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Bruxelles (French)
Brussel (Dutch)
—  Region of Belgium  —
Brussels-Capital Region[1][2]
Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (French)
Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest (Dutch)
Clockwise from top: The Northern Quarter business district; the Berlaymont of the European Commission; the Royal Palace of Brussels; the Espace Léopold of the European Parliament; the Grand Place


Nickname(s): Capital of Europe, Comic city[3]
Location of  Brussels  (red)

– in the European Union  (brown & light brown)
– in Belgium  (brown)

Coordinates: 50°51′0″N 4°21′0″E / 50.85°N 4.35°E / 50.85; 4.35
Sovereign state Belgium
Settled c.580
Founded 979
Region 18 June 1989
 - Minister-President Charles Picqué (2004-)
 - Governor Hugo Nys (acting) (2009-)
 - Parl. President Eric Tomas
 - Region 161.4 km2 (62.2 sq mi)
Elevation 13 m (43 ft)
Population (1 November 2008)[4][5]
 - Region 1,080,790
 Density 6,697/km2 (16,857/sq mi)
 Metro 1,830,000
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 - Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, pronounced [bʁysɛl]  ( listen); Dutch: Brussel, pronounced Nl-Brussel.ogg [ˈbrʏsəl] ), officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region[1][2] (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Dutch: About this sound Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest ), is the de facto capital city of the European Union (EU) and the largest urban area in Belgium.[6][7] It comprises 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels proper, which is the constitutional capital of Belgium, Flanders, the Flemish Community, and the French Community of Belgium.[8]

Brussels has grown from a 10th-century fortress town founded by a descendant of Charlemagne into a metropolis of more than one million inhabitants.[9] The metropolitan area has a population of over 1.8 million, making it the largest in Belgium.[4][5]

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a main centre for international politics. Its hosting of principal EU institutions as well as the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has made the city a polyglot home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.[10]

Although historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels became increasingly French-speaking over the 19th and 20th centuries. Today a majority of inhabitants are native French-speakers, although both languages have official status.[11] Linguistic tensions remain, and the language laws of the municipalities surrounding Brussels are an issue of much controversy in Belgium.



Charles of Lorraine founded what would become Brussels c. 979

The most common theory for the etymology of Brussels is that it derives from the Old Dutch Broeksel or other spelling variants, which means marsh (broek) and home (sel) or "home in the marsh".[12] The origin of the settlement that was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus' construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580.[13] The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gaugericus chapel. Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island.

The Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven gained the County of Brussels around 1000 by marrying Charles' daughter. Because of its location on the shores of the Senne on an important trade route between Bruges and Ghent, and Cologne, Brussels grew quite quickly; it became a commercial centre that rapidly extended towards the upper town (St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral, Coudenberg, Sablon/Zavel area...), where there was a smaller risk of floods. As it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant at about this time (1183/1184). In the 13th century, the city got its first walls.[14]

Grand Place after the 1695 bombardment by the French army

After the construction of the first walls of Brussels, in the early 13th century, Brussels grew significantly. In order to let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Today, traces of it can still be seen, mostly because the "small ring", a series of roadways in downtown Brussels bounding the historic city centre, follows its former course.

In the 15th century, by means of the wedding of heiress Margaret III of Flanders with Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, a new Duke of Brabant emerged from the House of Valois (namely Antoine, their son), with another line of descent from the Habsburgs (Maximilian of Austria, later Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, married Mary of Burgundy, who was born in Brussels). Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Low Countries, and flourished.

Charles V, heir of the Low Countries since 1506, though (as he was only 6 years old) governed by his aunt Margaret of Austria until 1515, was declared King of Spain, in 1516, in the Cathedral of Saint Gudule in Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, Charles became the new archduke of the Habsburg Empire and thus the Holy Roman Emperor of the Empire "on which the sun does not set". It was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg that Charles V abdicated in 1555. This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had greatly expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant, but it was destroyed by fire in 1731.

In 1695, French troops sent by King Louis XIV bombarded Brussels with artillery. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place was destroyed, along with 4000 buildings, a third of those in the city. The reconstruction of the city centre, effected during subsequent years, profoundly changed the appearance of the city and left numerous traces still visible today. The city was captured by France in 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession but was handed back to Austria three years later.

Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Wappers (1834)

In 1830, the Belgian revolution took place in Brussels after a performance of Auber's opera La Muette de Portici at the La Monnaie theatre. On 21 July 1831, Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, ascended the throne, undertaking the destruction of the city walls and the construction of many buildings. Following independence, the city underwent many more changes. The Senne had become a serious health hazard, and from 1867 to 1871 its entire urban area was completely covered over. This allowed urban renewal and the construction of modern buildings and boulevards which are characteristic of downtown Brussels today.

During the 20th century the city has hosted various fairs and conferences, including the fifth Solvay Conference in 1927 and two world fairs: the Brussels International Exposition of 1935 and the Expo '58. Brussels suffered damage from World War II, though it was minor compared to cities in Germany and the United Kingdom.

The 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels was the first world physics conference.

After the war, Brussels was modernized for better and for worse. The construction of the North-South Junction linking the main railway stations in the city was completed in 1952, while the first Brussels premetro was finished in 1969, and the first line of the Brussels Metro was opened in 1976. Starting from the early 1960s, Brussels became the de facto capital of what would become the European Union, and many modern buildings were built. Unfortunately, development was allowed to proceed with little regard to the aesthetics of newer buildings, and many architectural gems were demolished to make way for newer buildings which often clashed with their surroundings, a process known as Brusselization.

The Brussels-Capital Region was formed on 18 June 1989 after a constitutional reform in 1970. The Brussels-Capital Region was made bilingual, and it is one of the three federal regions of Belgium, along with Flanders and Wallonia.[1][2]


The 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region
  1. Anderlecht
  2. Auderghem/Oudergem
  3. Berchem-Sainte-Agathe/Sint-Agatha-Berchem
  4. City of Brussels
  5. Etterbeek
  6. Evere
  7. Forest/Vorst
  8. Ganshoren
  9. Ixelles/Elsene
  10. Jette
  11. Koekelberg
  12. Molenbeek-Saint-Jean/Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
  13. Saint-Gilles/Sint-Gillis
  14. Saint-Josse-ten-Noode/Sint-Joost-ten-Node
  15. Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek
  16. Uccle/Ukkel
  17. Watermael-Boitsfort/Watermaal-Bosvoorde
  18. Woluwe-Saint-Lambert/Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe
  19. Woluwe-Saint-Pierre/Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

The 19 municipalities (communes) of the Brussels-Capital Region are political subdivisions with individual responsibilities for the handling of local level duties, such as law enforcement and the upkeep of schools and roads within its borders.[15][16] Municipal administration is also conducted by a mayor, a council, and an executive.[16]

In 1831, Belgium was divided into 2,739 municipalities, including the 19 in the Brussels-Capital Region.[17] Unlike most of the municipalities in Belgium, the ones located in the Brussels-Capital Region were not merged with others during mergers occurring in 1964, 1970, and 1975.[17] However, several municipalities outside of the Brussels-Capital Region have been merged with the City of Brussels throughout its history including Laeken, Haren, and Neder-Over-Heembeek, which were merged into the City of Brussels in 1921.[18]

The largest and most populous of the municipalities is the City of Brussels, covering 32.6 square kilometres (12.6 sq mi) with 145,917 inhabitants. The least populous is Koekelberg with 18,541 inhabitants, while the smallest in area is Saint-Josse-ten-Noode which is only 1.1 square kilometres (0.4 sq mi). Despite being the smallest municipality, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode has the highest population density of the 19 with 20,822 inhabitants per km².


Under the Köppen climate classification Brussels experiences an oceanic climate (Cfb). Brussels' proximity to coastal areas influences the area's climate by sending marine air masses from the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby wetlands also ensure a maritime temperate climate. On average (based on measurements the last 100 years), there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region.[19] Snowfall is rare, generally occurring once or twice a year.

Climate data for Brussels
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.6
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
Precipitation mm (inches) 71
Avg. precipitation days 13 10 13 11 11 11 10 9 10 10 13 13 134
Source: World Weather Information Service[20] 2008-01-06


The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three regions of Belgium, while the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community do exercise, each for their part, their cultural competencies on the territory of the region. French and Dutch are the official languages; most public services are bilingual (exceptions being education and a couple of others). The Capital Region is predominantly French-speaking—about 85–90%[21][22][23] of the population are French-speakers (including migrants and second language speakers), and about 10–15%[23][24] are native Dutch-speakers. In January 2006, of its registered inhabitants, 73.1% are Belgian nationals, 4.1% French nationals, 12.0% other EU nationals (usually expressing themselves in either French or English), 4.0% Moroccan nationals, and 6.8% other non-EU nationals.[25]



Because of how the federalisation was handled in Belgium, but also because of the fact that the municipalities in the region did not take part in the merger that affected municipalities in the rest of Belgium in the seventies, the public institutions in Brussels offer a bewildering complexity. The complexity is more apparent in the lawbooks than in the facts, since the members of the Brussels Parliament and Government also act in other capacities, e.g. as members of the council of the Brussels agglomeration or the community commissions. One distinguishes:


The region, with a regional parliament of 89 members (72 French-speaking, 17 Dutch-speaking, parties are organised on a linguistic basis), plus a regional government, consisting of an officially linguistically neutral, but in practice French-speaking minister-president, two French-speaking and two Dutch-speaking ministers, one Dutch-speaking secretary of state and two French-speaking secretaries of state. This parliament can enact ordinances (French: ordonnances, Dutch: ordonnanties), which have equal status as a national legislative act.

