mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:17 pm

Ey fellow a.netters,


So i got this job at Volvo in Ghent, Belgium and will be relocating there in the begining of next month. Now i am curious about where in Belgium you would find the best/cheapest home electronics and computer outlets (just to plan for a computer, TV, stereo etc).

Here in Sweden we have several large franchises such as Siba, OnOff and Elgiganten. Which are the largest and cheapest outlets in Belgium?

Any advice appriceated as usual.

Cheers,
 
cornish
Posts: 7651
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:05 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:45 pm

Quoting Mika (Thread starter):
Moving to Belgium. Advice needed !

Watch out for invading Germans to the East  Wink
Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
 
Scorpio
Posts: 4797
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 10:57 pm

Largest would probably be Van den Borre. Doubt if they're the cheapest though. If I were you I'd stick with the local businesses, not the large franchises: prices will probably be similar, but support afterwards is usually better.

Hope you enjoy our little country! Gent is a great town!
 
manni
Posts: 4049
Joined: Thu Nov 08, 2001 1:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:26 pm

Mediamarkt would probaply the cheapest, but their prices vary from store to store, and I doubt the after service is anything to write home about.

Van den Borre is a nice chain. If you're arriving in januari, it's sales season. Before I moved to Korea in July, it was sales season aswell, I was in urgent need of a new notebook to take with me to Korea (electronic goods are far more expensive in Korea than in Belgium, even for local brands), Van den Borre had the best price on the model I wanted. Because it was sales season, I managed to talk another 10% of the price.

All electronic goods sold in Belgium wil have a minimum guarantee of 2 years.

BTW, I you need furniture, you'll feel like home... There's always IKEA  Silly
SUPPORT THE LEBANESE CIVILIANS
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:41 pm

Quoting Mika (Thread starter):
So i got this job at Volvo in Ghent, Belgium and will be relocating there in the begining of next month

I have only one warning to give you about Ghent - if you go to the restaurant Belga Queen be sure to lock the toilet cubicle properly if you need to go - the doors are made of glass which is transparent and only turns opaque once you have closed the door and locked it properly .

It can be very embarassing ( to you and to others ) if you think you have locked it properly but haven't .... trust me on this one  blush 
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 07, 2005 11:55 pm

Quoting Cornish (Reply 1):
Watch out for invading Germans to the East

 bigthumbsup  bigthumbsup  I'll make sure to do that , thanks for the headsup, i'll keep my eyes open for the dutch and french also  Smile


Thanks for the tips guys, much appriceated! I looked around the Media Markt site and failed to find any good examples of their prices. Someone currently living in Belgium; how much is their cheapest stationary PC and laptop? I could imagine somewhere in the €500-650 range (based on how much they cost here in Sweden).
 
Banco
Posts: 14343
Joined: Mon Oct 29, 2001 11:56 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:04 am

Quoting Cornish (Reply 1):
Watch out for invading Germans to the East

Needn't be a problem. Merely provide them with a motorway to get to France and they'll not bother to stop.  Wink
She's as nervous as a very small nun at a penguin shoot.
 
Bikergirl
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:04 am

Best deals for electronics are definitely in mediamarket or the big chains like carrefour or aldi/Lidl also give some good promotions from time to time.
For sound equipment and telephones/GSM you should try Geronika.
For Household equipment go for Hugo van Praag.

BTW I think Gent (and not Ghent) is one of the nicest cities in Belgium, very beautiful, good nightlife, lots of young people and the infamous "Gentse feesten" in the summer, 10 days party time in the summer time with last year over 2000.000 visitors.

I hope you'll learn to like it here and get used to the weather.
Welcome in Belgium


Nathalie
 
Bikergirl
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:09 am

Quoting Mika (Reply 5):
Someone currently living in Belgium; how much is their cheapest stationary PC and laptop? I could imagine somewhere in the �500-650 range (based on how much they cost here in Sweden).

The cheapest ones must be about the same.
But don't forget Aldi /lidl and carrefour, they get these packages out every so many weeks that start at 350� and for that you get a decent new computer and a good service is also provided.
 
cornish
Posts: 7651
Joined: Fri Feb 18, 2005 8:05 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 12:11 am

Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
Needn't be a problem. Merely provide them with a motorway to get to France and they'll not bother to stop.

