Expatica news

Belgians ‘don’t know their neighbours’

25 May 2005

BRUSSELS – A half of Belgians don’t know their neighbours, according to a survey reported on Wednesday.

News agency Belga said the magazine ‘Reader’s Digest’ had commissioned the investigation which also found 13 percent of Belgians were annoyed by their neighbours.

If residents in Brussels were discounted from the results, as many as 24 percent of Belgians had problems with the people who live near them. Noise, bad smells and problems related to gardening are the biggest source of grievances.

When they have a problem two-thirds go directly to talk to their neighbour about the problem and almost a third (28 percent) say they sometimes call the police if a solution isn’t found.

In 7 percent of cases, those interviewed said they had moved house because of neighbours from hell.

Not all neighbourly relations are negative, however, with the survey showing 40 percent have a friendly relationship with at least one neighbour and 70 percent claiming they are happy with the way they get on with their neighbours.

For a third of Belgians, their neighbours make their homes feel more secure, a figure that is even higher in villages.

Almost half of those surveyed could give all the names of the children in the neighbourhood and almost 38 percent know what their neighbours do for a living.

In general, older residents have more contact with those who live near them.

Although three-quarters of those surveyed said they didn’t think it was necessary that they had more contact with those living nearby, a quarter of neighbourhoods had organised get-togethers – attended by 88 percent of the residents.

Almost 58 percent say they sometimes chat with those who live nearby, but paying a visit to a neighbour’s home is much rarer.

Ninety percent of Belgians, though, help out their neighbours by lending them things, looking after their pets and helping out with DIY. Almost 15 percent of those surveyed trust a neighbour with a spare key.

[Copyright Expatica 2005]

Subject: Belgian news