Ghent, a beautiful Flemish city, is the capital of the province of East Flanders. It has more than 250,000 inhabitants and a high population density, which is due to its area of only 157 square kilometers. If you know the local language, it is easy to live and work in Ghent.
The city’s small size makes it the perfect compromise between a large metropolis and a small town: you can bike from one place to another without having to use a car, and the completely pedestrianized old town invites you to take long walks.
Ghent has a more welcoming atmosphere than Antwerp, and most stores and cultural institutions are in the center and within walking distance. In Antwerp, they are farther away, which means a long walk or public transportation.
Ghent not only has one of the best organised public transportation networks in Europe, and buses run free on weekends, but also a widespread bicycle network in the city.
More than 10% of Ghent’s population are university students, many of them foreigners from all over the world, and the city is considered a university city with numerous world-class institutions.
The city’s central location allows you to easily reach many places in Europe (e.g. Amsterdam and Paris).
There are no “dangerous” neighborhoods in the city. Some of them have a higher crime rate than others, but in general they are all quite safe. At most, some drunks may sometimes get a little aggressive or annoying. Of course, there is crime here, as in all cities in the world. But do not look for trouble, be polite and respectful and you will hardly get into trouble.
Ghent is a city where you can feel at home from the very first moment. This is partly because you live in a small city that you can get to know in a few days. Moreover, due to the cosmopolitan character of the city, it is not difficult to integrate. Everyone speaks perfect English. Due to the large number of foreign students, it is quite easy to make friends here.
A great advantage of living in Ghent is meeting and talking with the locals. The flamencos are outgoing, respectful of people who do not speak their language, and always up for a conversation. The people of Ghent are generally friendly and helpful. They are happy to welcome new people and are willing to share experiences to help you.
Ghent is energetic and dynamic, but it is also one of the oldest cities in Belgium. For this reason, you will find a lot of history and culture everywhere. Walking through the old town is like stepping into a life-size painting. Throughout the year there are cultural events and shows, beautiful museums and art galleries.
If you expect endless sunny days, you probably will not find them in Ghent. On a typical day, you should expect lots of gray clouds and a few hours of daylight. The warmest time of day is between 10:30 and 15:00, the ideal time to be outdoors.
The standard of living is very high: Ghent guarantees a high quality of services. But the cost of living is also high. Both in Ghent and Antwerp it is very expensive to rent or buy a property, especially in good locations near the center.
Ghent is more expensive than Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The city is known for its young, modern and trendy atmosphere. It is no coincidence that it is called the hipster capital of Belgium. This has led to an increase in prices.
Public services are expensive, eating in restaurants is expensive, shopping is expensive. No wonder many drive across the French border to shop.
As for work, many expatriates work in one of the countless manufacturing companies. The technology sector is also booming. Ghent is the second largest city in Belgium in terms of the number of startups. There are still many who come here to seek their fortune in this rich city, attracted by the job opportunities. As in all cities of Flanders, the official language is Flemish (Dutch), so it is very important to know it to increase your chances. Or at least you need to know English very well to find a job in this increasingly competitive market.
In conclusion, I would say that Ghent is an enchanting city in many ways and its charm makes it a perfect place to live and work. It is a city that I would recommend to all young people who have the opportunity to spend part of their lives here.
If you want all the information on how to work in Belgium I suggest you read the article: the guide to working in Belgium
If you want all the information on how to move to Belgium you can read the article: Moving to Belgium