ESSEN/HOOGSTRATEN/PUTTE - Belgian real estate agents are seeing more and more Dutch people moving across the border, in a desperate attempt to find an affordable house in the border region. What does that do to life in a border region. Apache and OC Spit traveled from Essen across Hoogstraten to Putte and spoke with owners.

Over a quarter of a million Dutch people live in Belgium, one-fifth of whom own property. Most Dutch properties are in the provinces of Antwerp and Limburg, but most of the purchases over the past decade have been in the province of East Flanders.

It may seem obvious for a border region, but there is a lot involved for those who take the step to live and work across the border.In terms of social security, tax legislation or working conditions, there are quite a few differences between the Netherlands and Belgium.

The story is based on land registry information and is part of a long-term journalistic investigation into land ownership by Belgians in the Netherlands and vice versa.

Photo ©Hester den Boer

Steven Vanden Bussche

Steven Vanden Bussche (1979) is an investigative journalist at Apache.

Hester den Boer

Hester den Boer (1981) is a freelance investigative journalist and photographer.

Bram Logger

Bram Logger is a Dutch freelance investigative journalist.