  • The agglomeration, with a council and a board, with the same membership as the organs of the Brussels Region. This is a decentralised administrative public body, assuming competences which elsewhere in Belgium are exercised by municipalities or provinces (fire brigade, waste disposal). The by-laws enacted by it do not have the status of a legislative act.
  • A bi-communitarian public authority, Common Community Commission (French: Commission communautaire commune, COCOM, Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie, GGC), with a United Assembly (i.e. the members of the regional parliament) and a United Board (the ministers—not the secretaries of state—of the region, with the minister-president not having the right to vote). This Commission has two capacities: it is a decentralised administrative public body, responsible for implementing cultural policies of common interest. It can give subsidies and enact by-laws. In another capacity it can also enact ordinances, which have equal status as a national legislative act, in the field of the welfare competencies of the communities: in the Brussels-Capital Region, both the French Community and the Flemish Community can exercise competencies in the field of welfare, but only in regard to institutions that are unilingual (e.g. a private French-speaking retirement home or the Dutch-speaking hospital of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). The Common Community Commission is competent for policies aiming directly at private persons or at bilingual institutions (e.g. the centra for social welfare of the 19 municipalities). Its ordinances have to be enacted with a majority in both linguistic groups. Failing such a majority, a new vote can be held, where a majority of at least one third in each linguistic group is sufficient.
  • The Brussels Region is not a province, nor does it belong to one. Within the Region, 99% of the provincial competencies are assumed by the Brussels regional institutions. Remaining is only the governor of Brussels-Capital and some aides.
  • 6 inter-municipal policing zones
  • intercommunal societies created freely by the municipalities

Also the federal state, the French Community and the Flemish Community exercise competencies on the territory of the region. 19 of the 72 French-speaking members of the Brussels Parliament are also members of the Parliament of the French Community of Belgium, and until 2004 this was also the case for six Dutch-speaking members, who were at the same time members of the Flemish Parliament. Now, people voting for a Flemish party have to vote separately for 6 directly elected members of the Flemish Parliament.

Due to the multiple capacities of single members of parliament, there are parliamentarians who are at the same member of the Brussels Parliament, member of the Assembly of the Common Community Commission, member of the Assembly of the French Community Commission, member of the Parliament of the French Community of Belgium and "community senator" in the Belgian Senate. At the moment, this is the case for Mr. François Roelants du Vivier (for the Mouvement Réformateur), Mrs. Amina Derbaki Sbaï (since June 2004 for the Parti Socialiste, but beforehand, since 2003, for the Mouvement Réformateur) and Mrs Sfia Bouarfa (since 2001 for the Parti Socialiste).

In Belgian politics

Despite what its name suggests, the Brussels-Capital Region is not the capital of Belgium in itself. Article 194 of the Belgian Constitution lays down that the capital of Belgium is the City of Brussels, a smaller municipality within the capital region that once was the city's core.[26]

However, although the City of Brussels is the official capital, the funds allowed by the federation and region for the representative role of the capital are divided among the 19 municipalities, and some national institutions are sited in the other 18 municipalities. Thus, while only the City of Brussels itself officially carries the title of capital of Belgium, in practice the entire capital region plays this role, and the national institutions of the Belgian state are spread loosely around the region.[citation needed]

Seat of the French Community and Flemish Community

The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three federated regions of Belgium, alongside Wallonia and the Flemish Region. Geographically and linguistically, it is a (bilingual) enclave in the (unilingual) Flemish Region. Regions are one component of Belgium's complex institutions, the three communities being the other component: Brussels' inhabitants must deal with either the French (speaking) community or the Flemish Community for matters such as culture and education.[27]

Brussels is also the capital of both the French Community of Belgium (Communauté française de Belgique in French) and of Flanders (Vlaanderen); all Flemish capital institutions are established here: Flemish Parliament, Flemish government and its administration.[28]

  • 2 community-specific public authorities, French Community Commission (French: Commission communautaire française or COCOF) and the Flemish Community Commission (Dutch: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, VGC) for the Flemings in Brussels, with an assembly (i.e. the members of parliament of the linguistic group) and a board (the ministers and secretaries of state of the linguistic group). These commissions implement policies of the French Community and the Flemish Community in the Brussels-Capital Region.[27]
  • The French Community Commission has also another capacity: some legislative competencies of the French Community have been devolved to the Walloon Region (for the French language area of Belgium) and to the French Community Commission (for the bilingual language area).[29] The Flemish Community, however, did the opposite; it merged the Flemish Region into the Flemish Community.[30] This is related to different conceptions in the two communities, one focusing more on the communities and the other more on the regions, causing an asymmetrical federalism. Because of this devolution, the French Community Commission can enact decrees, which are legislative acts.

In international politics

Brussels has since World War II become the administrative centre of many international organisations. Notably the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) have their main institutions in the city, along with many other international organisations such as the WEU, WCO and EUROCONTROL as well as international corporations. Brussels is third in the number of international conferences it hosts[31] also becoming one of the largest convention centres in the world.[32] The presence of the EU and the other international bodies has for example led to there being more ambassadors and journalists in Brussels than in Washington D.C..[33] International schools have also been established to serve this presence.[32] The "international community" in Brussels numbers at least 70,000 people, if you count staff at the EU institutions, the Nato headquarters and the diplomats, lobbyists and journalists who work alongside them.[34] In 2009, there were an estimated 286 lobbying consultancies known to work in Brussels. [35]

European Union

Brussels serves as capital of the European Union, hosting the major political institutions of the Union.[7] The EU has not declared a capital formally, though the Treaty of Amsterdam formally gives Brussels the seat of the European Commission (the executive/government branch) and the Council of the European Union (a legislative institution made up from leaders of member states).[36][37] It locates the formal seat of European Parliament in the French city of Strasbourg, where votes take place with the Council on the proposals made by the Commission. However meetings of political groups and committee groups are formally given to Brussels along with a set number of plenary sessions. Three quarters of Parliament now takes place at its Brussels hemicycle.[38] Between 2002 and 2004, the European Council also fixed its seat in the city.[39]

The heart of the European Quarter, looking down the Rue de la Loi towards the centre of the city. The presence of the EU institutions has had a colossal impact on the development of Brussels.

Brussels, along with Luxembourg and Strasbourg, began to host institutions in 1957, soon becoming the centre of activities as the Commission and Council based their activities in what has become the "European Quarter".[36] Early building in Brussels was sporadic and uncontrolled with little planning, the current major buildings are the Berlaymont building of the Commission, symbolic of the quarter as a whole, the Justus Lipsius building of the Council and the Espace Léopold of Parliament.[37] Today the presence has increased considerably with the Commission alone occupying 865,000 m2 within the "European Quarter" in the east of the city (a quarter of the total office space in Brussels[7]). The concentration and density has caused concern that the presence of the institutions has caused a "ghetto effect" in that part of the city.[40] However the presence has contributed significantly to the importance of Brussels as an international centre.[33]


On 1 May 2008, the region had a population of 1,070,841 for 161.382 km2 which gives a population density of 6,635 inhabitants per km²

Population by national origin, 1 March 1991[41]
(last census ever organised in Belgium)
Belgians born in Belgium (to Belgian parents) 607,446 63.7%
Belgians born abroad (to Belgian parents)
Congo, Rwanda and Burundi (former Belgian overseas territories)
Naturalised migrants (not born in Belgium, not to Belgian parents)
Naturalised 1st and 2nd generations (born in Belgium, not to Belgian parents)
Non-naturalised 1st and 2nd generations
Old migrants
(born abroad, foreign nationals, living in Belgium in 1986)
Recent migrants
(born abroad, foreign nationals, arrived in Belgium after 1986)
Total Brussels-Capital Region 954,040 100%

At the last Belgian census in 1991, there were 63.7% inhabitants in Brussels-Capital Region who answered they were Belgian citizens, born as such in Belgium. However, there have been numerous individual or familial migrations towards Brussels since the end of the 18th century, including political refugees (Karl Marx, Victor Hugo, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Léon Daudet e.g.) from neighbouring or more distanced countries as well as labour migrants, former foreign students or expatriates, and many Belgian families in Brussels can tell at least a foreign grandparent. And even among the Belgians, many became Belgian only recently.

