The capital of Belgium and headquarters of the European Union, Brussels is known for its international character – and this is reflected in the high proportion of international students at its universities. As well as being known for its international diversity and central role in European politics, Brussels is also famed for its chocolate shops, comic strip art, pubs, cafés and attractive architecture.
In addition to a strong score in the “student mix” category of the QS Best Student Cities index, Brussels also scores very well for both “desirability” and “affordability” – largely thanks to its relatively low tuition fees.
Two Brussels-based universities feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – both ranked within the world’s top 200. The first is predominantly French-speaking and the second Dutch-speaking (these are the two official languages of the city), but both offer courses in English at graduate level.
QS ranked universities
More about Brussels
Number of universities ranked by QS
Top ranked institution
Université Libre de Bruxelles (173rd in the world)
Students (% of total population)
1.8% (based on ranked institutions)
29.0% (of students at ranked institutions)
Average tuition fees
Global Liveability Ranking
28th (out of 140)
Mercer Cost of Living rank
56th (out of 214)
Cost of a Big Mac
Cost of an iPad
Numbeo safety rank
267th (out of 372)
Numbeo pollution rank
131st (out of 299)
Transparency International score
15th (out of 177)
Sources: QS World University Rankings; Global Liveability Ranking (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); Big Mac Index (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); iPad Index (Commsec); Cost of Living Survey (Mercer); Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International).