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Real Estate
Living in Tervuren


- Tervuren
- Kraainem
- Sterrebeek
- Wezembeek-Oppem
- Overijse
- Wavre
- Huldenberg
- Bertem
- Hoeilaart
- Sint-Genesius-Rode
- Lasne
- Linkebeek
- Braine l'Alleud
- Beersel
- La Hulpe
- Waterloo
- Rixensart

- Etterbeek
- Auderghem
- Evere
- Uccle
- Watermael-Boitsfort
- Ixelles
- Saint Gilles
- Koekelberg
- Schaerbeek
- Jette

- Vilvoorde
- Meise
- Grimbergen
- Machelen
- Zaventem

- Wemmel
- Sint-Peters-Leeuw
- Asse
- Dilbeek

museum sat1

Tervuren the green, quaint and prosperous municipality just south-east of the capital of Europe :Brussels.

Yes it is pretty. Yes it is upmarket. Yes it is safe. But where is it exactly that you would want to be? Considering Tervuren has various very different neighbourhoods. But what are the differences and characteristics  precisely? And where do you find these neighbourhoods in Tervuren. If you plan to settle in Tervuren, taking into account your resources,  lifestyle and family situation, where would you do best. And what is the cost of buying or renting a house. What will be the value of your real estate some years from now? How will the development of Tervuren play out in the near, and not so near, future? What are the other options for settling in Greater Brussels?

Tervuren as we know it evolved from a modest settlement in the Middle Ages to a significant village and outpost for royalty and nobility. It’s location on the left bank of the river “ de Voer” assured fresh water, its proximity to centers of power like Ghent, Louvain, and Brussels assured a constant interest from its rulers. Add the sheer coincidence of the liking Leopold II developed for Tervuren and his pompous and megalomaniac character.  Hence the interesting and infamous history of a village this size.

Tervuren is located in the south east of the Greater Brussels agglomeration. This has always been the preferred area of settlement for nobility and early suburbanites. South of the village of Tervuren you’ll find the Sonian Forest (Zonienwoud in dutch,  Foret de Soignes in french). A drop dead gorgeous forest that determines much of the atmosphere in many parts of Tervuren. It is a huge asset for Tervuren. East of the centre village, adjacent to the market square, there is the Park of Tervuren.  Around 400 years ago archduchess Isabel constructed this enclosed park. It contains hills, lakes, a river some monumental buildings, it is sizable and most parts of the wall or still there. One of the monumental buildings is the glorious Africa Museum (see picture above). To the west of the village one finds the fairways of the exclusive royal golfclub  Ravenstein, founded in 1906, designed by Seymour Dunn.
To the north of the village centre is a built-up stretch with mainly older villa’s under even older trees from  patches of original forest.  Dunn


The municipality of Tervuren is relatively spread out and consists of various different quarters. Each with its own characteristics. We will describe and classify all of these neighbourhoods.

An outstanding feature of the village of Tervuren is that the historic market square gives direct access  to an extensive green area with ponds, a river, and some historic monuments .  The Park of Tervuren which extends into the Sonian Forest.

The centre of the village started to expand seriously in the 19th century.  Most buildings in this centre were constructed at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th.  The grid of the middle ages was followed, so you will find a sometimes seemingly illogical and incomprehensible maze of charming streets that make up the core of the municipality of Tervuren.

Because of the fact that the development of Tervuren in the aforementioned period was one of an independent entity, there is a broad variation in housing to be found. In streets perpendicular to the Tervurenlaan there are the impressive maisons and hotels de maitre. Somewhat higher up in the village there are lots of  modest townhouses along  the narrow streets. The centre is speckled with unexpected architectonic highlights.



The ideal location of Tervuren within the region is its greatest asset.  South of the village the one of the most beautiful forests of North-West Europe, east of it literally a majestic park, west of it the historic golfclub on the grounds of Ravenstein, and just a little bit further to the west the capital of Europe. In short a community wedged between forest and park in the shadow of Brussels. The airport a fifteen minutes drive away and quick access to the Ring (circumferential highway). There is a  tramway that connects Tervuren with Montgomery Square, a major transport node in Brussels.

