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My job in Belgium: How much does an architect earn?

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We asked Vincent Van Den Broecke, 38, a self-employed architect from Oud-Heverlee, about his job and how much he earns
– What is your job?
– Since 1999 I have been a self-employed architect and since 2009 I have owned a company called Blanco-Architecten, a 10-person architect office in Hoeilaart. Not too long ago I was also elected as a committee member of the Association of Architects in Flemish Brabant and Brussels.
– Do you like your job?
– Just as it is for so many other self-employed people, and for me, my profession is my passion. If you don’t do your job with pleasure then you shouldn’t do it at all. Of course it helps that I can depend on a great team that have the same passion: for our clients, a home, an office or a school building means an exciting design.
– How many hours a week do you work?
– As company owner, I work 50 to 60 hours per week. These are the hours required by my job in our firm. Networking, meetings, information evenings etc don’t make for a normal working week. But I’m also very lucky because a year ago my wife joined the company. Thanks to her, on the home front, we can be very flexible and enjoy a good quality of life. I try to take about 25 days holidays to enjoy exclusively with my family.
– Are you happy with your salary?
– I earn €3,500 a month gross – about €1,900-€2,000 net, with company car, mobile phone and laptop. My family are not short of anything and we have a healthy business. I can’t wish for much more. My self-employed status is more important than my salary.
– Where does most of your income go?
– A big chunk goes on the mortgage, the rest on the family budget (we have three daughters). There isn’t much left over for savings.
– What can you absolutely not spend money on?
– Gadgets.
– What would you do if you won the lottery?
– That depends on how much I won. I would pay off my family’s – not just my children but also my parents and brothers – financial commitments, give some to a good cause (such as water treatments or education in an undeveloped country), make some financial investments, travel with my family and if there is some left over, buy my dream car. But I wouldn’t change my current lifestyle that much.

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