The original Dutch dialect of Brussels (Brussels) is a form of Brabantic (the variant of Dutch spoken in the ancient Duchy of Brabant) with a significant number of loanwords from French, and still survives among a minority of inhabitants called Brusseleers, many of them quite bi- and multilingual, or educated in French and not writing the Dutch language. Brussels and its suburbs evolved from a Dutch-dialect–speaking town to a mainly French-speaking town. The ethnic and national self-identification of the inhabitants is quite different along ethnic lines. For their French-speaking Bruxellois, it can vary from Belgian, Francophone Belgian, Bruxellois (like the Memelländer in interwar ethnic censuses in Memel), Walloon (for people who migrated from the Wallonia Region at an adult age); for Flemings living in Brussels it is mainly either Flemish or Brusselaar (Dutch for an inhabitant) and often both. For the Brusseleers, many simply consider themselves as belonging to Brussels. For the many rather recent immigrants from other countries, the identification also includes all the national origins: people tend to call themselves Moroccans or Turks rather than an American-style hyphenated version.

The two largest foreign groups come from two francophone countries: France and Morocco.[25] The first language of roughly half of the inhabitants is not an official one of the Capital Region.[42] Nevertheless, about three out of four residents have the Belgian nationality.[43]|Dutch people]] or native speakers of French, thus roughly half of the inhabitants do not speak either French or Dutch as primary language.</ref>[44] --> In general the population of Brussels is younger and the gap between rich and poor is wider. Brussels also has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan ancestry, and mainly French-speaking black Africans. Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background, so exact figures are unknown, but one estimate put then number of Muslims in Brussels at 15%.[45]

Both immigration and its status as head of the European Commission made Brussels a really cosmopolitan city. The migrant communities, as well as rapidly growing communities of EU-nationals from other EU-member states, speak Moroccan dialectal Arabic, French, Turkish, Spanish (most Spanish came from the Asturias, a minority from Andalusia and some from Catalonia and the Basque country), Italian, Polish, Rif Berber, English and other languages, including those of every EU-member state in the expat communities. The degree of linguistic integration varies widely within each migrant group.

Among all major migrants groups from outside the EU, a majority of the permanent residents have acquired the Belgian nationality.

Although historically (since the Counter-Reformation persecution and expulsion of Protestants by the Spanish in the 16th century) Roman Catholic, most people in Brussels are non-practising. About 10% of the population regularly attends church services. Among the religions, historically dominant Roman Catholicism prevailing mostly in a relaxed way, one finds large minorities of Muslims, atheists, agnosticists, and of the philosophical school of humanism, the latter mainly as laïcité-vrijzinnig (an approximate translation would be secularists or free thinkers) or practicing Humanism as a life stance—Brussels houses several key organisations for both kinds. Other (recognised) religions (Protestantism, Anglicanism, Orthodoxy and Judaism) are practised by much smaller groups in Brussels. Recognised religions and Laïcité enjoy public funding and school courses: every pupil in an official school from 6 years old to 18 must choose 2 hours per week of compulsory religion—or Laïcité—inspired morals.


Estimate of languages spoken at home (Capital Region, 2006)[46]
     French only     French & Dutch     French & non-Dutch language     Dutch only     Neither French nor Dutch

Since the founding of the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830, Brussels has transformed from being almost entirely Dutch-speaking, (Brabantian to be exact), to being a multilingual city with French (Belgian French to be exact) as the majority language and lingua franca. This language shift, the Frenchification of Brussels, is rooted in the 18th century and accelerated after Belgium became independent and Brussels expanded past its original boundaries.[47][48]

Manneken Pis is seen as a symbol of French and Dutch cohabitation in Brussels.[49]

Not only is French-speaking immigration responsible for the Frenchification of Brussels, but more importantly the language change over several generations from Dutch to French was performed in Brussels by the Flemish people themselves. The main reason for this was the political, administrative and social pressure, partly based on the low social prestige of the Dutch language in Belgium at the time.[50] From 1880 on, more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over the mostly bilingual Flemish inhabitants.[51]

Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border and the socio-economic development of Flanders was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use.[52] Through immigration, a further number of formerly Dutch-speaking municipalities in surrounding Flanders became majority French-speaking in the second half of the 20th century.[53][54][55] This phenomenon is, together with the future of Brussels, one of the most controversial topics in all of Belgian politics.[56][57]

Given its Dutch-speaking origins and the role that Brussels plays as the capital city in a bilingual country, Flemish political parties demand that the entire Brussels-Capital Region be fully bilingual, including its subdivisions and public services. They also demand that the contested Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde arrondissement will be separated from the Brussels region. However, the French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial[58] and demands the extension of the bilingual region to at least all six municipalities with language facilities in the surroundings of Brussels.[59] Flemish politicians have strongly rejected these proposals.[60][61][62]



The medieval Grand Place

The architecture in Brussels is diverse, and spans from the mediaeval constructions on the Grand Place to the postmodern buildings of the EU institutions.

Main attractions include the Grand Place, since 1988 a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the Gothic town hall in the old centre, the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral and the Laken Castle with its large greenhouses. Another famous landmark is the Royal Palace.

The Atomium is a symbolic 103-metre (338 ft) tall structure that was built for the 1958 World’s Fair. It consists of nine steel spheres connected by tubes, and forms a model of an iron crystal (specifically, a unit cell). The architect A. Waterkeyn devoted the building to science. Next to the Atomium is the Mini-Europe park with 1:25 scale maquettes of famous buildings from across Europe.

The Manneken Pis, a bronze fountain of a small peeing boy is a famous tourist attraction and symbol of the city.

Other landmarks include the Cinquantenaire park with its triumphal arch and nearby museums, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Brussels Stock Exchange, the Palace of Justice and the buildings of EU institutions in the European Quarter.

Cinquantenaire triumphal arch

Cultural facilities include the Brussels Theatre and the La Monnaie Theatre and opera house. There is a wide array of museums, from the Royal Museum of Fine Art to the Museum of the Army and the Comic Museum. Brussels also has a lively music scene, with everything from opera houses and concert halls to music bars and techno clubs.

The city centre is notable for its Flemish town houses. Also particularly striking are the buildings in the Art Nouveau style by the Brussels architect Victor Horta. Some of Brussels' districts were developed during the heyday of Art Nouveau, and many buildings are in this style. Good examples include Schaerbeek, Etterbeek, Ixelles, and Saint-Gilles. Another example of Brussels Art Nouveau is the Stoclet Palace, by the Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann. The modern buildings of Espace Leopold complete the picture.


The city has had a renowned artist scene for many years. The famous Belgian surrealist René Magritte, for example, studied in Brussels. The city is also a capital of the comic strip; some treasured Belgian characters are Lucky Luke, Tintin, Cubitus, Gaston Lagaffe and Marsupilami. Throughout the city walls are painted with large motifs of comic book characters, and the interiors of some Metro stations are designed by artists. The Belgian Comics Museum combines two artistic leitmotifs of Brussels, being a museum devoted to Belgian comic strips, housed in the former Waucquez department store, designed by Victor Horta in the Art Nouveau style.

Brussels contains over 80 museums,[63] including the Museum of Modern Art,[64] and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. The museum has an extensive collection of various painters, such as the Flemish painters like Bruegel, Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin, Anthony van Dyck, and Jacob Jordaens. The recently opened Magritte Museum houses the world's largest collection of the works of the surrealist René Magritte.

The King Baudouin Stadium is a concert and competition facility with a 50,000 seat capacity, the largest in Belgium. The site was formerly occupied by the Heysel Stadium.


Brussels is known for its local waffle (pictured) and chocolate.

Brussels is known for its local waffle, its chocolate, its French fries and its numerous types of beers. The Brussels sprout was first cultivated in Brussels, hence its name.

The gastronomic offer includes approximately 1,800 restaurants, and a number of high quality bars. Belgian cuisine is known among connoisseurs as one of the best in Europe. In addition to the traditional restaurants, there is a large number of cafés, bistros, and the usual range of international fast food chains. The cafés are similar to bars, and offer beer and light dishes; coffee houses are called the Salons de Thé. Also widespread are brasseries, which usually offer a large number of beers and typical national dishes.

Belgian cuisine is characterised by the combination of French cuisine with the more hearty Flemish fare. Notable specialities include Brussels waffles (gaufres) and mussels (usually as "moules frites," served with fries). The city is a stronghold of chocolate and pralines manufacturers with renowned companies like Godiva, Neuhaus and Leonidas. Numerous friteries are spread throughout the city, and in tourist areas, fresh, hot, waffles are also sold on the street.

In addition to the regular selection of Belgian beer, the famous lambic style of beer is only brewed in and around Brussels, and the yeasts have their origin in the Senne valley. In mild contrast to the other versions, Kriek (cherry beer) enjoys outstanding popularity, as it does in the rest of Belgium. Kriek is available in almost every bar or restaurant.


Serving as the centre of administration for Europe, Brussels' economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various administrations, and by related services, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery, a lambic brewery founded in 1900.


There are several universities in Brussels. The two main universities are the Université Libre de Bruxelles, a French-speaking university with about 20,000 students in three campuses in the city (and two others outside),[65] and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a Dutch-speaking university with about 10,000 students.[66] Both universities originate from a single ancestor university founded in 1834, namely the Free University of Brussels, which was split in 1970 at about the same time the Flemish and French Communities gained legislative power over the organisation of higher education.

