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Retire in Antwerp Guide

If Antwerp is on your retirement radar, our detailed Retire in Antwerp Guide is your go-to resource. Delve into the crucial aspects of life here, including living costs, climate, housing options, healthcare services, and residency procedures. We also explore the city's social dynamics, volunteering scenes, transportation, and how walkable its neighborhoods are.
|-Retire in Antwerp Guide

Antwerp is a city that has been attracting international retirees for years. Known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and high quality of life, Antwerp offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern amenities. Retirees are drawn to the city’s beautiful architecture, world-class healthcare, and friendly locals. However, like any city, Antwerp also presents its own set of challenges, including a high cost of living and the need to learn a new language.

Living Expenses in Antwerp

Antwerp is not the cheapest city in Belgium, but it offers a high standard of living. The cost of housing, groceries, and utilities are generally higher than the national average. However, retirees can find affordable options if they are willing to live a bit outside the city center. Public transportation is efficient and affordable, which can help offset some of these costs.

Climate Throughout the Year

Antwerp has a temperate maritime climate, with mild summers and cool winters. The city experiences rainfall throughout the year, with the heaviest precipitation occurring in the late summer and early fall. Despite the rain, Antwerp is known for its beautiful parks and outdoor spaces, which can be enjoyed year-round.

Healthcare Facilities

Belgium is known for its high-quality healthcare system, and Antwerp is no exception. The city is home to several top-rated hospitals and clinics, and retirees will find no shortage of excellent doctors and specialists. Many healthcare professionals in Antwerp speak English, which can make navigating the healthcare system easier for international retirees.

Public Healthcare System

Belgium’s public healthcare system is accessible to all residents, including international retirees. However, it’s important to note that while the public healthcare system covers a large portion of medical costs, it does not cover everything. Many retirees choose to supplement their coverage with private health insurance.

Residency Options

Belgium offers several residency options for retirees, including long-term visas and permanent residency. The process can be complex, so it’s recommended that retirees seek legal advice before applying.

Recreational Activities

Antwerp is a city that loves to celebrate, and there are numerous festivals and events throughout the year. The city is also home to beautiful parks, world-class museums, and a vibrant arts scene. For food lovers, Antwerp offers a wide range of restaurants, from traditional Belgian fare to international cuisine.

Language Learning Opportunities

While Dutch is the official language of Antwerp, many locals also speak English. However, learning Dutch can greatly enhance your experience in Antwerp. There are several language schools in the city, such as the Berlitz Language Center, that offer Dutch courses for all levels.

Local Culture

Antwerpians are known for their friendliness and hospitality. They are proud of their city and are always willing to share their knowledge and love for Antwerp with newcomers. The city has a relaxed pace of life, which can be a welcome change for retirees looking to slow down.

Meeting New People

Meeting new people in Antwerp can be as easy as striking up a conversation at a local cafĂ© or joining a club or organization. There are several expat groups in the city, such as the American Women’s Club of Antwerp, which can be a great way for international retirees to meet people and make new friends.

Housing Options

Antwerp offers a variety of housing options, from modern apartments in the city center to charming houses in the suburbs. Many retirees choose to live in the city center, where they can be close to shops, restaurants, and cultural attractions. However, the suburbs offer more space and a quieter lifestyle.


Antwerp has an excellent public transportation system, which includes buses, trams, and trains. The city is also very walkable, and many retirees find that they can get by without a car. However, having a car can be convenient for trips outside the city.

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

Additional Information:

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