You can be assured of the highest-quality medical care in Belgium, regarded on a par with the best healthcare systems in Europe. As in most countries, the system divides itself into state and private, though fees are payable in both, so you need to ensure that you are adequately covered through either the state insurance and/or private insurance. The advantages of the state mutuelle/mutualiteit scheme is that you can choose any doctor, clinic or hospital you like, in any location and without referral, according to your needs, in much the same way as you can with private insurance.
General practitioners can be found in private practices or attached to clinics and hospitals and you have the freedom of to consult or register with whom ever you choose, as with specialist consultants. The decision is often based on location, language or recommendation. It’s always worth speaking to your neighbours or colleagues when you first arrive; everyone knows of a doctor, or has heard of one with a good reputation. Also try asking on the expatica.com social community. Embassies usually keep lists of doctors who can work in your language, though it is worth noting that most doctors have a good understanding of English. It’s always worth checking whether a doctor is registered in the national health service (conventionné/geconventioneerd) or private. The state mutuelle/mutualiteit scheme allows patients to choose their healthcare provider as long as they confirm the provider is registered with one of the insurance companies. Check the golden pages directory for an entire list of doctors in your area. Some doctors are both public and private, possibly working at a hospital and also in their own private practice. One thing to remember is to take cash with you. Consultations usually end with a cash payment, as very few doctors offer payment by card of any type. If you have state social security, reimbursement rates are calculated but only after you’ve paid up front. If you are on a private scheme, or are uninsured, you will pay the whole lot there and then. Therefore it’s always worth checking fees before you book an appointment.
The majority of dentists in Belgium are private, though there are those who accept part-payment on state insurance. Dentists in Belgium have an agreed fee scale agreement, known as the convention with the social security, which sets the level of reimbursement for patients for basic treatment. Make it a priority to check when registering, as the fee differentials can be huge. For any specialist work, such as crowns and bridges, the dentist may well ask how you will pay and offer you different quotations. To qualify for health insurance reimbursement you’ll need to visit the dentist at least once a year. In the big cities, Brussels in particular, there are international dentistry practices, though they can be considerably more expensive.
As with general practitioners, you can arrange to see a specialist of your choice at any hospital. You can also walk into ‘emergency outpatients’ for immediate treatment; though as in other countries, do not use this as a GP replacement. You should remember to have your insurance card or other identifiable means of payment with you, though emergency treatment will not be refused if you don’t. If you’re going into hospital for a stay, take everything you need – towel and soap included – as nothing is provided. In Brussels the eleven big public hospitals are organized under the Iris association (www.iris-hopitaux.be)
In the event of an emergency you can call 100 or 112 and an ambulance will arrive quickly and take you to the nearest emergency centre. When you call they will need to know the type of emergency, address (municipality, street, house number, locality etc.) and the number of people in danger. Sometimes, a decision may be made to admit you to the best centre suited for your needs e.g. a specialist burns unit.
Chemists are ubiquitous in Belgium – look for outlets with the green cross sign. There is a rota system for chemists to open outside of usual hours and throughout the night. Lists are available from any pharmacy, or check newspapers in your area for chemists that are open at night.
Visit www.iris-hopitaux.be for a full listing of hospitals in Belgium.
Algemeen Centrum Ziekenhuis Antwerpen –
Campus St-Elisabeth | 03 234 4111
Leopoldstraat 26 - 2000 Antwerp
Algemeen Centrum Ziekenhuis Antwerpen –
Campus St-Erasmus | 03 270 8011
Luitenant Lippenslaan - 2140 Antwerp (Borgerhout)
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Middelheim
03 280 3111
Lindendreef 1- 2020 Antwerp
Algemeen Ziekenhuis St. Augustinus –
St. Bavo - St. Augustinus | 03 443 3011
Sint-Augustinuslaan - 2610 Wilrijk-Antwerp
Koningin Paola KinderZiekenhuis Antwerpen
(Children’s Hospital) | 03 280 3111