Not even German Tanks could get through a Belgian motorway traffic jam at any speed these days Big grin
Just when I thought I could see light at the end of the tunnel, it was some B*****d with a torch bringing me more work
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:58 am

Thank you all for all the advice you've given, it is really appriceated. Now to something else, as of yet i haven't found a suitable apartment for myself but have sent some mails to some companies asking about their flats and rents but to no avail.

I would be very pleased if you guys could just write down all the web adresses and/or phone numbers and info about any decent real estate company that you can think of, i do really need an at least partly furnished apartment but that's nothing that makes or brakes it, main thing is that i would have 4 walls and a roof over my head to begin with  Smile

Once again, i am very thankful for all help i can get with this stuff.
 
NoUFO
Posts: 7397
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2001 7:40 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:34 am

Quoting Cornish (Reply 1):
Watch out for invading Germans to the East



Quoting Banco (Reply 6):
Needn't be a problem. Merely provide them with a motorway to get to France and they'll not bother to stop.



Quoting Cornish (Reply 9):
Not even German Tanks could get through a Belgian motorway traffic jam at any speed these days

I'll be quick-witted in about 2.5 hours. Big grin
I support the right to arm bears
 
sudden
Posts: 3934
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2001 5:20 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Thu Dec 08, 2005 4:21 pm

GRATTIS TILL NYA JOBBET!  champagne 

I would say Mediamarkt. Here in Holland you can find good quality for a good price.

Quoting Bikergirl (Reply 7):
Lidl also give some good promotions from time to time.

Do not buy any electronics from LIDL if you are looking for quality.
Sure, you can buy a DVD player for 50 €, but then?
It breaks down before you even connect it, most likely.

Aim for the sky!
Sudden
When in doubt, flat out!
 
kingsford
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:26 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:41 am

visit www.immoscan.be and good luck !

Oh boy, do we need anymore swedes in Belgium ?  no   wink 

And can't you bring your own cheap electrical stuff with ya, mate ?

To buy cheap electrical stuff, there is also Krefel.

Enjoy Belgium and take the time to discover before judging. My best advice to you is not to stay within a swedish community, just go out there and mingle. And if you miss swedish meat balls there is always an IKEA in Ternat.

Welcome !
 
RobertNL070
Posts: 4160
Joined: Mon Sep 22, 2003 4:29 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Fri Dec 09, 2005 4:50 am

Quoting Mika (Reply 5):
i'll keep my eyes open for the dutch

Very sensible.

As has already been mentioned, MediaMarkt - a large German discounter. Their aftersales service would probably leave much to be desired, but electronic goods are so reliable nowadays - it shouldn't be a concern.

Regards, Robert  bouncy 
Youth is a gift of nature. Age is a work of art.
 
Bikergirl
Posts: 56
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2005 6:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Fri Dec 09, 2005 5:26 am

Fro real estate and a lot of other stuff

koopjeskrant.be
hebbes.be
immoweb.be
kapaza.com
....
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Fri Dec 09, 2005 1:26 pm

Quoting Kingsford (Reply 13):
And can't you bring your own cheap electrical stuff with ya, mate ?

I'll just leave all my stuff here in my parents apartment in Sweden..i don't want to take it all with me, it just would feel like a too big of a thing.. i rather just start my own small life in Belgium and keep what life i have here in Sweden at the same time..i will be visiting Sweden not too seldom i think.

Quoting Kingsford (Reply 13):
Enjoy Belgium and take the time to discover before judging.

I did spend some days in both Gent (thanks for correcting me bikergirl  Smile and Brussels when i had the interview for the job..so it's not completely unknown to me. I did like both cities even if Brussels is more my kind of a city i think..i am a big city kind of guy..Gent however was one of the most beautiful cities i have ever visited, i was completely overwhelmed by all the large cathedrals and beautiful buldings, the Belfry, Sint baafs kathedraal, Sint Jacobs kathedraal etc..very very breathtaking masterpieces of bulding all of them.

What surprised me alot though was the fact that whilst 9 out of 10 people in Gent spoke dutch, 9 out 10 in Brussels spoke french. It was like travelling from one country to another! I am really curious to how the educational system in Belgium is built up in regard to language learning, do all children throughout the country learn both french and dutch in school? Or how is it set up? To me who is a complete outsider it seems very difficult to learn both french and dutch as a mother tounge, as they are very different (at least seems to me who don't know them that well). What is the real deal with the Belgian mother tounge? Which is the official language, or are both the official languages?

