Upcoming Events: see ACB CALENDAR
Past Events - This is What You Missed!
23 February 2014 – Het Anker Brewery Visit
2 February 2014 - Super Bowl
30 January 2014 - American Financial Forum
16 December 2013 - "Nuts!" Night
On December 16, the American Club held its inaugural annual “Nuts!” Night, commemorating the anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Attended by over one hundred people, the highly successful evening began with speeches by Eric Poncin, Vice President of the Bastogne War Museum, Ambassador Eckart Cuntz, Federal Republic of Germany, and Ambassador Denise Campbell Bauer, United States of America. The evening continued with dinner and dancing.
© "Nuts!" Night photos: All rights reserved usembassybelgium
28 November - Thanksgiving Dinner
30 October 2013 - Halloween Party (with AmCham Belgium)
28 October 2013 - Pioneers' Dinner
22 October 2013 - At Ethan Allen:
Book presentation (The 500 Hiddden Secrets of Brussels) by Derek Blyth
2 July 2013 - Ommegang Dinner
11 June 2013 - Bowling
11 May 2013 - Katoen Natie
Attendees at the private art collection of Katoen Natie.
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ACB News & Events
Back issues (PDF format):
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ACB Adopts the Grave of a WWII American Soldier
For many years the American Club of Brussels has taken an active part in commemorating the brave men of the American armed forces who gave their lives while fighting in Europe in two world wars. We have now taken a new step in our efforts to continue the memory of these soldiers by officially adopting the grave of an American soldier whose final resting place is at Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery in eastern Belgium.
Private Charles F. Grove, Jr., from Mobile, Alabama, enlisted in the U.S. Army on June 17, 1943, and became a member of the 109th Infantry Regiment, 28th Infantry Division. During the heavy fighting in and around Aachen, Germany, he was killed in action on September 20, 1944. He was laid to rest in Plot G, Row 9, Grave 12, along with almost 8000 other Americans who died in Belgium and Germany.
Pvt. Grove's wife was employed by the draft board in Mobile through which he entered the military. A brother served in the U.S. Navy during the war. In addition to his wife and brother, Pvt. Grove left his parents and two sisters. He was the co-captain of his high school football team and the captain of the basketball team.
The American Club of Brussels is proud to continue its tradition of remembering the sacrifices of the American military in fighting tyranny, especially in Belgium, and we hope that many of you will take the opportunity to visit the grave of this simple soldier, unremarkable in many ways and yet very remarkable in one truly important way.
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Retiring in Belgium: A Guide for Expats
Reviewed by Chuck Westpheling,
31 years (25 years retired) in Belgium
This handy guide for oldsters contemplating retiring in Belgium is authored by The BRATS (Brussels Retired Expats), four Brits and two Americans, all with different business careers and overseas experiences, with an average of over 23 years of retired life in Belgium. Their aim? To provide folks thinking of living their retirement dream here, particularly British and American readers, something to chew on before making that decision – something The BRATS wish had been available to them all those years ago – and still does not exist. Do they succeed? You bet. Their little 55-page book is invaluable to any Brit or American considering settling here for their retirement years.
The BRATS ask the reader in the opening chapters to carefully consider that retirement in general is embarking on a new and different lifestyle, particularly in a foreign land – even if it is a familiar one. It involves determining how to spend those retirement years (what is one really going to do without a real job?) and if the reader really wants to live those years that way in a foreign country, particularly Belgium. These are important questions, but because only the reader can answer them, the authors discuss what’s really involved in this literally life-changing matter.
In five of the succeeding chapters, of a total of 10 including a very brief summary, The BRATS address the nuts-and-bolts crucial to the decision to retire in Belgium: money, health care, and housing. Separate chapters address taxes, pensions, investments, medical care and (shrouded by an unclear title) housing, to include rest homes and palliative care. Each provides a succinct and matter-of-fact analysis of the situation in Belgium with regard to the subject at hand, and describes how it differs from that in the U.K. and the U.S. to show the reader clearly how the distinctions may impact the pending decision to stay. Pitfalls, as in the particular case of estate planning, are highlighted. This small guide cannot be comprehensive in explaining these matters, but the book is larded with references to agencies, activities, and websites in Brussels, Flanders, and Wallonia, where more detailed information can be obtained, often in English. Even a quick read, however, provides more useful information for someone contemplating retirement in Belgium than is available in any other single source I know. I sought in vain for such a guide when I was considering retiring here 25 years ago.
The book includes two checklists as appendices and an index. One checklist addresses factors to consider in the decision to retire in Belgium. The other is an outstandingly complete list of information that should be available to the surviving spouse, partner, or family member of a deceased person, particularly appropriate for a death overseas.
Is there room for improvement in a subsequent effort I hope is forthcoming? The chapter on the importance of becoming computer-literate late in life is very good, but it is not unique to retirement in Belgium. It would be better placed in the opening, more generic, section about retirement planning in general – and then note therein the inclusion of dozens of websites in the later chapters (with nary a postal address for those without computer access). How to find these critical independent advisors expert in both Belgian and home country taxation, pensions, and investments so wisely recommended would be extremely helpful. I’d like to see information on Belgian radio, TV, and libraries.
The current economic crisis is changing the financial landscape in Belgium, the U.K. and the U.S. with regard to pensions and taxes, and more changes are surely coming, so an update of this little book in a few years time will be very useful. In the meantime, it’s not just the best thing of its kind available – it’s the only thing. The guide is well worth its price, not least because all profits from its sale go to two worthy Belgian-based charities, the Community Help Service (www.chsbelgium.org) and the British Charitable Fund (www.bcfund.be). Buy one for any friend who is thinking about joining us in retirement here.
Retiring in Belgium: A Guide for Expats costs €15 and is available at the offices of the Community Help Service (Boulevard de la Cambre 33, 1000 Brussels) and at Waterstone’s (Boulevard A. Max 71-75, 1000 Brussels), or you can order a copy (€15 + postage) directly from the CHS at 02/647.67.80.
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