Other universities include the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis with 2,000 students,[67] the Catholic University of Brussels (Katholieke Universiteit Brussel),[68] the Royal Military Academy, a military college established in 1834 by a French colonel[69] and two drama schools founded in 1982: the French-speaking Conservatoire Royal and the Dutch-speaking Koninklijk Conservatorium.[70][71]

Still other universities have campuses in Brussels, such as the Université Catholique de Louvain that has had its medical faculty in the city since 1973.[72] In addition the Boston University Brussels campus was established in 1972 and offers masters degrees in business administration and international relations. Due to the post-war international presence in the city, there are also a number of international schools, including the International School of Brussels with 1,450 pupils between 2½ and 18,[73] the British School of Brussels, and the four European Schools serving those working in the EU institutions.[74]


main article: Transport in Brussels
High-speed rail networks connect Brussels with other European cities (ICE train in the North station pictured)


Brussels is served by Brussels Airport, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of Zaventem, and by the smaller Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located near Charleroi (Wallonia), some 50 km (30 mi) from Brussels. Brussels is also served by direct high-speed rail links: to London by the Eurostar train via the Channel Tunnel (1hr 51 min); to Amsterdam, Paris (1hr 25 min) and Cologne by the Thalys; and to Cologne and Frankfurt by the German ICE.

Brussels also has its own port on the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal located in the northwest of the city. The Brussels-Charleroi Canal connects Brussels with the industrial areas of Wallonia.

Public transport

The Brussels Metro dates back to 1976, but underground lines known as premetro have been serviced by tramways since 1968. A comprehensive bus and tram network also covers the city.

An interticketing system means that a STIB ticket holder can use the train or long-distance buses inside the city. The commuter services operated by De Lijn, TEC and SNCB will in the next few years be augmented by a metropolitan RER rail network around Brussels.

Since 2003 Brussels has had a car-sharing service operated by the Bremen company Cambio in partnership with STIB and local ridesharing company taxi stop. In 2006 shared bicycles were also introduced.

Road network

Rue de la Loi is one of the city's main streets

In medieval times Brussels stood at the intersection of routes running north-south (the modern Rue Haute/Hoogstraat) and east-west (Chaussée de Gand/Gentsesteenweg-Rue du Marché aux Herbes/Grasmarkt-Rue de Namur/Naamsestraat). The ancient pattern of streets radiating from the Grand Place in large part remains, but has been overlaid by boulevards built over the River Zenne/Senne, over the city walls and over the railway connection between the North and South Stations.

As one expects of a capital city, Brussels is the hub of the fan of old national roads, the principal ones being clockwise the N1 (N to Breda), N2 (E to Maastricht), N3 (E to Aachen), N4 (SE to Luxembourg) N5 (S to Rheims), N6 (SW to Maubeuge), N8 (W to Koksijde) and N9 (NW to Ostend).[75] Usually named chaussées/steenwegen, these highways normally run in a straight line, but on occasion lose themselves in a maze of narrow shopping streets.

The town is skirted by the European route E19 (N-S) and the E40 (E-W), while the E411 leads away to the SE. Brussels has an orbital motorway, numbered R0 (R-zero) and commonly referred to as the "ring" (French: ring Dutch: grote ring). It is pear-shaped as the southern side was never built as originally conceived, owing to residents' objections.

The city centre, sometimes known as "the pentagon", is surrounded by an inner ring road, the "small ring" (French: petite ceinture, Dutch: kleine ring ), a sequence of boulevards formally numbered R20. These were built upon the site of the second set of city walls following their demolition. Metro line 2 runs under much of these.

On the eastern side of the city, the R21 (French: grande ceinture, grote ring in Dutch) is formed by a string of boulevards that curves round from Laeken (Laken) to Uccle (Ukkel). Some premetro stations (see Brussels Metro) were built on that route. A little further out, a stretch numbered R22 leads from Zaventem to Saint-Job.

The Sonian Forest at the outskirts of Brussels

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Brussels is twinned with the following 15 cities:

