The Golden Cage of Brussels

Six years ago I wrote an article about my mixed feelings about living in Brussels for so long. The Guardian published it but it is no longer on their website. As several people have asked what happened to it I’m posting it again.

Living in Brussels is like living in a golden cage – you feel trapped and you dream of escaping almost every day. But you never do because you know life will be more difficult, more complicated and more expensive on the outside.

I should know. In 1993 I came to the Belgian capital to do a five-month traineeship at the European commission. Fourteen years later and I’m still here, complaining about the squally weather, lousy service and infuriating officialdom, making plans to move to Britain, the United States or the south of France but secretly suspecting that the most likely way I’ll leave Brussels is in a coffin.

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