Living in Gent
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A comprehensive guide about living well in Gent
Gent is a lively and multicultural city: its proximity to the Netherlands influences the local culture and tradition, creating a vibrant encounter of language, customs, and lifestyles, with a beautiful architecture to boot. Find out more about life in Gent in this article.
Life in Gent
Culture and Leisure
Gent is a city full of things to see and do for expatriates. The old part of the city is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, the Flemish Béguinages and the Belfry of Gent, as well as many historic buildings and fine examples of medieval architecture, like the Saint Bavo Cathedral and the old Graslei harbor.
Gent also has a large number of museums and galleries, including the Museum voor Schone Kunsten, the Ghent City Museum, and the Design Museum. The city is also home to the ten day Ghent Festival, or “Gentse Feesten” in Dutch, which is held every year and attracts two million people. The festival is a celebration of Flemish theater, music, and culture, and is planned to coincide with a Belgian national holiday. The Ghent Festival events include Gent Jazz Festival, the Comedy Festival Gent, and the Belgian Summer Sing.
Healthcare in Gent
Expatriates living in Gent will be pleased to find out that Belgium has one of the best healthcare systems in Europe. In addition to short waiting times, excellent facilities, and a high quality of care, many doctors in the Belgian healthcare system speak English, French, Dutch, and German, so communication should not be an issue.
Healthcare in Belgium is split between public and private services, so many Belgian citizens and expatriates living in Gent will supplement their state healthcare insurance with additional private insurance to cover more expensive or delicate treatments.
Residents of Belgium are required by law to pay social security contributions, some of which pay for public healthcare insurance. As some employers sometimes also offer additional health insurance plans, make sure to enquire about this when negotiating your expat stay in Gent.
Education in Gent
Belgium has free public education for children between the ages of six and 18, and is offered in the language native to the particular region. So public schools in Gent teach in Dutch, with some schools also offering extra English lessons after normal schooling hours.
However, many expatriates often prefer to send their children to international schools instead. The only international school that would be suitable for the children of expatriates living in Gent is the International School of Ghent. As such, some expat parents in Gent opt to send their children to international schools in Brussels or Antwerp, or to schools in their home country.
In terms of higher education, the Gent University is ranked in the top 100 universities in the world, and excels in philosophy, international relations, and life sciences. Like the public schools, the majority of classes at Gent University are taught in Dutch.