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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Mechelen 2024
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7 Tips for Living in Mechelen

By Joshua Wood, LPC

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Summary: Advice for people moving to Mechelen or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to Mechelen or thinking about moving there.

Living in Mechelen as an expat or digital nomad can be an exciting and enriching experience. This charming city, located between Brussels and Antwerp, offers a unique blend of history, culture, and modern amenities. Here are seven key tips to help you make the most of your time in Mechelen.

1. Explore the City's Rich History

Mechelen is a city steeped in history, with roots dating back to the Roman era. Spend some time exploring the city's historic sites, such as the Saint Rumbold's Cathedral, the Palace of Margaret of Austria, and the Mechelen Beguinage. These sites offer a glimpse into the city's past and its importance during the Middle Ages. The city's museums, including the Museum Hof van Busleyden and the Kazerne Dossin, also offer fascinating insights into local history and culture.

2. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Belgium is known for its delicious food, and Mechelen is no exception. Be sure to try local specialties like Mechelse koekoek (a chicken dish), Mechelse asparagus, and of course, Belgian waffles and chocolates. There are many excellent restaurants in Mechelen where you can sample these delicacies. Some popular options include Restaurant Centpourcent, De Kraanbrug, and Sava. Don't forget to pair your meal with a local beer, as Belgium is famous for its wide variety of brews.

3. Get to Know the Neighborhoods

Mechelen is divided into several neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. The city center, known as Grote Markt, is the heart of Mechelen, with its stunning architecture, bustling shops, and lively cafes. The Mechelen-Zuid neighborhood is known for its green spaces and is a great place for those who enjoy outdoor activities. The Nekkerspoel area, on the other hand, is famous for its vibrant arts scene. Spend some time exploring these neighborhoods to find the one that suits your lifestyle and preferences best.

4. Take Advantage of the City's Green Spaces

Mechelen is home to several beautiful parks and green spaces. The Vrijbroek Park is a popular spot for walking, cycling, and picnicking. The Kruidtuin, or Botanical Garden, is a peaceful oasis in the city center. The Planckendael Zoo, located just outside the city, is a great place for a family outing. These green spaces offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

5. Learn the Local Language

While many people in Mechelen speak English, learning the local language can greatly enhance your experience. Dutch is the official language of Mechelen, and taking the time to learn even a few basic phrases can help you connect with locals and navigate daily life more easily. There are several language schools in the city that offer Dutch courses for foreigners.

6. Embrace the Local Culture

Belgians are known for their love of festivals and celebrations, and Mechelen has its fair share of these events. The Maanrock festival, the largest free music festival in Belgium, takes place in Mechelen every August. The city also hosts a Christmas market, a beer festival, and a variety of cultural events throughout the year. Participating in these events is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and meet new people.

7. Get Involved in the Community

Finally, getting involved in the local community can make your time in Mechelen even more rewarding. There are many opportunities to volunteer, join clubs, or participate in community events. Research groups and organizations that align with your interests and get involved. This not only allows you to give back to the community, but also helps you make connections and build a social network in your new city.

Living in Mechelen as an expat or digital nomad can be a wonderful adventure. By exploring the city's history, enjoying its cuisine, getting to know its neighborhoods, taking advantage of its green spaces, learning the local language, embracing the local culture, and getting involved in the community, you can truly make the most of your time in this charming Belgian city.

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Traveling Mailbox serves thousands of travelers, expats, digital nomads, businesses, individuals and others in over 47 Countries by scanning their postal mail so they can view it online anywhere in the world. They provide customer service 7 days a week so if you need assistance, it is just a phone call away. Traveling Mailbox works with Evernote, Bill.com and Dropbox. And, there are Traveling Mailbox apps available for iOS and Android devices.
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About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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