See also


  1. ^ a b c "The Belgian Constitution (English version)" (PDF). Belgian House of Representatives. January 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-05. "Article 3: Belgium comprises three Regions: the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and the Brussels Region. Article 4: Belgium comprises four linguistic regions: the Dutch-speaking region, the French speaking region, the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital and the German-speaking region." 
  2. ^ a b c "Brussels-Capital Region: Creation". Centre d'Informatique pour la Région Bruxelloise (Brussels Regional Informatics Center). 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-05. "Since 18 June 1989, the date of the first regional elections, the Brussels-Capital Region has been an autonomous region comparable to the Flemish and Walloon Regions."  (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.)
  3. ^ "Brussels". Retrieved 2008-01-10. 
  4. ^ a b Statistics Belgium; Population de droit par commune au 1 janvier 2008 (excel-file) Population of all municipalities in Belgium, as of 1 January 2008. Retrieved on 2008-10-18.
  5. ^ a b Statistics Belgium; De Belgische Stadsgewesten 2001 (pdf-file) Definitions of metropolitan areas in Belgium. The metropolitan area of Brussels is divided into three levels. First, the central agglomeration (geoperationaliseerde agglomeratie) with 1,451,047 inhabitants (2008-01-01, adjusted to municipal borders). Adding the closest surroundings (banlieue) gives a total of 1,831,496. And, including the outer commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 2,676,701. Retrieved on 2008-10-18.
  6. ^ It is the de facto city as it hosts all major political institutions—though Parliament formally votes in Strasbourg, most political work is carried out in Brussels—and as such is considered the capital by definition. However, it should be noted that it is not formally declared in that language, though its position is spelled out in the Treaty of Amsterdam. See the section dedicated to this issue.
  7. ^ a b c Demey, Thierry (2007). Brussels, capital of Europe. S. Strange (trans.). Brussels: Badeaux. ISBN 2-9600414-2-9. 
  8. ^ "Welcome to Brussels". Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  9. ^ - History of Brussels
  10. ^ BBC NEWS | Europe | Country profiles | Country profile: Belgium
  11. ^ BBC NEWS | Europe | Analysis: Where now for Belgium?
  12. ^ Geert van Istendael Arm Brussel, uitgeverij Atlas, ISBN 90-450-0853X
  13. ^ "Brussels History". Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  14. ^ (Dutch)Zo ontstond Brussel Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie - Commission of the Flemish Community in Brussels
  15. ^ "Communes". Centre d'Informatique pour la Région Bruxelloise. 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  16. ^ a b "Managing across levels of government" (PDF). OECD. 1997. pp. 107, 110. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  17. ^ a b Picavet, Georges (29 April 2003). "Municipalities (1795-now)". Georges Picavet. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  18. ^ "Brussels Capital-Region". Georges Picavet. 4 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-08-04. 
  19. ^ Site de l'institut météorologique belge
  20. ^ "Weather Information for Brussels". World Weather Information Service. Retrieved 6 January 2008. 
  21. ^ (French) Personal website Lexilogos located in the Provence, on European Languages (English, French, German, Dutch, and so on) - French-speakers in Brussels are estimated at about 90% (estimation, not an 'official' number because there are no linguistic census in Belgium)
  22. ^ (French) Langues majoritaires, langues minoritaires, dialectes et NTIC by Simon Petermann, Professor at the University of Liège, Wallonia, Belgium
  23. ^ a b Flemish Academic E. Corijn, at a Colloquium regarding Brussels, on 5 December 2001, states that in Brussels there is 91% of the population speaking French at home, either alone or with another language, and there is about 20% speaking Dutch at home, either alone (9%) or with French (11%) - After ponderation, the repartition can be estimated at between 85 and 90% French-speaking, and the remaining are Dutch-speaking, corresponding to the estimations based on languages chosen in Brussels by citizens for their official documents (ID, driving licenses, weddings, birth, death, and so on) ; all these statistics on language are also available at Belgian Department of Justice (for weddings, birth, death), Department of Transport (for Driving licenses), Department of Interior (for IDs), because there are no means to know precisely the proportions since Belgium has abolished 'official' linguistic censuses, thus official documents on language choices can only be estimations.
  24. ^ (French) Personal website Lexilogos located in the Provence, on European Languages (English, French, German, Dutch, and so on) - Dutch-speakers in Brussels are estimated at about 10% (estimation, not an 'official' number because there are no linguistic census in Belgium)
  25. ^ a b (French) IS 2007 - Population (Tableaux)
  26. ^ "Title VII". Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  27. ^ a b (Dutch)VGC (French)COCOF
  28. ^ "Brussels, the capital of Flanders". Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved November 6, 2009. 
  29. ^ Procedure contained in art. 138 of the Belgian Constitution
  30. ^ Procedure in art. 137 of the Belgian Constitution
  31. ^ Brussels, an international city and European capital Université Libre de Bruxelles
  32. ^ a b Brussels: home to international organisations
  33. ^ a b E!Sharp magazine, January-February 2007 issue: Article "A tale of two cities".
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^ a b European Navigator Seat of the European Commission
  37. ^ a b European Commission publication: Europe in Brussels 2007
  38. ^ Wheatley, Paul (2006-10-02). "The two-seat parliament farce must end". Café Babel. Retrieved 2007-07-16. 
  39. ^ Stark, Christine. "Evolution of the European Council: The implications of a permanent seat" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-07-12. 
  40. ^ Vucheva, Elitsa (2007-09-05). "EU quarter in Brussels set to grow". EU Observer. Retrieved 2007-09-27. 
  41. ^ T. Eggerickx et al., De allochtone bevolking in België, Algemene Volks- en Woningtelling op 1 maart 1991, Monografie nr. 3, 1999, Nationaal Instituut voor de Statistiek
  42. ^ "Van autochtoon naar allochtoon" (in Dutch). De Standaard (newspaper) online. Retrieved 2007-05-05. "Meer dan de helft van de Brusselse bevolking is van vreemde afkomst. In 1961 was dat slechts 7 procent. (More than half of the Brussels' population is of foreign origin. In 1961 this was only 7 percent.)". 
  43. ^ Van Parijs, Philippe, Professor of economic and social ethics at the UCLouvain, Visiting Professor at Harvard University and the KULeuven. "Belgium's new linguistic challenges" (pdf 0.7 MB). KVS Express (supplement to newspaper De Morgen) March–April 2007: Article from original source (pdf 4.9 MB) pages 34–36 republished by the Belgian Federal Government Service (ministry) of Economy — Directorate-general Statistics Belgium. Retrieved 2007-05-05.  — The linguistic situation in Belgium (and in particular various estimations of the population speaking French and Dutch in Brussels) is discussed in detail.
  44. ^ "Population et ménages" (in French) (pdf 1.4 MB). IBSA Cellule statistique — Min. Région Bruxelles-Capitale (Statistical cell — Ministry of the Brussels-Capital Region). Retrieved 2007-05-05. 
  45. ^ Michaels, Adrian (8 August 2009). "Muslim Europe: the demographic time bomb transforming our continent". Telegraph. 
  46. ^ (Dutch)”Taalgebruik in Brussel en de plaats van het Nederlands. Enkele recente bevindingen”, Rudi Janssens, Brussels Studies, Nummer 13, 7 January 2008 (see page 4).
  47. ^ "Wallonie - Bruxelles, Le Service de la langue française" (in French). 1997-05-19. Archived from the original on 2007-01-05. 
  48. ^ "Villes, identités et médias francophones: regards croisés Belgique, Suisse, Canada" (in French). University of Laval, Quebec. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  49. ^ "Manneken-Pis schrijft slecht Nederlands" (in Dutch). Het Nieuwsblad. 2007-08-25. 
  50. ^ G. Geerts. "Nederlands in België, Het Nederlands bedreigd en overlevend" (in Dutch). Geschiedenis van de Nederlandse taal. M.C. van den Toorn, W. Pijnenburg, J.A. van Leuvensteijn and J.M. van der Horst. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  51. ^ (Dutch)"Thuis in gescheiden werelden" — De migratoire en sociale aspecten van verfransing te Brussel in het midden van de 19e eeuw", BTNG-RBHC, XXI, 1990, 3-4, pp. 383-412, Machteld de Metsenaere, Eerst aanwezend assistent en docent Vrije Universiteit Brussel
  52. ^ J. Fleerackers, Chief of staff of the Belgian Minister for Dutch culture and Flemish affairs (1973). "De historische kracht van de Vlaamse beweging in België: de doelstellingen van gister, de verwezenlijkingen vandaag en de culturele aspiraties voor morgen" (in Dutch). Digitale bibliotheek voor Nederlandse Letteren. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  53. ^ "Kort historisch overzicht van het OVV" (in Dutch). Overlegcentrum van Vlaamse Verenigingen. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  54. ^ "Bisbilles dans le Grand Bruxelles" (in French). Le Monde. 2007-10-02.,1-0@2-3214,36-969206@51-926038,0.html. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  55. ^ "Sint-Stevens-Woluwe: een unicum in de Belgische geschiedenis" (in Dutch). Overlegcentrum van Vlaamse Verenigingen. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  56. ^ "Brussels". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  57. ^ "Bruxelles dans l'oeil du cyclone" (in French). France 2. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  58. ^ "La Flandre ne prendra pas Bruxelles..." (in French). La Libre Belgique. 2006-05-28. 
  59. ^ The six municipalities with language facilities around Brussels are Wemmel, Kraainem, Wezembeek-Oppem, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Linkebeek and Drogenbos.
  60. ^ "Une question: partir ou rester?" (in French). La Libre Belgique. 2005-01-24. 
  61. ^ "Position commune des partis démocratiques francophones" (in French). Union des Francophones (UF), Province of Flemish Brabant. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  62. ^ "Bruxelles-capitale: une forte identité" (in French). France 2. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  63. ^ Museums in Brussels
  64. ^ "Museum of Modern Art in Brussels. Museum Moderne Kunst Brussel. Musée d'art moderne Bruxelles". Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  65. ^ "Presentation of the Université libre de Bruxelles". Université Libre de Bruxelles. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  66. ^ "About the University: Culture and History". Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  67. ^ "Institution: Historique". Facultés Universitaires Saint Louis. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  68. ^ "Katholieke Universiteit Brussel". Katholieke Universiteit Brussel. Archived from the original on 2008-02-14. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  69. ^ "What makes the RMA so special?". Belgian Royal Military Academy. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  70. ^ "Petite histoire du Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles". Conservatoire Royal. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  71. ^ "Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel". Koninklijk Conservatorium. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  72. ^ "L'histoire de l'UCL à Bruxelles". Université Catholique de Louvain. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  73. ^ "ISB Profile". International School of Brussels. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  74. ^ "Background". Schola Europaea. Retrieved 2007-12-09. 
  75. ^ Belgian N roads
  76. ^ "Sister Cities". Beijing Municipal Government. Retrieved 2008-09-23. 
  77. ^ Madrid city council webpage "Mapa Mundi de las ciudades hermanadas". Ayuntamiento de Madrid. Madrid city council webpage. Retrieved 2009-07-22. 
  78. ^ Foregn relations of Moscow
  79. ^ "Prague Partner Cities" (in Czech). © 2009 Magistrát hl. m. Prahy. Retrieved 2009-07-02. 
  80. ^ "Twinning Cities: International Relations" (PDF). Municipality of Tirana. Retrieved 2009-06-23. 
  81. ^ "Protocol and International Affairs". DC Office of the Secretary.,a,1206,q,522336.asp. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Benelux : Belgium : Brussels
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Grand' Place-Grote Markt, Brussels
Grand' Place-Grote Markt, Brussels

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel; [1]) is the capital city of Belgium. As headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union. Being at the crossroads of cultures (the Germanic in the North and the Romance in the South) and playing an important role in Europe, Brussels fits the definition of the archetypal "melting pot", but still retains its own unique character. Population of the Brussels metropolitan area is just over 2 million.


Brussels is split into nineteen communes or gemeenten (municipalities/boroughs).

High-rise and construction in Brussels
High-rise and construction in Brussels
  • Bruxelles/Brussel - Brussels encompasses many charming and beautiful attractions, with deeply ornate buildings on the Grand'Place (Grote Markt), and a fish-and-crustacean overdose of St. Catherine's Square (Place St-Catherine / Sint-Katelijneplein). Stroll along, (and stop in for a drink) at one of the many bars on Place St-Géry (Sint-Goriks), or max out your credit card on the trendy Rue Antoine Dansaert (Antoine Dansaertstraat).
  • Ixelles - Elsene - A vibrant part of town with a high concentration of restaurants, bars and other services to satisfy the good-looking or the heavy-spending. Some wandering around will reveal small bookshops, affordable ethnic restaurants or independent record shops tucked away in side streets. The Matongé district just off Chaussée d'Ixelles is the city's main African neighbourhood.
  • Marolles/Marollen - Not a municipality, but a neighbourhood (part of Bruxelles - Brussel) close to the city's heart. Although this was one of the few places where the Brussels dialect could still be heard, this is rare nowadays. The area is best known for the flea market held daily on the Place du Jeu de Balle (Vossenplein) as well as a plethora of shops selling everything from old radios and bent wipers to fine china and expensive Art Nouveau trickets. Visit on Saturdays or Sundays.
  • Saint-Gilles/Sint-Gillis - The city's bohemian epicentre with thriving French, Portuguese, Spanish, Maghrebi and Polish communities. The area around the Parvis de St-Gilles (St-Gillisvoorplein) is the arty part, with the area around the Chatelain and the Church of the Holy Trinity being decidedly more yuppified. Like Schaerbeek, Saint-Gilles boasts several Art Nouveau and Haussmann-style buildings.
  • St-Josse/Sint-Joost - The smallest and poorest commune in Belgium, this predominantly Turkish commune might not always be too pleasing on the eye but does have a few small, welcoming streets. The mid-part of the Chaussée de Louvain is also home to a relatively small Indo-Pakistani community, so this is the place to head to for a tikka masala.
  • Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek - While there might be little interest in this commune to the casual visitor, it does host some very ornate Art Nouveau buildings. The Chaussée de Haecht is also the heart of Brussels' vast Turkish neighbourhood. It has more Turkish restaurants than you can shake a pide at.
  • Jette - Jette, together with Koekelberg and Ganshoren, are three communes in the north-west of Brussels. These green(-ish), mainly residential communes house the Basilica of Koekelberg on their shared territory.
  • Uccle/Ukkel - Brussels' poshest commune. Green, bourgeois and starched like all posh communes should be. Uccle has retained many of its charming medieval cul-de-sacs, tiny squares and small townhouses as has nearby Watermael-Boitsfort (Watermaal-Bosvoorde).
  • Molenbeek - Commonly known as Molenbeek-St-Jean (or Sint-Jans-Molenbeek). A commune with an overwhelmingly large Moroccan and, lately, Romanian population. With a reputation for being unwelcoming, if not downright dangerous, this is a place few locals venture to - let alone tourists.
  • WSP/WSL - Woluwé-Saint-Pierre and Woluwé-Saint-Lambert are two communes at the eastern end of the city. Mainly residential, with a mixture of housing blocks, quaint neighbourhoods and green areas this place is well-loved by Eurocrats and other professional types. The enormous Wolubilis cultural complex is well worth a visit.
Brussels Historic Center
Brussels Historic Center

As Brussels became the capital city of a new country in the 19th century, the old town was destroyed to make way for brand new ministries, palaces, schools, army barracks and office blocks all built between 1880 and 1980. Unfortunately, that is why such a disappointingly small historic centre (one square and four adjacent streets) was preserved, and why most tourists only visit Brussels as an afterthought. Travellers concentrate on the classic top 4 of Belgium :Bruges, Kemmelberg, Kortrijk and Oostende.

