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QS Best Student Cities ranking: 41st

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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® 2015/16Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) – both ranked within the world’s top 210. 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

Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) (194th in the world)



Students (% of total population)

1.9% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

29.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

27th (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

102nd (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

307th (out of 446)

Numbeo pollution rank

100th (out of 300)

Transparency International score

15th (out of 177)


Sources: QS World University RankingsGlobal 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).

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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