We don’t want to be preachy or boring but this blog is where we share our values and experiences and write about the issues shaping the future of our businesses and our society. Catch a glimpse into our lives and find out what’s new in our world...

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Sustainability Consult Newcomer’s Guide to Brussels: Part #2

Source: sanluisobispocaliforniahomes.com
Settling Down?  Setting Up and Travel Essentials

The second in our five-part series, today's post provides you with some further tips on settling down, setting up and getting around town - now that you know the Brussels basics.

   ·       Health Insurance
Once you have your national number from the Commune, you need to apply for social security.  Employees, employers and self-employed people must contribute to a health insurance fund (mutualité/ziekenfonds) as part of the normal enrolment process.  For most medical services, the bills are paid upfront and receipts must then be submitted for reimbursement.  Further information can be found here.

·       Internet, Telephone and Television 
a.     Belgacom - they provide an internet-only package for €25/month
b.     Telenet
c.     Numericable
Keep in mind that not all companies serve all regions

·       Mobile Phone Companies
a.     Mobile Vikings
b.     Base
c.     Mobistar
d.     Proximus

·       Furniture and Home Appliances
a.     IKEA
1.    Anderlecht (Chaussée de Mons 1432, nearest metro stop: Ceria)
2.    Zaventem (Weiveldlaan 19, bus number 830)
b.     Les Petits Riens  - a second-hand charity shop in Ixelles
c.   Freecycle - a Yahoo! Group where you can find furniture, garden plants, bikes and much more.  It’s all free and freecycled.  You can also donate through Freecycle if you’ve brought too much stuff with you
d.     Marché Place du Jeu de Balle – a popular flea market

·       Clothes and Shoes
a.    Rue Neuve and City 2 shopping centre (near De Brouckère metro)
b.   Area around the Louise metro station including the Toison d’Or Arcade
c.   Les Petits Riens - you can also find clothes here, as well as in other second-hand shops

·       Public Transport
STIB is the local public transport operator for the city.  Within Brussels, most buses, all metro lines and all trams are on the STIB network and you can use the same ticket/pass on all of them.  Inside Brussels, you can also use STIB tickets on SNCB trains. 

STIB is also responsible for links to the Wallonian TEC and Flemish De Lijn transport networks – however, you cannot use STIB tickets on here.  Some useful websites:
c.     Collective cabs (taxi-sharing)
d.     Cambio carsharing

·       Biking in Brussels
Signing up for Villo bikes costs €32/year and these grey and yellow bikes are free to ride for the first 30 minutes.  There are stands all over the city and a number of apps to help locate them (e.g. AllBikesNow).

Scotty bikes are another bike hire alternative.  These blue bikes are located in 41 train stations all over Belgium, meaning that you can combine train and bike rides easily.  Nevertheless, if you prefer to buy your own bike, there are many shops in the city to cover all budgets.  There are also a number of websites and blogs dedicated to cycling in Brussels and Belgium. 

Bike Experience 2013 will be coming up in May.  Organised by Brussels’ cycling associations, this event supports motorists willing to switch their cars for bikes in a two-week period, hoping to convince them of the many benefits of cycling and to help make the switch more permanent.  In Europe’s most congested city, this is a most welcome idea.

·         Coach, Train and Plane
a.     Coach
1.    Eurolines
2.    Megabus
b.     Train
1.    Local trains give a 50% reduction on weekend trips.  For discounts on other days there is a 10-journey card that costs €70 and can be used anywhere in Belgium (€50 if you are under 26)
2.    Eurostar
3.    Thalys
c.     Plane – the websites below are ideal for checking for cheap tickets
1.    Skyscanner
2.    Amadeus
3.    Edreams
4.    Lastminute.com
5.    Expedia

Blog by Aris Koutentakis and Bárbara Mendes-Jorge 

This blog is one of a five-part series.  If you enjoyed this article, check out our other posts:

Part #1: The Basics

No comments:

Post a Comment