Quoting Kingsford (Reply 13):
Oh boy, do we need anymore swedes in Belgium ?

Can you ever have enough Swedes in ANY country is my question  Wink

Quoting Sudden (Reply 12):
GRATTIS TILL NYA JOBBET!

Tack Sudden! Tack så mycket  Smile
 
kingsford
Posts: 403
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2003 6:26 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Sat Dec 10, 2005 1:48 am

Having three different national languages is a big, costly mess. You don't want to know. Just speak english and everybody will be happy. I speak french and dutch fluently but not everybody is like that far from it.

Soon Swedish will be a national language here as well if we are not careful.

ta-ta
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Sat Dec 10, 2005 2:03 am

Quoting Mika (Reply 16):
What surprised me alot though was the fact that whilst 9 out of 10 people in Gent spoke dutch, 9 out 10 in Brussels spoke french. It was like travelling from one country to another! I am really curious to how the educational system in Belgium is built up in regard to language learning, do all children throughout the country learn both french and dutch in school? Or how is it set up? To me who is a complete outsider it seems very difficult to learn both french and dutch as a mother tounge, as they are very different (at least seems to me who don't know them that well). What is the real deal with the Belgian mother tounge? Which is the official language, or are both the official languages?

it confused the hell out of me when I first arrived - I probably have still got it wrong - but the situation as I understand it is :

there are three official languages
Flemish spoken by about 6 million people as first language
German spoken by about 300 000 people as first language
French spoken by the rest
there is also Bruxellois but since it's practically extinct ( waits for flames)
let's forget that and not confuse the issue .


Belgium is split into three parts - on linguistic lines - but not as above
Flanders officially monolingual in Flemish
Wallonia officially monolingual in French
Brussels region officially bilingual in Flemish / French ( but in practice around 80% Francophone as first language )


most of the Flemish can speak French but would rather die than admit it
some of the Francophone Belgians ( NEVER call them French) can speak Flemish - but they would die rather than admit it
almost all of them speak English at a standard which puts my French to shame ( and I am too embarrassed to talk about my Flemish )
When I first arrived here I took immersion French - the teachers were actually all French rather than Francophone Belgians and one of them was truly surprised to be told that English is not an official language here - I can understand her surprise because it is everywhere .

I saw a very funny email on the BBC website the other week which I have put below for your entertainment .


English is very much the 'lingua franca' of Brussels. The first TV programme I ever watched in Brussels in 2001 - having persuaded the local cable company to eventually hook me up - was Miss Belgian Beauty. Not my usual "cup of tea" but I switched on at the point in the show where the contestants were being asked to show their brain power with some interesting questions. The contestants were roughly equally split between Flemish and French speakers and each was asked question alternatively in French and then flemish. I was not at the time (like most Brits) quite aware of the "tension" between the main linguistic communities in Belgium (and don't forget the German speakers in the east of the country as well), but became fascinated as most of the "French" contestants answered their French question in French but their Flemish questions in English. In constrast the Flemish contestants answered their Flemish question in Flemish whlie pretty much all of them answered the French questions in english! When shopping, the first rule - is to determine the primary language of the person serving you. Persisting in speaking French to some Flemish speakers can result in a less than perfect customer experience. Also bear in mind that to a native French-speaking belgian most English attempts at French sound distinctly Flemish!



sincere apologies to any Belgians I may have offended with the above observations
 
Scorpio
Posts: 4797
Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2001 3:48 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Sat Dec 10, 2005 6:36 am

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 18):
German spoken by about 300 000 people as first language

One too many zeros there, I believe  Wink It's actually just 30 000. It's just a few villages in the east of the country that became part of Belgium after World War One.

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 18):
most of the Flemish can speak French but would rather die than admit it
some of the Francophone Belgians ( NEVER call them French) can speak Flemish - but they would die rather than admit it

Hehe  Smile True to a certain extent: Older Flemish people's French is generally better than that of the younger generations, because of the 'Francophone' dominance of the past. Since the dominance has since shifted north to Flanders, the interest in French has gone down quite a bit (and made room for English). older Wallon people hardly ever speak Dutch, while the younger generation tends to be better at it (for the same reasons above).

