I recently moved to Schaerbeek, a big neighbourhood in Brussels. This post is dedicated to this area of Brussels, but I am sure the concept can be extended to the whole city.
Parking in Brussels, as in any big city of Europe, is very complicated. But in Brussels this is even more complicated than anyone could imagine. And besides, every neighbourhood has its own special rules. In Schaerbeek, this is so difficult to understand that they have even created a dedicated website to explain the rules to people. Of course, this clever idea doesn't work while you are driving and you strive to park your car around, or when you arrive to the city for the first time.
I was so astonished when I understood the system (rules of the game) that I could not believe it. Basically, unless you have a resident card of Schaerbeek, and have paid your parking fees, you cannot park the car more than 2h on the street. It is technically against the law. Not only foreigners are not welcome, but also people from other parts of Brussels or Belgium. Yes there are some areas with machines like this one:
But these machines are very seldom available, and only in some streets, and special spots. You could find yourself that there are no machines around three or more blocks. Not to mention the price (15 € for half a day, and this is the maximum allowed!!! Insane!!!)
So what I did is to contact The Brussels-Europe Liaison Office, which try to help expats solve problems and I asked about this issue. First they told me they were surprised to hear I cannot park my car on the street. When I explained the rules of Schaerbeek, they told me they were going to verify this with the “Commune”. So they called the police of Schaerbeek and the “Commune”. Surprisingly, the person in this office realized that I was right and these rules make no sense at all. She even suggested to pay the fine or park the car in a supermarket parking as an option!!!!!. Yet I asked her, What if my car is towed by the police??? She also found out thet apparently this doesn’t happen very often, but…IT CAN HAPPEN!!!!. This person, even found out that members of the European Parliament who live there, and have cars with foreign plates parked on the street, have had their cars towed because of these stupid rules!!!!
Once again, Brussels is full of surprises and stupid rules, administration and regulations that anyone can logically understand.
Thanks to The Brussels-Europe Liaison Office, , for trying to help. I hope ....and that is my only one, that they pass the message to the responsible persons on the Commune. I have a dream....a more user-friendly rules for parking.