I moved to Gent in September this year and have been dealing with all the things that most of us expats deal with moving here and was thinking that I could share my experience…
The first thing that needs to be done is a city registration. Is done at the Administratief Centrum, Woodrow Wilsonplain 1. Call Protected content get an appointment, bring passport, job contract, house/apartment contract.
When you have received a confirmation paper from the Administratief Centrum that you are here legally and everything is in place, then you can open up bank accounts and all other things that you might need to live in the county.
Ing provide you with at free account, debit card and internet banking if you apply online.
When I police have confirmed that you live on the address you announced then you will get a letter sooner or later that you are welcome to participate in a couple of integration courses. One of them is getting basic language skills, it is for free. House of the Dutch Language ( Protected content ) at Kongostraat 42 offer different alternatives. Haven’t been there myself yet…
If you live in the center and have a car then you have the right to get residential parking, so you can park your car for free in certain streets close to your home. To get this sticker to your car go to Sint-Michielsplain 9, Protected content , they are open between Protected content day, wed Protected content . Bring the papper from Administratief Centrum and conformation that the car is belonging to you. If you drive a company car you need a prove from your company that you are the driver.
Easiest way to find apartment/house in the country is through Protected content . On this webpage you find both agents and private people offering their properties to you. Was a bit surprise that no one seems to have a forward planning, like available in 3 month or something, most of the properties are available NOW, so you visit the place, sign the contract and move in….Most of the contracts are 3, 6 or 9 years. The first 3 years seems to be important in the way that if you move out during your 1st year you pay 3 months’ rent as penalty fee, in 2 years 2 months penalty fee and in 3 years 1 month penalty fee and if you move after this 3 years then you just have a 3 months’ notice period. I found my apartment through an agent Center Office in Gent, who have been really nice and helped me out with stuff that they are not obligated to do. Can really recommend them. During my search for a place I stayed at AdolfHost Apartments. They offer different sizes of fully furnished apartments, parking in the building and less than 5 min walk to the city center, perfect distance when you look for a place on your own.
For internet and TV, Telenet seems to be the provider people recommend. What I understand they offer the fastest internet in the country. I sign up with them and had a guy coming out to my place already next day for installation.
For social and health cover you need to sign up with a mutualite, my manager set me up with Partena who have information and services in English. If you want an easy process with and representative coming out to you when it fits your schedule then call Katrien Vanden Waeyenbergh on her mobile Protected content Protected content . She came out to my office and explained everything, I sign and it was done. You also need a hospital insurance, Partena offers that too if your employer don’t offer it in your contract. I have it, but don’t know how common that is. Maybe that is a standard in Belgium for professionals.
If you want to visit a nice and friendly English speaking doctor (GP) you find him at Galgenberg 1, Dr Jeroen Steels.
I think that's it...enjoy Gent!