It’s easier to be an expat these days than ever before. With an EU passport, especially, moving to a European Union country such as Belgium isn’t much harder than moving across town.
Still, if you’re picking up your entire life, starting anew in a foreign country — whether for a job transfer or reasons of love or lifestyle — it is a big life experience, and you may need help. Thankfully, there are experts in the field of relocation who can handle the details, ensuring a smooth move and settling in period.
We’ve got a list of 16 relocation consultants and expatriation companies in Belgium ready to help you from the pre-move, introductory stage all the way through to house and school-hunting, then right into cultural and language training. They’ll also help anyone going onto their next expat adventures, as well as the travel-worn heading back home.
Moving To Belgium
Benedicte Van Bauwel
The Global Relocation Manager at Santa Fe Relocation Services, Benedicte Van Bauwel has more than 20 years experience in the relocation and expatriation world. Over the past several years, she has set up the corporate department that handles Belgium and Luxembourg relocations, manages the team, and acts as consultant and administrator on all relocation components.
Clients who have used the services of Aurelie Bertiaux of Ziegler Relocation in their moves to (and from) Brussels have terrific things to say about her, praising her efficiency, availability and great customer service. She’s got more than a decade’s experience in the relocation industry and is also a real estate agent, so she has knowledge of the area’s housing market, as well.
Owner of Aurora Group, an Antwerp-based relocation company which merged with EZ-Relocation in 2010, Dutch expatriate Ilonka Ballintijn-Slechte calls herself a global nomad. With 20-plus moves under her own belt, she really understands the process of relocation, whether by way of a new country or new continent. In addition to the usual moving-related services, Ballintijn-Slechte offers expat coaching, whether it’s a relocation-out or relocation-in.
Another destination consultant with personal expatriate experience, Julie Vermeulen is a Belgian citizen who has lived in Spain and the US. Fluent in Dutch, English, French and Spanish, she started her relocation business, Expat Relocation Belgium, with her British husband, Peter Craddock, and can help with everything from arrival assistance and settling-in help to departure services.
Senior Relocation and Immigration Coordinator at Map Relocations, Cindy Roeland has been with the company since 2002 and manages the entire process of a relocation file. This includes help with work or residence permits, visas for expats arriving in Benelux countries, and help finding short-term accommodation.
A relocation consultant since 1988, Eric Klitsch founded Brussels Relocation in 1990. A board member of ABRA (the Association of Belgian Relocation Agents), Klitsch’s services include an orientation tour, help finding temporary accommodation, home and school searches, car importation, local government compliances and work permits. When you’re leaving Belgium, Klitsch offers delocation services, as well.
If you need banking help in Belgium, Dave Deruytter at ING Belgium is head of Expatriates and Non-Residents for both banking and insurance. He’s been helping make the financial lives of internationally mobile people easier for more than 15 years, and can point you in the right direction, whether it’s a workshop on life and work in Belgium, real estate, or mortgage advice and estate planning support.
A member of the International Bar Association, Tanel Feldman is an immigration specialist at the Belgian-based firm Immigration Law Associates. Founded in 2014, the team provides help with everything related to relocation, including visas, work permits, social security, residence, naturalisation, advice on starting a business, and degree recognition and equivalence services.
Marc Van Hoof
Be Welcome/Be Wanted is a family-owned expatriate business with a slogan they say is really more their philosophy: « Expatriate care with a personal touch. » Co-founded in 2003 by Marc Van Hoof, the managing partner of business development, the company offers pre-move assistance, first-day arrival service, housing help and cultural training.
Calling herself a veteran expat, Sharon Gilor, the founder of Expats Moving and Relocation Guide, isn’t exaggerating. After all, she’s moved some eight times across four continents with her family in the past couple of decades. When we reached out to her, Gilor confirmed that while she recently relocated to Israel from Belgium, she is happy to hold coaching sessions via Skype for anyone thinking about moving to Belgium or with respect to other Belgian-related expatriate matters.
With its recent acquisition of NOVA Relocation Group, a Brussels-based relocation services agency, Altair Global lives up to its claim as one of the largest independent, full-service relocation management companies in the world. “Altair and NOVA have a similar business philosophy and culture and so this is definitely the right fit for both companies,” Altair’s managing director, Walter Vermeeren, says. “Our clients will benefit from additional international locations and services and new IT capabilities, while Altair clients will benefit from having a local presence in Europe.”
Altair Global offers strategic talent management, such as assignment and relocation cost estimates. It also provides relocation and assignment management services, which include anything from banking and settling-in help to intercultural and language training to spouse/partner career assistance.
International relocation consultants John Blakeway and Kathryn Andrews own and manage ABC Relocation. The experienced industry professionals provide a range of services. They concentrate on employees being transferred but also assist private individuals who are relocating. Andrews, who moved to Belgium in 1990 with her family, has personal experience of the British, American, Belgian, French and European school systems, which has proved of particular help to families new to Belgium.
Staffed by a team of multilingual international relocation experts with expatriate experience, am&pm offers a range of relocation and immigration services for people being transferred by their employers and for their accompanying family members. On top of the usual help with logistics and accommodation, you can get advice regarding matters such as the cohabitation contract for unmarried couples, required for a Belgian residence permit.
Brilliant Relocation Center
The aim of the Brilliant Relocation Center is to save time and money for both companies and their relocating employees, ensuring a smooth and positive transition. BRC founder Viv Hermans has been in the industry since 1985 and is a specialist in real estate and immigration laws, as well as a founding member of EuRA, the European Relocation Association.
Sabine Castrique, the senior partner at BRC, has been working as a consultant in the relocation industry for more than a decade. Together, they offer services that include pre-move counselling, work permits and other legalities, housing and school selection, medical care, language and cultural training, and more.
Crown World Mobility
Corporations with global talent need help when transferring their people, and that’s where a company such as Crown World Mobility comes in. One of their many services offered is managing worldwide employee relocation. Others include assignment management, research and consulting, immigration services, global expense management, compensation administration, and more. Established in 1965, the company has some 265 locations in almost 60 countries, including Belgium, providing some 120,000 relocation services every year.
RKS Relocation serves expats in Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands. The company helps newcomers find homes and schools, offers assistance with settling in, assists with immigration issues, and offers language and cross-cultural training. Founded in 1984, the RKS team has assisted some 3,000 people with their moves. While the team is small, numbering 12, the trained relocation counselors have backgrounds in the world of international business and consulting, and all speak multiple languages, including English, German, Dutch, French, Hebrew, Romanian, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
images by: Mathieu Militis, meineresterampe, 930413