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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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Warsaw12 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 8
Milan28 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 10
Marseille16 January 202219 January 2022Tickets from 13
Bucharest2 February 20223 February 2022Tickets from 13
Budapest21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 14
Vienna21 February 202224 February 2022Tickets from 15
Podgorica28 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 15
Suceava4 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 15
Lisbon20 January 202225 January 2022Tickets from 16
Palermo21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 16
Bologna20 February 202222 February 2022Tickets from 16
Kyiv23 January 202227 January 2022Tickets from 16
Tel Aviv-Yafo29 January 20221 February 2022Tickets from 17
Wroclaw15 February 202219 February 2022Tickets from 17
Dublin28 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 17
Bari22 January 202225 January 2022Tickets from 18
Rome18 January 202221 January 2022Tickets from 18
Sofia15 February 202217 February 2022Tickets from 19
Copenhagen21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 19
Berlin20 January 202222 January 2022Tickets from 19
Prague29 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 20
Bratislava11 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 20
Turin31 January 20222 February 2022Tickets from 20
Manchester11 March 202214 March 2022Tickets from 21
Madrid19 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 21
Paris29 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 21
Lamezia-Terme6 February 20228 February 2022Tickets from 21
Iasi11 March 202214 March 2022Tickets from 21
Verona1 February 20223 February 2022Tickets from 22
Riga19 January 202220 January 2022Tickets from 23
Bordeaux19 January 202220 January 2022Tickets from 23
Barcelona19 January 202220 January 2022Tickets from 24
Krakow21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 24
Valencia17 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 26
Timisoara18 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 26
Toulouse11 March 202213 March 2022Tickets from 27
Athens29 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 28
London20 January 202222 January 2022Tickets from 28
Porto29 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 28
Sevilla17 January 202222 January 2022Tickets from 29
Helsinki17 January 202218 January 2022Tickets from 30
Venice4 February 20225 February 2022Tickets from 31
Lviv29 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 31
Catania25 February 20222 March 2022Tickets from 32
Stockholm3 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 32
Gdansk20 January 202224 January 2022Tickets from 33
Vilnius17 March 202220 March 2022Tickets from 33
Thessaloniki25 January 202226 January 2022Tickets from 35
Zaragoza26 February 20222 March 2022Tickets from 35
Tallinn3 February 20229 February 2022Tickets from 35
Kaunas2 April 20225 April 2022Tickets from 35
Banja Luka18 March 202221 March 2022Tickets from 36
Frankfurt4 February 20228 February 2022Tickets from 36
Odessa1 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 36
Hamburg28 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 36
Zagreb20 January 202221 January 2022Tickets from 37
Edinburgh14 February 202218 February 2022Tickets from 37
Bacau19 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 37
Faro22 January 202224 January 2022Tickets from 37
Malaga22 January 202224 January 2022Tickets from 38
Luxembourg18 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 38
Nantes28 January 202230 January 2022Tickets from 38
Naples25 February 20222 March 2022Tickets from 39
Cluj17 February 202220 February 2022Tickets from 40
Alicante28 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 42
Santander4 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 43
Nis8 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 43
Kharkov6 February 20228 February 2022Tickets from 46
Chisinau21 April 202226 April 2022Tickets from 47
Cagliari17 March 202220 March 2022Tickets from 47
Poznan4 February 20227 February 2022Tickets from 47
Craiova25 February 202228 February 2022Tickets from 50
Girona3 June 20225 June 2022Tickets from 51
Bristol21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 53
Amsterdam30 January 20222 February 2022Tickets from 54
Tirana3 February 20226 February 2022Tickets from 54
Cologne16 January 202217 January 2022Tickets from 56
Billund4 March 20226 March 2022Tickets from 59
Nice9 May 202213 May 2022Tickets from 61
Katowice21 January 202226 January 2022Tickets from 62
Larnaca21 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 63
Birmingham18 February 202221 February 2022Tickets from 64
Dusseldorf12 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 66
Debrecen7 February 202211 February 2022Tickets from 69
Geneva19 January 202224 January 2022Tickets from 70
Reus13 October 202215 October 2022Tickets from 71
Oslo3 April 20229 April 2022Tickets from 71
Nador10 February 202211 February 2022Tickets from 71
Basel, Switzerland/Mulhouse24 January 202228 January 2022Tickets from 73
Saint Petersburg4 April 20227 April 2022Tickets from 78
Kutaisi1 March 20224 March 2022Tickets from 81
Las Palmas21 January 202224 January 2022Tickets from 83
Brindisi23 April 202225 April 2022Tickets from 85
Lyon9 February 202213 February 2022Tickets from 88
Zurich8 March 202212 March 2022Tickets from 90
Funchal28 March 20223 April 2022Tickets from 93
Munich27 January 202231 January 2022Tickets from 96
Bremen12 February 202214 February 2022Tickets from 97
Brive-La-Gaillarde28 March 20222 April 2022Tickets from 98
Istanbul22 January 202223 January 2022Tickets from 99

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