Lindendreef 1- 2020 Antwerp
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Brugmann
Site Victor Horta (there are three different sites for Brugmann, this is the main one)
02 477 2111
place Van Gehuchten 4 - 1020 Brussels
Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Saint-Pierre
02 535 3111
rue Haute 322 - 1000 Brussels
Centre Hospitalier Etterbeek-Ixelles
02 641 4111
rue Jean Paquot 63 - 1050 Brussels
Clinique du Parc Leopold
CHIREC | 02 287 50 45
rue Froissart 38 - 1040 Brussels
Institut Médical Edith Cavell
CHIREC | 02 340 4040
rue Edith Cavell 32 - 1180 Brussels
Universitair Ziekenhuis Brussel
02 477 4111
Laarbeeklaan 101 - 1090 Brussels
Cliniques Universitaires St Luc UCL
02 764 1111
avenue Hippocrate 10 - 1200 Brussels
Cliniques de l’Europe - St Elisabeth
02 614 2000
avenue De Fré 206 - 1180 Bruxelles
Cliniques de l’Europe - St Michel
02 614 3000
rue de Linthoutstraat 150 - 1040 Brussels
Hôpital Erasme ULB
02 555 3111
route de Lennik 808 - 1070 Brussels
Hôpital Universitaire Des Enfants Reine Fabiola (Children’s Hospital)
02 477 3311
rue J.J. Crocq 15 - 1020 Brussels
Institute Jules Bordet
02 541 3111
boulevard de Waterloo 121 - 1000 Brussels
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Maria Middelares
09 260 6060
Kliniekstraat 27 - 9000 Gent
Algemeen Ziekenhuis Sint-Lucas
09 224 6111
Groenebriel 1 - 9000 Gent
AZ Jan Palfijn
09 224 7111
Henri Dunantlaan 5 - 9000 Gent
University Hospital of Gent
09 332 2111
De Pintelaan 185 - 9000 Gent
Centre Hospitalier Régional de la Citadelle
04 225 6111
boulevard du Douzième de Ligne, 1 - 4000 Liège
Groupe Hospitalier Saint-Joseph-Espérance
04 224 8111
rue de Hesbaye 75 - 4000 Liège
Centre Hospitalière Universitaire de Liège
04 366 7111
Domaine du Sart-Tilman, Bat B 35 - 4000 Liège
The number of health and fitness clubs in Brussels has increased significantly in recent years. Many are connected to hotels and are at the top end of the market. Before parting with a stash of cash though, check out what your local commune offers as well as the smaller independent gyms and fitness centres in your neighbourhood, some of which will run weekly classes including the increasingly popular Zumba sessions.
Ashtanga Yoga Institute of Brussels
02 340 6781
610, chaussée d’Alsemberg, 1180 Brussels
Ashtanga gives a good work out as well as increasing suppleness. This centre offers courses at all levels – mainly in French, but in English on request.
02 508 0800
26 rue de l’Industrie, 1040 Brussels
Aspria’s centre-piece is a 21-metre swimming pool, but it also offers a gym, health spa and beauty treatments next door. Its location means it is clearly aimed at the EU and executive crowd.
Aspria Avenue Louise
02 610 4066
71B avenue Louise, 1050 Brussels
If you’ve got deep pockets, then your money will be well spent at this ultimate pampering spot in the posh Conrad Hotel. Everything here is five-star; the pool, the gym, the fitness rooms and the beauty treatments.
Aspria Royal La Rasante
02 609 1902
56 rue Sombre, 1200 Brussels
Aspria Royal La Rasante is recognized for its sporting history and is a family-oriented club where members can take advantage of the landscaped gardens and outdoor activities.
Corpus Studios Flagey
02 513 0766
33 rue Borrens, 1050 Brussels
Corpus Studios Caroly
02 513 0766
33 rue Caroly, 1050 Brussels
Kelly McKinnon started Corpus in 2000 and offers Pilates, Gyrotonics and yoga in collective, private and semi-private tuition; mat-work and apparatus. Classes are offered in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Greek.
David Lloyd Uccle
02 379 3200
41 Dreve de Lorraine, 1180 Brussels
This complex has 11 tennis courts, squash courts, two swimming pools and fitness rooms.
Physical Golden Club
0489 59 19 69
33 Place du Chatelain, 1050 Brussels
This is a serious gym for those interested in serious workouts, so don’t expect the luxury of some of capital’s more pampering health clubs.
02 773 1820
2 avenue Salomé, Woluwe St Pierre
For EUR 3.50 admission, you can enjoy an Olympic-size swimming pool, tennis and squash, as well as saunas, baths and steam rooms. More than 30 different sports are catered for at Sportcity.
02 280 0270
13 rue Bonneels, 1210 Brussels
Popular with the EU crowd, this friendly no-nonsense club has nine glass-fronted squash courts, aerobic rooms and a climbing wall.
World Class Health Academy
02 505 2929
19 rue du Parnasse, 1050 Brussels
Also in Diegem, Antwerp and Berchem Caters largely to expense-account executives and EU civil servants.
02 400 0096
47 Bvd St-Michel, 1040 Brussels
This company provides wellness services to individuals and companies, offering turnkey or tailor-made solutions in terms of incentives, gifts, rewards, team building or corporate wellness.
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