Brussels operates as a bilingual city where both French and Dutch are official languages. Thus all the streets have two names, which can sound totally different. For example, the Main Square is called both la Grand Place and de Grote Markt. Although French is the lingua franca, West-Flemmish can be very useful, especially in the European District. English is also widely understood, but not always widely spoken.

You can see what's going on in Brussels by picking up a copy of local free city rag Zone 02. Another good free listings paper is Agenda, which is distributed together with the dutch-language weekly Brussel Deze Week and has the notable advantage of being published in three languages (English, Dutch, French). Both of these are distributed in cafés and bars around the city. If you're looking for a good party, online listing Net Events (French and Dutch) and Ready2Move, are a good place to start.

Brussels Agenda is the official cultural and entertainment agenda of the City of Brussels and the francophone Médiatheque have a website featuring the upcoming concerts in Brussels and the rest of Belgium. Be aware, however, that their listings page is specialised so it only features the concerts the Médiatheque staff are interested in.

The most widely read English magazine is The Bulletin which, apart from covering Belgian and EU news, also offers arts and lifestyle stories, as well as in-depth events listings and a TV guide.

  • Brussels Airlines [2] serve Brussels from many destinations worldwide.

Brussels' main airport is Brussels International Airport- previously known as Zaventem (IATA code BRU). From the airport, a train (€5.05) runs every 15 mins to Brussels Nord, with the journey taking 15 minutes. There is also a bus (numbers 12 and 21) (€3, or €4 on board) every 20 to 30 minutes via Rondpoint Schumann to the Place de Luxembourg district, from where the same ticket is valid for another 30 minutes on the metro or busses into the centre. A taxi to the centre costs around €25 when booked in advance, otherwise around €35. Taxis bleus: +32 (0)2 268 0000, Taxi Brussels: +32 (0)2 411 4142, Taxis verts: +32 (0)2 349 4949. Beware of hidden charges, Taxis verts may quote you one price over the phone, but they charge an additional € 25 plus parking if your flight is delayed. Always confirm the final charge with your driver before getting in the car. If you've just arrived at the airport's train station, first check the time of the next train then go up one level and check whether a bus 12 or 21 is about to depart and take whichever is quicker depending on your final destination. For fix-rate taxi and minibus services visit [3]. They can take you anywhere in Belgium, not only Brussels.

There are several budget airlines, including Ryanair [4] and Wizzair [5], who fly to Charleroi airport. This airport is south of Brussels (IATA code CRL) and one hour away from Brussels Midi Station at the city centre by shuttle bus (€ 13 one way, €22 return), or by train to Charleroi Sud station and then by TEC Bus A (€2.50 one way) direct from Station to the airport. You can also get a taxi from the airport to the city centre, but this will cost a fixed price of approximately €90. The best deal is to book a shared airport transfer at [6], the only door to door minibus company at Charleroi Airport (price for groups start from €10).

Brussels airport has a luggage locker service (Floor 0) where one can leave their luggage for a fixed duration. The lockers say that you will have to retrieve your luggage within 72 hours or else they will be taken out. But they will actually be moved to the room adjacent and stored there until you retrieve them. This is a useful facility for people wanting to stow away big suitcases somewhere safe. The rate is €7.50 per day.

Antwerp airport (IATA code ANR) also has a good train connection to Brussels.

By train

Brussels has three main train stations: Bruxelles Midi-Brussel Zuid, to the south of the city core, Bruxelles Central-Brussel Centraal, which is right next to the city centre, and Bruxelles Nord-Brussel Noord, to the north of the city center (at Place Rogier). Unfortunately, high-speed trains stop only at Midi/Zuid, so you need to take the tram (or an ordinary train) a few stops north to get to Grand Place.

  • The high speed Thalys train connects Brussels with Cologne (2h23), Paris (1h20) and Amsterdam (2h00). There are numerous rebates for in advance, to over €150 single on the day.
  • There is also an hourly Intercity train from Brussels midi/central/north to Amsterdam (via Rotterdam, The Hague, Schiphol Airport). A day return from Brussels to Amsterdam takes 2:50 hours. You don't need a reservation. A weekend return ticket costs €41.40.
  • The Eurostar train line links Midi/Zuid with Lille Europe (39m from €22), Ashford (1h38m from €40) and London St. Pancras (1h51m from €40). Most Eurostar tickets are also valid for internal train travel in Belgium (to and from any Belgian train station within 24h of the validity of the Eurostar ticket), so once in Belgium travel is free for the day. Check in the bottom left hand corner of your ticket and confirm this before you get on the train.
  • Eurostar bookings and queries at tel: 02 528 28 28.
  • German ICE connects thrice a day to Frankfurt (€93 one way, "Europa Spezial Belgien" offer starting from €29).
  • Eurolines, +32 (0)2 274 1350 (U.K. +44 08 705 143 219), Fax +32 (0)2 201 1140. Offers bus travel from many countries to Brussels, for example 8 hours from London Victoria station at € 39. In Brussels, they stop outside the Gare du Nord-Noordstation and Gare du Midi-Zuidstation train stations.
  • Gulliver's, +49 (3)0 311 0211. Offers bus travel from Germany to many countries, for example 11 hours from Hamburg at €19 in advance, €46 normal price.
Grand' Place-Grote Markt, Brussels
Grand' Place-Grote Markt, Brussels

Brussels revamped its metro at the start of April 2009 to boast six lines, and at the same time rescheduled several tram and bus routes. Most are run by STIB-MIVB [7] except for some regional buses, which are run by De lijn [8] and Le Tec [9].

A card that can be used for ten rides on public transport costs €12.30. One hour tickets cost €1.70 if pre-purchased and are available from the driver for €2. One, five and ten ride tickets are available at almost all metro and train stations. There are also one-day tickets available, for €4.50.

You validate the ticket in the small orange machines located in buses/trams, or at the entrance to metro stations/major tram stops. The orange machines time-stamp the ticket, both in ink and magnetically, and it will be valid for one hour. You can interrupt your ride and interchangeably use any STIB/MIVB transport. You should revalidate your ticket for each new ride. Other forms of transport are:

  • The train service NMBS/SNCB, +32 (0)2 528 2828, [10].
  • The Flemish region (Dutch speaking) public bus service De Lijn, +32 070 220 200, [11].
  • The Walloon region (French speaking) public bus company TEC, +32 010 23 5353, [12]. (Website in 3 languages: German, English and Dutch).

By bike

Since 2009, the city offers low-cost short-term "Villo" rentals at 180 locations near the central city. The system only accepts Smart cards (the ones with an electronic chip and activated by a PIN code), it does not accept the regular magnetic stripe cards. The first half hour is free, the next costs €0.50. Registration costs €1.50 for a day and €7 for a week. The year long ticket costs €30. It is advisable to wear a helmet and a fluo vest (not mandatory). The bikes are robust, but rather heavy. More detailed information can be found online at Villo (English, French and Dutch). [13].

  • Brussels Bike Tours [14]. They take you on an easy (no hills) ride that lets you discover the city in just 4 hours.


Brussels has two official languages: French (80%) and Dutch (20%). Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels became more and more French-speaking over the 19th and 20th centuries. Today a majority of inhabitants are native French-speakers. Due to international institutions, English has become the second spoken language but it is still relatively rare to find written tourist or general information in English (although the situation is improving very slowly). All oral information in the train stations is only in French and Dutch. English information is also given in subways. Do not hesitate to ask someone if you do not understand what has been said.

Considering the city's location and that it markets itself as the capital of Europe, spoken English is less prevalent in Belgium than its Dutch neighbor. However, even if it is not as widely spoken as one may expect, it is nonetheless widely understood. As is generally the case elsewhere, the rate of success of finding someone who can speak English depends on several factors: notably age (14-35 year olds are most likely to speak English).

German is also an official language of Belgium, it is spoken by about 40,000 people located in the southeast corner of Belgium bordering Germany.

Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis
  • Grand Place-Grote Markt, [15]. Surrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300 year old buildings. In the evening, surrounded by bright lumination, it is simply ravishing. Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "gaufre de Liège-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar)—the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place-Grote Markt.  edit
  • Manneken Pis, [16]. Just a short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This statue of a child performing one of Nature's most basic functions is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue. One story goes that a father was missing his child and made a declaration to the city that when he found him he would build a statue of him, doing whatever it was that he was doing. Thus, a statue of a little boy peeing was created.  edit
  • Statue of Europe "Unity in Peace" [17] - This monumental work is dedicated to Europe and carries a universal message of brotherhood, tolerance and hope (French sculptor Bernard Romain)
  • Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark - Definitely check out the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfboog on the east side of town. It's in the Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark. It is possible to go up to the terrasse above the arch, from where you'll have a good view of the city. Entry is through the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History and is free. Take Metro line 1 east, exit Schuman and walk east or exit Mérode and walk west.
  • Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwersstraat - There are many excellent restaurants in this area, but be wary of those targeting just the tourists.
  • Atomium, (Take Metro line 1A direction Roi Baudouin-Koning Boudewijn and get off at Heysel-Heizel - approximately 5 mins easy walk from the station), +32 (0)475 4777, [18]. Open daily from 10:00 AM till 6:00 PM. Ticket Sale ends at 5.30 PM. Besides the Atomium there is a Ferris Wheel that takes you almost as high up as the Atomium but for a much shorter time. Costs €5 for adults. Built for the 1958 Brussels World Fair (Expo ’58), it is a 335 foot (102 meters) tall representation of an atomic unit cell. More precisely, it is symbolic of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. Nine steel spheres 54 feet (18 meters) in diameter connect via tubes with elevators 105 feet (35 meters) long. Windows in the top sphere provide an awesome panoramic view of Brussels. Originally planned to last only six months, the Atomium is still today the most popular attraction in Brussels. It hosts a lackluster exposition inside. Children of less than 6 years, coach drivers, disabled persons: free, children as from 6 years till 11 years: 2 €, adults: 11 €, teachers showing their teacher card: 9 €, children as from 12 till 18 years, students showing their student card and seniors (as from 65 years: 8 €.  edit
  • Mini-Europe, +32 (0)2 478 0550, [19]. Hosts a set of scale models of famous European structures. €12.90 Adults; €9.70 under 12.  edit
Bourse-Beurs, Brussels
Bourse-Beurs, Brussels
  • The Bourse, [20]. Stock market building in Brussels. Locals like to sit on the steps, sometimes with fries.  edit
  • Ferry Trip - The ferry is a tiny, electrically operated pontoon that makes a 1-minute crossing to Robinson's Island in the lake at the heart of Bois de la Cambre.
  • Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire (MRAH) - Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis (KMKG), Parc du Cinquantenaire 10, +32 (0)2 741 7211, [21]. Open Tu-Fr 9.30AM-5PM, Sa-Su and holidays 10AM-5PM, closed Mo and various holidays, last entry 4PM. This museum has an important collection of art objects from different civilizations from all over the world. The museum was founded in 1835 and was located in the Hallepoort/Porte de Hal, one of the last remaining medieval city gates of Brussels. Adults €5.   edit
  • Musées Royaux des Beaux Arts de Belgique - Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten van België (Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium), Rue de la Régence-Regentschapstraat 3, at Place Royale-Koningsplein, +32 (0)2 508 3211, [22]. Museum of Historical Art: Tues-Sun 10AM-noon and 1-5PM; Museum of Modern Art: Tue-Sun 10AM-1PM and 2-5PM. Features both historical art and modern art in the one building. In a vast museum of several buildings, this complex combines the Musée d'Art Ancien-Museum voor Oude Kunst and the Musée d'Art Moderne-Museum voor Moderne Kunst under one roof (connected by a passage). The collection shows off works, most of them Belgian, from the 14th to the 20th century, starting in the historical section, with Hans Memling's portraits from the late 15th century, which are marked by sharp lifelike details, works by Hiëronymus Bosch, and Lucas Cranach's Adam and Eve. You should particularly seek out the subsequent rooms featuring Pieter Brueghel, including his Adoration of the Magi. Don't miss his unusual Fall of the Rebel Angels, with grotesque faces and beasts. But don't fear, many of Brueghel's paintings, like those depicting Flemish village life, are of a less fiery nature. Later artists represented include Rubens, Van Dyck, Frans Hals, and Rembrandt. Next door, in a circular building connected to the main entrance, the modern art section has an emphasis on underground works - if only because the museum's eight floors are all below ground level. The collection includes works by van Gogh, Matisse, Dalí, Tanguy, Ernst, Chagall, Miró, and local boys Magritte, Delvaux, De Braekeleer and Permeke. Don't miss David's famous "Death of Marat." € 5.00 adults, € 2.50 students/seniors/disabled visitors, € 1.25 children 12-18, under 12 free. Also free on the first Wednesday afternoon of every month.   edit
  • Musée Belvue, Place des Palais 7, 1000, Bruxelles, +32 (0)70 22 0492, [23]. Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (June to September), from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (October to May). Features Belgium's history. Before it became a museum, the former 18th century luxury hotel was a royal residence. BELvue: €3, Coudenberg: €4, BELvue + Coudenberg: €5.  edit
  • Natural Sciences Museum of Belgium, Rue Vautier 29 (near Luxembourg station), +32 (0)2 627 4238, [24]. Open: daily from 9:30AM to 4:45PM; Saturday, Sunday and during school holidays (except the Summer break), from 10AM to 6PM; during the Summer break daily from 9:30AM to 4:45PM daily and in weekends from 10AM to 6PM. . The museum is well-known for its famous collection of iguanodons (dinosaurs discovered in a coal-mine in Belgium). The dinosaur collection has been refreshed in October 2007 and includes discovery activities for the children. The other parts of the museum are also interesting, as an exhibit of all animals that live in our houses and a collection of mammals. Price between €4.50 and €7, free the first Wednesday of each month as of 1PM. (50.837505654430934,4.376206398010254) edit
Horta Museum
Horta Museum
  • Horta Museum, Rue Américaine 25, Saint-Gilles (tram 81, tram 92 (place Janson), bus 54), +32 (0)2 543 0490 (fax: +32 (0)2 538 7631), [25]. Open daily 2PM-5:30PM, closed Monday. The home of noted Belgian Art Nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta. Seeing where he lived and worked is a great way to get an introduction to the art nouveau style in Brussels. It is one of four Horta works to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Adults €7, students / seniors €3.50, guided tours available by appointment.  edit
  • Royal Museum for Central Africa (RMCA), Leuvensesteenweg 13, 3080 Tervuren (Take tram 44), [26]. The Museum is home to some truly remarkable collections. Its collection of ethnographic objects from Central Africa is in fact the only one of its kind in the world. It also contains the entire archives of Henry Morton Stanley which are of great historical value. €4 adults, €1.50 young people (13-17), free for children under 12.  edit
  • Belgian Comic Strip Center (Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, Belgisch Centrum van het Beeldverhaal), 20 Rue des Sables, +32 (0)2 219 1980 (, fax: +32/2/219 23 76), [27]. Tue-Sun 10AM-6PM. Located in Europe's earliest Shopping-Mall (a shiny Jugendstil palais). There is a permanent exposition featuring the early beginning of comics as well as it's development. There is enough room for other varying expositions. The bookshop at the ground floor sells many different comics. A readers' library operates on the ground floor, where, for a low entrance fee, you can read many different comic books. €7.50 adults, €6 students/seniors. (50.85098919304033,) edit
  • Musée du Cinéma-Filmmuseum, Palais des Beaux-Arts, 9 rue Baron Horta, 1000 Bruxelles (Walk from Gare Centrale-Centraalstation), +32 (0)2 507 8370, [28]. A history of film-making. Free to look around; classic and cult films are shown at low prices.  edit
  • Autoworld, Parc du Cinquantenaire 11 (Metro: Merode or Schuman Train Station (Line 1) / Train: Merode or Schuman Train Station / Bus: 20, 28, 36, 67, 80 / Tram: 81), +32 (0)2 736 4165, [29]. 10:00 - 18:00 (4/1-9/30) 10:00-17:00 (10/1-3/31). Automobiles from the dawn of the motoring age to 1970s including the earliest Mercedes, Renaults, BMW Isettas, Tatras, Ford T-birds, even a jeepney from the Philippines. Adults €6, children 7-13 €3, children 6 and under free. (50.83994866276926,4.393753769741267) edit
  • Musée Royal de l'Armée - Koninklijk Museum van het Leger en van de Militaire Geschiedenis (Belgian Army Museum and Museum of Military History), Jubelpark 3 Parc du Cinquantenaire (Metro: Merode or Schuman Train Station (Line 1) / Train: Merode or Schuman Train Station / Bus: 20, 28, 36, 67, 80 / Tram: 81), +32 (0)2 737 7809, [30]. 9:00 - 16:45. The Belgian Army Museum and Museum of Military History occupies the north wing of the Palais Cinquantenaire. It provides an overview of the development of military technology and of the major campaigns fought on Belgian soil. The museum has three principal sections: Belgian military history (documents, uniforms and weaponry from the Middle Ages to the present day, including a most comprehensive collection of medieval arms and armor); the Armored Vehicle Hall with artillery, tanks etc. from the two World Wars; and the Air Section (Brussels Air Museum) with a collection of aircraft from World War I onwards. The Brussels Air Museum's high point is its collection of original aircraft from World War I. Free. (50.83994866276926,4.393753769741267)  edit
  • Musical Instruments Museum, Montagne de la Cour 2, +32 (0)2.545.01.30, [31]. Open Tu-Fr 9.30AM-16.45PM, Sa-Su 10AM-16.45PM. The mim houses more than 7000 instruments, from all times and all over the world. The museum’s reputation is built on its extraordinary collection. The exhibits are displayed on four different floors featuring a wide range of instruments from all time periods and areas of the world. The MIM is a place to experience music. An infrared headphone system allows each visitor to enjoy the sound and melodies played by the instruments presented. The restaurant on the roof is also famous because of its panoramic view over Brussel. Adults €5; under 26 and over 60 €4; under 13 free.  edit
  • Musée Magritte Museum, 1 Place Royale, 1000 Brussels, +32 (0)2 508 32 11 (fax: +32 (0)2 508 32 32), [32]. Tuesday to Sunday: from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, Wednesday until 8 p.m. Closed Mondays, January 1st, 2nd Thursday of January, May 1st, November 1st and 11th, December 25th. This museum is dedicated to the life and art of the Belgian artist René Magritte. It holds a multidisciplinary collection containing more than 200 of Magritte's works. Standard rate: €8, Combi with Modern & Ancient Art Museum: €13, Students 18-25 years and school groups min. 12 pers.: €2..  edit
  • Cantillon Brewery, 56, rue Gheude, 02 521.49.28, [33]. Monday to Friday from 8.30 AM till 5 PM; Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM; Closed on Sundays and public holidays. The last traditional gueuze/lambic brewery in Brussels, Cantillon still uses natural yeast fermentation (not injected like almost every other beer). This museum-esque atmosphere is still a functioning brewery. The €5 tour includes two small glasses of lambic and gueuze - be warned - if you like the sweetness of Lindeman's - this may not be for you. The lambics and gueuzes are made in original style with no sweetners or syrups added. Only 100% bio (organic) and natural fruits are used creating a distinctly sour drink. € 5.  edit



