As co-working becomes increasingly common, the experience goes much deeper than simply renting a desk. Networking with other independent creatives and entrepreneurs — as well as attending workshops and events — often leads to business opportunities and new partnerships.
The explosive growth of co-working was noted earlier this year by deskmag in a review of the latest Global Coworking Survey. By the end of 2016, estimates are that the number of global co-working spaces will cross the 10,000 mark.
Brussels has a healthy share of co-working spaces in and around the city. Some support artistic endeavours, some provide professional kitchens, and some offer elegant and fully-equipped offices in renovated heritage buildings.
In the list below, you’ll find 19 of some of the best co-working spaces in and around Brussels, many of which have more than one location available. We’ve also included a marketplace platform so you can conduct your own search for a co-working space that meets your specific needs.
Ramon Suarez, president of the European Coworking Assembly and author of “The Coworking Handbook”, founded Betacowork Coworking in Brussels in 2010. With 220 members, it’s one of the largest co-working spaces in Brussels, and is available to try out free for a day.
Betacowork is located at the ICAB Business & Technology Incubator on Rue des Pères Blancs in Etterbeek, and most membership plans offer free street parking (all have free bicycle parking).
Co-working isn’t just for people packing a laptop. Food professionals and culinary entrepreneurs flock to Co-oking Brussels when they need to work in a shared commercial kitchen, which can be rented by the hour. With four workstations, networking and business opportunities frequently arise, along with an exchange of ideas and knowledge between the chefs, patisseries and caterers working there on any given day.
Co-working in style could best describe what The Library offers to its members. With three “office hotels” to choose from, you can rent private offices and meeting rooms or use the co-working areas, with access to the gardens and private terraces, living rooms and kitchens. Each site is a home that has been renovated and decorated with antiques, custom wallpaper and Nordic furniture.
Bon Jour Bruxelles
Located in the EU Quarter of the city, Bon Jour Bruxelles was founded by expat Silvia Galli in 2015. Creatives and international professionals use the renovated three-floor building for co-working, meetings and other events.
Have a car and need to flee the city for the day? A member of a network of eight co-working spaces developed by Creative Wallonia, Co-nnexion is down in the beautiful city of Mons.
The space, with two meeting rooms (one large, one small), is available to rent during regular working hours from Monday to Friday. Meet some of the people you’ll be sharing with on the site’s Co-workers page, such as designer Alexis Gérard of Icy Bomb fame.
If you’re looking for a co-working space outside of Brussels, perhaps in nearby Leuven, Bar d’Office offers nine locations throughout the country (including “The Castle” in Deurne). For those of you who are office nomads, you’ll be pleased to learn that one membership gives you access to all the office spaces.
This large co-working space comprises 1200 square meters of open-plan areas, private offices and event rooms, all designed around a large garden. Professionals of every ilk are known to frequent Factory Forty, members including freelance journalists, entrepreneurs, designers, as well as architects and business creators, allowing networking and business opportunities to flourish.
You can enjoy one free day at this co-working space in a sustainable building on Avenue Jules Bordet in Brussels. Transforma offers meeting rooms and hosts workshops and meet-ups, featuring 10 private offices in addition to its main open space. Take the virtual tour on its Facebook page to get an idea of the layout of the two-story facility.
If you’re a night owl, you’ll be glad to know The Loft shared office space has 24/7 access (and a self-catering kitchen, should the need arise). A place to work and network, The Loft was founded in 2011 by Bernard Perelsztejn, who calls himself “an entrepreneur at heart” and is situated on Avenue Louise in the center of Brussels.
With two Silversquare locations in Brussels — one on Avenue Louise and one close to the Parliament on the Square de Meeûs — you’ve got fully equipped office solutions at prestigious addresses that include shared and private spaces, and meeting rooms for up to 100 attendees. Whether you’re looking for a daily pass or you want full access day and night with reception, logistical support and daily cleaning, the plan exists.
Le Phare du Kanaal
This co-working cafe in Brussels’ canal district has 23 workstations, each at a private desk and all with high-speed internet access. Some services are free with longer packages, which range from half-day tasters to unlimited (with no long-term commitment). Members have special access to events hosted by Le Phare, which include professional workshops, conferences and networking parties.
If you’ve got the time, you should head up to Antwerp for the day. Seats2Meet has a spot in the Benelux Business there, where you’ll find workspaces of different sizes and meeting rooms within regular working hours from Monday to Friday. Parking is free, and various business services, including reception, can be part of your membership.
The name of this social workspace is actually its address: Science14 is located at 14b Rue de la Science, the heart of the EU Quarter. If you use the facilities here, you’ll be in a modern, green building that is home to more than 100 organisations. The co-working space offers the usual open area, equipped workstations and private meeting rooms. It also holds events and networking opportunities for members.
Coworking Les Galeries
This shared workspace in the center of Brussels is a place where you can get the job at hand done, hold meetings and workshops, or even exhibit your art. At Co-working Les Galeries, there’s a focus on women entrepreneurship, and the team works hard to create an ecosystem of support in which startups, enterprises and freelancers can all network and grow.
This business center in the heart of the European Quarter on Rue de la Loi has everything you need in a co-working environment: Well-equipped offices, shared spaces, and boardrooms for meetings and events. The meeting room on the ground floor can hold as many as 250 people, and there’s a terrace on the roof that accommodates 60. Check out the Gallery section on the L42 website for a virtual tour.
A co-working space for startups based in Brussels, Co.Station fosters an environment in which members help each other out wherever possible. They call it playing by the rules of the sharing economy, and the team offers training as well as an accelerator program to support selected scale-ups. In its second reincarnation, Co.Station just celebrated its first anniversary with 200 members, led by co-founders Baudouin de Troostembergh and Olivier Viaud.
Dedicated to creativity, La Venture has a photo studio with professional equipment and a relaxation area (complete with swing). Members, known as venturiers, have 24/7 access to the premises and can take part in workshops, organised trips and networking events which include wine tasting. Not bad for a place that had its grand opening less than a year ago!
Home to artists and other creatives, Studio 53 is a versatile co-working space where you can hold an art exhibition or workshop, produce a video, or work on your client’s next marketing campaign. Entrepreneurs Sarah Josis and Martin Ravets launched Studio 53 in 2013 in an art-industrial building with large rooms (and 182 windows!) that can be used for multiple purposes, including dance rehearsals, fashion shows and yoga classes.
ShareDesk is a marketplace for people looking for co-working spaces as well as for those who want to share existing office space. The platform currently boasts 4,500 venues in 440 cities across 70 countries. When you input your location (in this case Brussels), you can come up with multiple providers offering dedicated desks, private offices, meeting spaces and hot desks. Book and pay online, then head over to your office du jour.
images by: Unsplash, StartupStockPhotos