Flemish homebuyers go Dutch

Last year hundreds of Flemings emigrated north of the border and set up home in the Dutch province of Zeeland. 600 people made the move last year. The figure is a doubling in comparison with 2010.

Estate agents in the southern Dutch province of Zeeland say that today they have more Belgian customers than Dutch clients.

House prices are the reason why so many Flemings have decided to buy a home in the Netherlands. In Belgium house prices continue to rise, while in the Netherlands prices are falling. Prices in Zeeland are relatively low even by Dutch standards. Comparable homes south of the border will easily set you back an extra 40,000 euros.

Most Dutch properties are well maintained and life in the Netherlands is said to be cheaper. Dutch people in Zeeland Flanders - that part of Zeeland immediately bordering Flanders - are happy with the influx of Belgian Flemings as many properties have been standing empty and whole districts face depopulation.

Most of the people who move to the Netherlands are keeping their job in Belgium. Some now have shorter journey times to work than when they lived in congested Belgium.

Real estate agents in Zeeland intend to launch a campaign to attract more Flemish home buyers soon. Belgian estate agents concede that home prices are often cheaper in Zeeland Flanders, but stress that taxes may be higher.