Liège is the “cité ardente” on the rivers of Meuse and Weser. Liège is not the capital of Wallonia – but it is its largest agglomeration (600.000 inhabitants), cultural centre and Wallonias leading tourist destination.
Green wilderness, the world´s most original Spa-Town and picturesque city centres make a trip to the countryside worthwhile.
The “ardent city” was one of the first places in continental Europe where the industrial revolution took foot. Products from Liège are still transported to all over the world, via the continents 7th largest port-river and 3rd largest cargo airport.
While Maastricht once belonged to the large Liègian archdiocese and both share a common architecture, a trip upstream the Meuse is quite an intercultural voyage nowadays, it is safe to say that Liège feels more “southern” and at times chaotic.
Glimpse on mentality
Liègeois are said to be friendly and outgoing to both their city mates and towards strangers. Natives to one of the world´s proudest cities however, stereotypical people from Liège do not tend to appreciate criticism by strangers, something they certainly share with people around Cologne and their admirable cathedral.
As a vibrant town open for exploration, the province of Liège is a sweet spot with its world-famous gaufres, fine cuisine and the nightlife in Le Carré.
Liège toghether enlists everything you need to know to live and work in this city.
If you want to (re-)discover the city for a trip, for living or working, the Ultimate guide for Erasmus students in Liège written by Jakub from Poland is one way to become acquainted with la Cité Ardente.
Other places in the province
Brief characteristics of some most important places, from a newcomer’s perspective:
Verviers: With a population of 55,000 this city features an interesting old town with historical buildings from the high times of textile industry, including the train station you see in the title. The Weser river and several impressive fountains make water very present in this medium-sized city. The beautiful train station covering this page is Verviers main station.
Spa is a laid-back thermal town in the Ardenne mountains, featuring quaint city centre, the birthplace of the famous Spa water brand (No 1 in Flanders and the Netherlands). It is, of course – also home to a large Spa and Wellness area, owing its name to this very town. Michael Schumacher loved the Spa Formula 1 circuit – not least as weather conditions where closest to his hometown Kerpen-Manheim, just a few kilometres behind Düren.
Limbourg is a tiny town with great history. The name of both provinces, Dutch and Belgian Limburg got their name from this little castle-town situated on a hill. You can reach the foot of this hill easily by train.
Plombières municipality makes for the a great “small holiday” right next to the German and Dutch border. The municipality nowadays is mostly French-speaking, but many residents, especially around Gemmenich village, speak German and Flemish or their very own dialect, which combines all of the three at once. Major highlights around Plombières and Gemmenich: Climbing drielandenpunt “mountain”, discover the “green cathedral” in Moresnet and mining history with a river tunneling the hills around Plombières. Go for a video-visit (00:33 – 1:15)
Jekervalley: Following the little river Jeker from Maastricht’s old town, you will cross a large canal built parallel to the Maas, a little piece of Flanders, and several picturesque Walloon villages. Wikipedia provides more information in Dutch and French to help you plan a multicultural cycling trip.
Sports around Liège
Starting your social life
Buddy-programmes in and around Liège and Verviers might be a good start to facilitate your social onboarding.
- The University of Liège offers buddy programmes for incoming exchange students
- The University of Liège also offers buddy programmes for regularly enrolled students
The listed programmes are examples and might also help as a starting point to gather more information about similar trajectories.
For regular (international) or Erasmus students: Find info on the associative life of University of Liège (in French) as a first entring point.
Note the offers relevant for incoming Erasmus students and the welcome guide for international students. For an overview of studying in Liège, head to Liège together listing all (academic) institutions.
City and university in 120 seconds
For a general overview on volunteering possibilities, find the Flemish and French Website giveaday.be
For integration, the Centre Régional de Verviers pour l’Intégration (CRVI) is one of the eight regional integration centres created in 1998 for the integration of foreign nationals and people with a migration background and is linked to ALPHA/FLE language and literacy platform).
Founded in 2001 in Liège, “Le Monde des Possibles” (French only) offers French courses to people with a background in migration. Mostly for people that came from e.g. Morocco or Turkey decades ago, it offers advice and assistance in social and residence status issues.
Jobportals around Liège
Starting a business
For an English-speaking overview, find Euregiochambers, the cooperation of the chambers of commerce in your Euregio.
Find more regional information in English by SPI regional development agency and a full venturelab.be to encourage entrepreneurs in and around HEC Liège. Find an overview of all regional players on Liège together.
Learning French / Francais / Französisch / Frans
French the Belgian way: French is the official language in the Province of Liège / Lüttich / Luik – except for the German-Speaking community.
For most newcomers, French around Liège might not seem too distinctive. Some aspects dialects, however, continue to exist. The good news with speaking French in Wallonia is the easier counting. The numbers “septante” and “nonante” greatlyweg express “seventy” or “ninety” with less arithmetic skills compared to what you need to construct the same numbers in French from France.
Beginners: If you dare to explore but do not yet trust your French too much, in places like Gemmenich and Plombières you have great chances to find natives that understand you in whatever language. In Gemmenich, right next to tri-country point, people also share a unique dialect – French, German, Limburgish and Flemish, the right mix in the middle of the Euregio!
Advanced: If you master more of this language, you are ready for high level negotiations at “la Batte”. This place is one of Europe´s largest, weekly flea market on the banks of the Meuse river. For more information about the Euregio Meuse-Rhine in French, find free downloads on forty Euregional topics by Linguacluster.
Step by step
If learning words takes to much effort, you can invest in sounding more authentic with the expressions you actually know. Find six tips from “easy French” or go with our summary below:
Filling words to sound authentic – and gain some time
No matter your level, employ empty filling words that will buy you time whenever you are looking for a word. Find more hints on words like:
- bah oui
- tu vois
If you do want to learn some French expressions, go with those that the Norman invaders exported to the British Isles (about 30%). As a rule of the thumb, everything that sounds „fancy“ or “adorable” has roots in French. All words on the following endings can serve as easy jokers:
– tion (information, acceleration, attention)
– ssion (mission, passion)
– able (admirable, capable)
– isme (racisme)
– ive (creative)
Une langue adorable – an adorable language
To compare both languages in a full sentence:
- “We hope that the information in this section “benefits” your passion and capability for creative language learning”
- “Nous esperons que les informations dans cette section vont bénéfiter votre passion et capabilité pour creativement apprendres les langues.”