I'm intending to start a working holiday in Europe in July, and I'm already in discussions about a couple of jobs, but I'm just wondering what the cost of living is like. The direct conversion to NZD looks great, but I'm pretty sure it will be much more expensive to live. I'm a qualified teacher, but I will probably take up nanny work overseas, so rent and utilities won't be relevant, but clothing, travel, entertainment etc. How much is a pint of beer for example?! I've looked at a couple of comparison sites such as easyexpat.com, but their information on the cost of living in NZ was so outdated I didn't really trust it!
Any help appreciated!
I travel to Belgium and Holland (one of it's very close next door neighbours) regularly for both work and play.
Even though you say renting and utilities probably won't be an issue, just in case.... Brussels is quite an expensive city for renting a reasonable place. A two bed apartment with bath, shower, kitchen and lounge will set you back around €500+ a month, as long as you're not right in the city centre.
There are seven cities in Belgium with over 100,000 people.. Brussels, Antwerp (Antwerpen), Ghent, Charleroi, Liege, Brugge and Namur. Brussels is nearly 100% French speaking, Antwerp and Ghent are Flemish (a dialect of Dutch). Two totally different languages altogether. Brussels is by far the largest city, Antwerp is the clear (by a long way) second largest, with Ghent - third.
There are many teaching outlets in Antwerp for overseas visitors (obviously, you know about all the legal documentation that you must have, to legally work).
Private Nannying is probably a much better bet for work than teaching English, as most people under the age of about 50 speak English as a second language, very well - throughout the whole country and the different language regions.
There are many websites which are freely available to give you more insight into living in the big Belgian cities.
Incidentally, beer is about the same price. From the supermarket, like just in about every country in Western Europe - it is a lot cheaper than in the bars. In Eastern Europe, the price is pretty much the same whether from a shop or in a local bar - avoiding the tourist areas, but in the West it varies considerably.
A meal out in Belgium in a typical restaurant will set you back about €15 - €20, plus the cost of any booze. A small beer is around €3 - €4 and a decent bottle of wine around €12. In a bar (without food) expect to pay around €1.50 - €2.20 for a small beer and around €3 for a glass of wine.
I am living in Neerpelt, Belgium, near the border of the Neterhands.
the prices witch are displayed above are quiet good, but if you are traveling to a big city, Brussels, Antwerpen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, ... than you pay most likly 50% more, but since you plan to stay longer in the same place you will learn the cheaper restaurants and cafe. Also in these citys there are student bars where you can have a decent meal verry cheap, but I don't know where they are exactly. only the beers on a restaurant € 3 - 4 it's more like € 1,5 - 4
In general the Netherlands is more expencive than belgium.
If you need any more help or have any questions, feel free to ask me.
Translation in dutch, perhaps you can learn something from it
Ik woon in Neerpelt, België, aan de grens met nederland.
De prijzen zoals hierboven vermeld zijn redelijk accuraat, maar als je naar grotere steden, Brussel, Antwerpen, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, ... dan betaal je meestal 50% meer, maar omdat je langer blijft op de zelfde plaats, zal je snel de goedkopere restaurants en cafees leren kennen. Ook zijn er studenten cafees in deze steden, waar je goed kunt eten voor weinig geld, maar helaas weet ik niet precies waar ze zijn. Enkel een bier op restaurant € 3 - 4 zal meer naar € 1,5 - 4.
Over het algemeen is Nederland iets duurder dan België.
Als je nog meer hulp nodig hebt of je hebt nog vragen, vraag maar.
calculating the cost of living in a country is quite difficult, as you can see from the other replies. Prie levels throughout western Europe are in general quite similar, with some exceptions like higher prices in the (heart of the) big cities, and in general higher prices for alcohol based products in countries with high taxes on alcoholic beverages like in northern countries.
Supermarkets in Belgium are usually much better stocked then those in The Netherlands (our 'closest neigbour'), because Belgians like a rather luxurious lifestyle and for food appreciate a lot of variation. Prices in The Netherlands are however a bit lower.
There are still places where you can get a beer (250 ml glass) for 2 €, but if it's a 330 ml glass of a tp rated beer in a fancy place in Antwerp it will more likely be 5€ or more.
The whole concept of 'nannies' does exist in Belgium, but there is a limited market for it because of the social regulations. Anyone working in Belgium needs to work for an agency, or can do so privately, but has to pay social taxes. These are incredibly high, but do offer in return full healthcare coverage, pension, unemployment benefits and so on. Because the administration is so difficult, and not available in English, most foreigners work via an agency. Theoretically you could also work 'illegally' without paying taxes, but that is to be avoided : it's illegal, and you are in no way protected.
Travellers from Australia, New Zealand and quite a lot of other countries tend to find Belgium a 'complicated' country. I'm not referring to politics (that's a hot story at the moment, but let's skip the details), but rather to all the rules and regulations concerning work.
Brussels is a multicultural city, with many nice areas and a very rich cultural life. But beware ; it is not one city but a conglomeration of 19 small communes that are not very well run. There are quite a lot of security issues lately in several parts of town, and the whole place doesn't feel fresh and clean. The medium sized flemish cities are safer, cleaner, but also smaller and less cosmopolitan. Because of the decent railway network you'll never be far from the big cities however. So have alook at cities like Mechelen, Kortrijk, Brugge, Hasselt and Leuven : not too small, still an international community, fresh and safe, and max 75 minuts from Antwerp or Brussels (20 minutes in the case of Leuven or Mechelen). Gent might be the perfect 'mix' of it all.
The market for short-rent appartments or studios is quite limited. Most owners will propose a 3 year rent at a decent rate, but renting for 1 year or less will drive you into the arms of very commercial owners or low quality housing.
Clothing is not really cheaper or more expensive then elwewhere in western Europe. Antwerp has a thriving 'fashion' community, and a day of shopping in The Netherlands, Germany , France or the UK is very well possible.
thanks for all the info!
I'm going to plan on about 100 Euros a week being plenty, given I will have accomodation and food provided and all that sort of stuff provided.