International Education in Brussels
As the de facto capital of the European Union, it’s no surprise that Brussels has a thriving expat community. However many global institutions are based in Belgium’s capital too, so it’s not just a European melting pot - it’s a meeting point of cultures from all over the planet.
As you may expect, this level of diversity in a political and economic centre means there is a wide choice of international schools to choose from in Brussels.
You can expect the student body of any international school in this city to be multinational. Local Belgian students will be a minority almost everywhere. Because of this, the International Baccalaureate is the most common curriculum on offer. It’s followed closely by French and British curricula, and then others from around the rest of Europe.
There is a strong emphasis on languages among international schools in Brussels. Multiple languages of instruction are offered across all schools, with English being the most common. Of course French, Dutch and German - Belgium’s three official languages - follow close behind.
An entrance assessment is usually required if your child does not speak a language offered by the school. Language camps are a regular feature in the extra-curricular programs of most international schools in Belgium however. Your child will catch up fast if they need to!
As for locations, there are clusters of international schools in Etterbeek, Tervuren and Wezembeek-Oppen, all a short distance east of the city centre, including around Montgomery near the European Commission. Further outside the city centre, there are a selection of schools in the south in Uccle and Waterloo.
School bus services are commonly offered, despite Brussels’ very good public transport system and relatively small size. Class sizes are also very small - it’s not unusual to have less than 20 students per class. Numbers do vary from school to school however.
International schools throughout Europe offer very high standards of education, and Brussels is no different. Unfortunately, that means they come with high fees and sometimes strict criteria for entry. If you have looked at international schools in other countries, then none of it will come as a surprise. If you haven’t, then be prepared for lots of paperwork, possible interviews and entrance exams.
Finally, it’s worth noting that religious schools are popular in Brussels. They typically follow a Catholic framework, but this doesn’t mean your child must follow Catholicism to attend. Some schools may offer religious lessons, some may just have a religious-inspired ethos, and some may be more like the traditional religious schools you’ve seen and heard of. There is usually no difference in the curricula or standards of education they offer.
Below, we have compiled our top 10 international schools in Brussels. However, there are another 18 schools to choose from in the city. You can find the best international school for your child by personalising your results. Just fill in your search criteria, and we will calculate a personal score for every international school in Brussels based on your requirements.