Most Flemish towns and village are suffering of ribbon development. Tervuren on the contrary had a classical  urban development with a  gradual expansion of the urban area which resulted in a compact, attractive and balanced urban nucleus. After the second World War the centre of Tervuren was to be surrounded by well planned low density urban zonesTervuren instead has a magnificent and broad bypass: the Tervurenlaan. Most traffic is handled by this avenue so it isn't straining the capacity of the roads inside the village and keeps up livability in the centre.



The official language of Tervuren is Dutch. Since Tervuren is part of the province Flemish Brabant. While the language of the administration of the community of Tervuren is unequivocally Dutch, and Dutch, as a mother tongue, still is spoken by a majority of the population,  the languages actually spoken in and around Tervuren are many. You will be hearing of course French and English a lot, but also German, Spanish, Polish, Italian, and Portugese. French has always been the second language of Tervuren but English is well on its way to surpass the  language of Voltaire as the runner-up.

The influx of many English speakers because of the presence of the British School and the selling up of real estate in order to profit from the starkly increased  home values in Tervuren by scores of  Belgians of whom a considerable number are French speaking Belgians, are reasons for the rise of the relative importance of English and the rise of the number of inhabitants of Tervuren that are English speaking.

The fact that Dutch speakers are still a , although fragile, majority, and the fact that there are many other tongues spoken,   but above all that the up and coming language, English, is perceived by most as “neutral” and not a threat, adds to the relative communitarian quietness. A quietness difficult to find elsewhere in other Brussels suburbs.

In a prosperous community like Tervuren tensions between groups with different linguistic origins might not attain the same levels as in communities with a population with a lower mean income per capita and a higher unemployment rate ,however  there always is a danger for a municipality with a significant minority of a certain linguistic group to become a bargaining chip in national politics. About 42 % of young families with children do have Dutch as a home language (2009),  young families with children that are using English as home language in Tervuren is nearing 20 %. For the coming years it looks that the rise of  English and other languages is inevitable. For the moment this development doesn't translate politically yet since foreigners tend not to participate in municipal elections(yet).  But some political organistations have started to court agressively those without Belgian passports, but with communal voting rights, within Tervuren.

This changing language balance in the municipality of  Tervuren might,  just might,  be all changing in a different direction if well-heeled Dutch speaking Belgians with high paid jobs in Brussels start to discover living close to the capital in an attractive environment, limiting their commuting hours,  thus  avoiding ever increasing traffic jams, and at the same time buying into a sophisticated, green,  and  safe community. Or there might be an influx of comfortable retirees who are looking for proximity to all the cultural amenities of Brussels. All this comes at a premium, but the increasing openess of the Flemish society and the realization of the importance of location, could lead to the conclusion for a sizable group that it will be well worth the extra money to establish themselves in the eastern and southern suburbs of Brussels. 

So far though the high numbers of  Dutch speaking Belgians that are leaving Tervuren are  not compensated by the influx of Dutch speakers from the Netherlands.  The numbers of French speaking  Belgians relative to Dutch speakers are creeping up.  And it remains to be seen what the integrating power of  the Dutch Community is, to avoid a very serious shift in the Tervuren political balance. Voting international migrants are likely to decide that balance in the near future. Dutch speaking parties, in power for ages, are seriously inward looking and disadvantaged compared with the agressively marketing and foreigner-friendly French speakers parties.  One that would surely  have grave  political consequences  at the national level.  It could lift Tervuren to the forefront  of the ugly national political struggle.  Which might have an impact on the real estate market.


The internationalisation of Tervuren really started taking off in the eighties when many eurocrats and expats discovered the green and  lush environments of Tervuren. Still incredibly cheap by then. Close to Brussels, in a gorgeous setting and important and good schools in the vicinity. After this wave of fonctionnaires and  official expats, the entrepreneurs and adventurers came in, many of them foreigners,  attracted by the , according to  international standards, low real estate prices, high quality of living  and  an expanding services market  which created possibilities.   Belgians are packing up and relocating to cheaper parts of the country . This is an ongoing process.  


© 2010 Estaval


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