19,000 leave Brussels for Flemish Brabant


The figures from before the pandemic show an increase on 10 years ago, with residents seeking bigger and more affordable properties outside the capital

Upward trend

About 41,000 people moved from Brussels to Flanders or Wallonia last year, new figures show, with almost half choosing Flemish Brabant. In total, 25,000 people moved in the opposite direction.

According to Brussels statistics institute IBSA, some 26,000 Brussels residents moved to Flanders and 15,000 left the capital for Wallonia in 2019. Nearly half of those people – 19,000 – chose to settle in Flemish Brabant, in search of bigger and more affordable properties in less densely populated areas. This last figure is up from 15,000 a decade ago.

Sven Gatz, the regional minister in charge of promoting Brussels’ image, said: “2019 shows an upward trend for departures from Brussels to Flanders, and specifically Flemish Brabant. It is much less evident towards Wallonia.”

Meanwhile, in 2019, about 25,000 people made the reverse journey, moving from another part of Belgium to the Brussels region – almost 14,000 from Flanders and 11,000 from Wallonia. This would mean a net population loss for Brussels of about 16,000, were it not for international migration towards the Belgian capital, which continues to grow.

The latest figures cover 2019, pre-coronavirus. The effects of the Covid-19 crisis on migration to and from Brussels will not be published until summer 2021. However, the Federal Planning Bureau forecasts that the move to Brussels’ periphery could continue, “due to an increased desire for gardens and green spaces that the region cannot offer”.