very open to foreigners. They are always ready to help you even if you don’t speak French or Dutch.

If you require more information about living in Brussels, there is a very useful magazie, the Bulletin with al lot of information for new arrivals. 

Brussels is one of the cheapest European capitals in terms of cost of living. Doctoral students can easily get by with a yearly budget between 10,000 and 14,000 EUR. 


The ULB has a mobility center that helps you with every practical aspect of your arrival at our university. 

One way to find housing in Brussels is choose the area where you want to live, and to walk through it. Tenants post rental announcements in the windows and doors of the available apartments. There is also a newspaper, “vlan”, and several web sites like “immoweb” or “Le Vlan” with real estate ads.

As for the student rooms, the best is to look at the campus for the announcements that other students post in the restaurant area.

Once you arrive to Belgium, you will have to enrol at the university. You will also have to register at the city hall and get a the social security card. The social security card is needed if in order to be reimbursed for any medical expenditures. More information here

Living in Brussels

Tillmann Heidelk
ECARES, being in the capital of the EU, provides you with easy access to European decision-makers and avenues to get directly involved with EU policy!
Salvador Bertomeu
I love the multicultural dimension of Brussels, and how the city bubbles with all sorts of cultural activities: gastronomy, art, music, architecture… while being the heart of European politics!
Sarah Rosenberg
Brussels is a city where it’s easy for a PhD to feel at home, especially if you come from abroad. It’s the greenest city I’ve lived in, with huge public parks and forests, it’s as international as London or Paris, but with much cheaper, centrally-located housing, and it has an amazing laidback vibe.