As for education: a large majority of Flemish students have French as a second language at school, starting at age 10. Not sure how exactly it is in Wallonia.

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 18):
sincere apologies to any Belgians I may have offended with the above observations

No need, nothing in there that could be considered offensive  Smile
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 21, 2005 4:54 pm

Thank you guys and gals for all the advice, it was much appriceated!


Now as i have been talking to some landlords i have been quite surprised to find out about this bail system that seems to be in use in Belgium. To me it is a completely new concept to pay 1-3 months rent in advance as a bail and frankly it sets me back abit as i do not have loads of money on me when i leave.

Is there any way around this thing, approx how many belgian landlords do not use this system? Or is it a practice throughout all of the housing market?

Thankful for any help.
 
LOT767-300ER
Posts: 8526
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2001 12:57 pm

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:07 pm

Damn!

Im starting to forget about how we get raped in Europe for electronics! Euro50 buys you a nice Sony or Panasonic DVD player here in the states in CircuitCity where I work at. Hell, a cheap non-brand DVD player is $25.99, and even that lasts a bit.

Quoting Mika (Thread starter):
Here in Sweden we have several large franchises such as Siba, OnOff and Elgiganten. Which are the largest and cheapest outlets in Belgium?

Dell  Silly j/k

Seriously speaking, MediaMarkt has a good reputation in Poland for selling quality non-stolen goods  Silly err...Yes...
 
kiwiandrew

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 21, 2005 5:33 pm

Quoting Mika (Reply 20):
Now as i have been talking to some landlords i have been quite surprised to find out about this bail system that seems to be in use in Belgium. To me it is a completely new concept to pay 1-3 months rent in advance as a bail and frankly it sets me back abit as i do not have loads of money on me when i leave.

Is there any way around this thing, approx how many belgian landlords do not use this system? Or is it a practice throughout all of the housing market?

so far as I know it is common practice - from what I have been told they usually find a way to avoid paying it back to you when you leave too - they will do you for absurd things like pinholes in the walls or a tiny chip out of the parquet flooring - beware the 'expert' who writes up his/her report on the premises before you move in and then again when you leave - have someone translate the report for you and go through it in fine detail - you have about 10 days to challenge anything that you think is missing - any damage that is not listed there you will have to pay for when you leave - there is no concept of 'fair wear and tear' the place has to be exactly how it was when you arrived regardless of whether you have been there 10 minutes or 10 years . Be very careful that you are sure of the place - it is no simple matter once you have leased it to break the lease and move elsewhere - with a three year lease if you break it in the first year you must pay a penalty of three months rent - an acquaintance of mine arrived here from France , leased an apartment , met a Belgian girl and three months later wanted to move in with her and give up his apartment ... he must really really really love her , because it cost him a fortune
 
mika
Posts: 2810
Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2000 7:53 am

RE: Moving To Belgium. Advice Needed!

Wed Dec 21, 2005 6:09 pm

Quoting Kiwiandrew (Reply 22):
so far as I know it is common practice - from what I have been told they usually find a way to avoid paying it back to you when you leave too - they will do you for absurd things like pinholes in the walls or a tiny chip out of the parquet flooring - beware the 'expert' who writes up his/her report on the premises before you move in and then again when you leave - have someone translate the report for you and go through it in fine detail - you have about 10 days to challenge anything that you think is missing - any damage that is not listed there you will have to pay for when you leave - there is no concept of 'fair wear and tear' the place has to be exactly how it was when you arrived regardless of whether you have been there 10 minutes or 10 years . Be very careful that you are sure of the place - it is no simple matter once you have leased it to break the lease and move elsewhere - with a three year lease if you break it in the first year you must pay a penalty of three months rent - an acquaintance of mine arrived here from France , leased an apartment , met a Belgian girl and three months later wanted to move in with her and give up his apartment ... he must really really really love her , because it cost him a fortune

No wonder there are so many avialable apartments in Belgium  Wink


You have to queue for years to get a good rent contract in the larger cities here in Sweden, if you dont buy it ilegally from some landlord with a roomy concience that is. I was surprised to see so many empty apartments in Gent, i still am actually.

Anyways, thanks for the tips above, now i know better than the average joe expat hiring an apartment, thank you.

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