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Living and working at SCK CEN

Working at SCK CEN

Are you wondering what’s it like to work at SCK CEN in Mol? Come on down and discover a unique research institute that offers plenty of extra opportunities to its employees.

Leven en werken bij SCK CEN (2018)

How to apply at SCK CEN?

  • Every job has its own, specific application procedure. There are, however, a few application best practices at SCK CEN:
    • We contact every applicant. This might take a while though, since our vacancies have a fixed deadline and we can only get in touch after it expires.
    • At one point during the procedure, you will need to present yourself to a selection panel – consisting of experts in your domain, Line Managers and HR personnel.
  • If you don't live in Belgium, we can host job interviews over the internet.

Medical check-up and security quiz

Halt! Before you can enter the SCK CEN grounds, you need to finish a medical check-up and a security quiz. These precautionary procedures can take place when you sign your contract or on your first day.

Werken en leven bij SCK CEN (2018)

After work activities

It’s hard to get bored at SCK CEN – and not only during work, but afterwards too. We organise plenty of activities, competitions, and get-togethers throughout the year.


SCK CEN is surrounded by nature – the perfect location for outdoor sports. Along with VITO and JRC, our neighbours, we founded a sports club called NUCLEA. The club organises over 20 different sporting activities: ranging from long distance running to basketball and water-skiing.

Not the sporty type? Don’t worry, NUCLEA also hosts photography and multimedia courses.


Get to know your colleagues at one of our team building activities, after work drinks (e.g. Thirsty Thursday), or after work runs.

Life in Mol

Mol is the 2nd largest village in the province of Antwerp. Literally, it covers more than 114 km2. It is also one of the most international towns in Belgium, hosting 132 different nationalities.

Surrounding cities (less than a one-hour drive away) are Antwerp, Hasselt, Turnhout, Eindhoven, and Breda. Go a little bit further to reach Brussels, Paris or Amsterdam.

If you move here, we’ll do our best effort to find a suitable place to live, to learn and to let loose. All in Mol – a quaint village surrounded by trees and lakes.

Your house, in the middle of our street

Upon arrival, you can always stay at the Corbie Hotel or spend the night at a B&B or Airbnb. But it wouldn’t be very prudent to stay in a hotel for the long run. Therefore, SCK CEN can offer you 2 types of housing facilities: the dormitories and a – recently renovated – communal housing project.

However, for those who prefer to rent or buy a property themselves, there are plenty of opportunities nearby. Just look up 'Mol' on ImmoVlan or ImmoWeb.

Back to school (or day-care)

Education in Mol primarily takes place in Dutch. However, there’s also a European school where they teach courses in German, French, and English.

Many schools provide an after-school care program where children can do homework and play around until they’re picked up. Throughout Mol, you will also find top-notch day-care facilities for the little ones.

Making your relationship work

Many internationals coming to Mol are accompanied by their partner. And more often than not, employment is one of their main concerns. Your partner can already start looking for a job before coming to Belgium. The most popular local job boards are indeed, VDAB and jobat.

Leven en werken bij SCK CEN (2018)

Fun activities around the corner

Mol is located at the heart of De Kempen – a beautiful region in the North of Belgium. Thanks to its extensive nature, Mol is also a fantastic area for sports and hiking.

  • Cycling

    In Belgium, learning to ride a bike is a sacred rite of passage. Because of cycling’s popularity, there are plenty of dedicated cycling paths throughout Belgium. The municipality of Mol organises several cycling trips every year.
  • Swimming

    You can find a swimming pool in Mol called 'Zwembad Den Uyt'. In the summer, the local lake ('Zilvermeer') transforms into an outdoor water sports center.
  • Hiking

    SCK CEN is located in the middle of the woods, and that’s not a coincidence. Mol is surrounded by different forests that include spectacular hikes to the Abbey of Postel or a more diverse biotope in Buitengoor-Meergoor.
  • Festivals

    Belgium is famous for its music festivals. Graspop – the biggest heavy metal-gathering in Belgium – takes place only 2 kilometres from the SCK CEN facilities. Meanwhile, the calmer Havenfestival is organised yearly near the local lake ('Zilvermeer') and Mol Feest happens every Summer in the city centre.
  • Farmers' market

    Every Tuesday, a farmers' market is organised in the city centre. You can buy fruit, vegetables, and other fresh produce there.

Getting around in Belgium

  • Car

    If you have a foreign driver's license, visit the Mol town hall to have it ratified. (If you meet certain conditions, that is.) If not, driving lessons are required before you hit the road. Of course, you are free to buy or rent a car, but you can also lease a car at SCK CEN.
  • Bicycle

    We’ve hinted at the popularity of cycling in Belgium, and there are plenty of bicycle stores in Mol or in the surrounding villages.
  • Train

    In nearly every Belgian village, town or city, you’ll find a train station – including Mol. Start planning your next journey!

Life in Belgium

Hallo und bonjour! There, our 3 national languages have been introduced. But rest assured, everyone on the frontier speaks English as well, so you’ll fit right in.

The majority of our operations take place in Mol, but SCK CEN has 2 other sites as well. You can find our registered offices in Brussels and certain projects, such as MINERVA, take place in Louvain-La-Neuve.

If you’re looking to join SCK CEN, you have to take a few administrative steps first. More information on housing, schools, and transport can be found under Life in Mol.

Leven en werken bij SCK CEN (2018)

BYOP: Bring Your Own Paperwork

Once you’ve landed a job at SCK CEN, there are some administrative tasks that you will have to complete yourself. But don’t worry, we’ll assist you along the way.

It’s crucial that you obtain the following documents before you leave your home country. Visit your local Belgian embassy for additional information. These procedures can differ strongly from country to country.

  1. Passport (EU)

    Visit the Belgian Embassy or go to your local town hall and ask whether you have to unregister yourself from your current residence before migrating to Belgium.

    Start your application as soon as possible (4-6 weeks before leaving for Belgium)!

  2. Visa (non-EU)

    After you have completed the hiring process, SCK CEN will send you an employment contract and hosting agreement. You will need these documents to apply for a visa at the Belgian Embassy.

    Start your application as soon as possible (4-6 weeks before leaving for Belgium)!

  3. Criminal record

    SCK CEN is a highly restricted area. If you accept a job offer from SCK CEN, our security team will be in touch to obtain your (hopefully non-existent) criminal record (an official translation is

The requirements for working in Belgium

Before you can start your journey towards SCK CEN, there are 3 more administrative necessities to take care of:

  • Public Health insurance

    Required for all workers in Belgium. In exchange for a fee, you will be insured in case of illness, accidents or hospitalization. (SCK CEN offers a dedicated hospitalization insurance – expandable to family members who live with you.)

  • Civic integration course

    Some newcomers need to follow an obligatory course which consists of Dutch and social orientation lessons.

  • Residence permit

    Once in Belgium, you'll have to visit the town hall at your place of residence for registration and apply for a residence permit. A valid passport is required.
    • For EU residents

      You’ll need 4 documents: your employment contract, a contract that proves you are renting or have purchased a home, your birth certificate and a certificate of household composition.
    • For non-EU residents

      You’ll need 6 documents: a visa, proof of payment (the €350 euros you paid to the Belgian embassy), your birth certificate and certificate of household composition (with an official translation if required), the hosting agreement, and a contract that proves you are renting or have purchased a home.

Making your way to SCK•CEN HQ upon arrival

  • Plane

    Brussels, Charleroi, and Eindhoven – there are 3 airports relatively close (2-hour drive) to SCK CEN in Mol.
  • Bicycle

    SCK CEN is 6km away from Mol train station. You can rent a bike at Blue-bike (near the station).
  • Train

    The easiest way to come to Mol is by train. Plan your journey here.

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