Brussels has a fair number of cinemas, if limited compared to most European capitals. French films are subtitled in Dutch, and vice versa, all other films are shown in the original version subtitled in French and Dutch (on cinema listings look for 'OV').

  • Actors Studio and Styx, run by the cooperative nouveau cinema. Both cinemas screen interesting films in their original version with French and Dutch subtitles. Actor's studio, Petite Rue des Bouchers - Kleine Beenhouwersstraat, Brussels 1000, tel: 025121696 or Cinéma Styx, Rue de l'Arbre Bénit - Gewijde Boomstraat 72, Ixelles-Elsene 1050.
  • Cinema Nova [34] is an independent-to-the-bone cinema showcasing the more esoteric side of cinema - films which would not be shown elsewhere are generally shown here. A Korean Ultraman rip-off, a Pakistani documentary or a bleak Chilean cinema vérité flick? Only at Nova. Nova Cinema, 3 rue Arenberg-Arenbergstraat, Brussels 1000.
  • Arenberg [35] is a good arthouse cinema with a well-programmed selection of films. Especially good for the newer arthouse flicks. Cinéma Arenberg, 26 Galerie de la Reine - Koninginnegalerij, Brussels 1000.
  • Musée du Cinema/Filmmuseum [36] is part of the Centre for Fine Arts and features a carefully chosen selection of contemporary and classic arthouse films. The best thing about this isn't just the building (due to be restored soon) but also the fact that the entrance fee is cheap. So if you can't live without your dose of Werner Herzog or Jan Svankmajer fret not - this place won't cost you an arm and a leg. Royal Film Museum, 9 Rue Baron Horta - Baron Hortastraat, Brussels 1000.
  • Vendome, 18 Chaussée de Wavre, Waversesteenweg, Ixelles-Elsene 1050. Another arthouse cinema. It's located near the Porte de Namur (Naamsepoort) and acts as the metaphysical gateway to a lively african neighbourhood known locally as Matongé.
  • Flagey [37] is the old broadcasting headquarters and now houses the regional TV station TVBrussel [38]. It labels itself 'the sound and images factory'. Quite an apt description - arthouse films, theatre pieces or world-renowned musicians are all featured here. Flagey, Place Sainte-Croix - Heilig-kruisplein, Ixelles-Elsene 1050.
  • UGC De Brouckère [39] - This is the most centrally located UGC in Brussels. Another UGC exists in Ixelles. As far as programming goes it's the usual Hollywood and mainstream European fare you'd expect from any other UGC in Europe. UGC De Brouckère, 38 Place De Brouckère - De Brouckèreplein, Brussels 1000.
  • Kinepolis [40] was the first megaplex in the world. It's located at Heysel, near the Atomium, and has 25 screens showing a wide selection of mainstream films.
  • BIFFF [41] is Brussels' international fantasy film festival (film fantastique in french). This two-weeks festival is scheduled yearly in March and is a must see for tourist and locals alike.
  • Offscreen [42] is a showcase for unusual, independent and unreleased films, cult classics, extraordinary documentaries and offbeat genres from around the world. Takes place during the month of February and/or March in co-production with Cinema Nova[43] and in collaboration with the Film Museum of the Royal Belgian Film Archive[44].


Brussels has a good selection of year round events, many suitable for English speaking visitors. The following sites are are useful to check out whats on.

  • Classictic Concerts [45] a site selling classical tickets, but has an excellent rundown of all the upcoming classical concerts.
  • Wallonie Tourism [46] is brought to you by the French Speaking Tourist board.
  • Ancienne Belgique [47] for popular concerts, where the stadium bands stop in.
  • Brussels Events Listings [48] is a roundup of events for an English speaking audience, this is good for some of the the smaller and Expat focussed venues.
Galeries Saint Hubert
Galeries Saint Hubert

Very few shops in Brussels open before 10AM, and most kick off about 10:30-11AM. Many shops are closed on Sunday and Monday.

  • Shopping at Galeries Saint Hubert-Sint Hubertusgalerijen. The world's first shopping mall, opened in 1847, is a light and airy triple-gallery enclosing boutiques, bookshops, cafés, restaurants, and a theater and cinema.
  • Marché aux Puces - Vlooienmarkt (Flea Market). Place du Jeu de Balle-Vossenplein, every day from 7AM to 2PM. This flea market offers everything from the weird to the wonderful at rock-bottom prices.
  • Beer:
    • Belgium Beer Tour[49] is a tour operator specializing in tours of Belgium breweries. It offers a great way for beer lovers to visit their favourite breweries and discover new ones. The tours cover a wide range of beers and appeals to connoisseurs and amateurs alike
    • Beer Mania[50], 174-176 Chausse de Wavre, 1050 Ixelles. Claims to have a stock of over 400 beers, but has been overrun by beer tourists. The stock is extensive, but quite pricey in comparison to GB, Del Haize, or Carrefour. Beer Mania is a great place to find out of the ordinary beers.
    • GB/Carrefour. Branches around the city carry a wide variety of beers, including almost all Trappist beer. Selection varies by store. The GB in Grand Place has a large selection and is approximately 33% of the price of the tourist shops.
    • Delhaize. Similar to GB/Carrefour, but a tad more expensive.
    • Match. Another store similar to GB/Carrefour, but has more of the unusual Belgian beers including Delerium.
  • Film :
    • Cinema Excellence, 94 - 96 Boulevard Anspachlaan. A must for all movielovers. Great collection classics and rare dvd's, books, vintage movie posters, screenprints, postcards, Tel +32 2 502 84 68.
  • Books:
    • Comic books and rare books. De Slegte on Rue des Grands Carmes-Lievevrouwbroersstraat, FNAC on Rue Neuve-Nieuwstra, 100 Boulevard Anspachlaan. Right in the center and one of the most up to date stores when it comes to contemporary comics.
    • Filigranes, the largest bookshop in Brussels, open 7 days a week, and features a small bar/café inside and quite often live music, located at 39 Avenue des Arts-Kunstlaan.
    • Sterling Books, One of the more popular English bookshops in downtown Brussels.
    • Pele-Mele, Boulevard Maurice Lemonnierlaan, 55 & 59 (Metro "Anneessens") - maze-like, second-hand bookshop with huge selection of used books at bargain prices. A bookworm's haven.
    • Waterstone's, 71-75 Boulevard Adolphe Maxlaan (Metro "De Brouckère"). English-language books.
    • FNAC, City 2 commercial center, Rue neuve. A big book/CD/DVD/electronics shop.
    • Mediamarket, 111-123 Rue Neuve. This shop is at the uppermost level of the Galeria Inno department store. Sells CDs, DVDs and consumer electronics. Slightly cheaper than FNAC.
  • Chocolate:
    • Leonidas[51], branches across the city. Inexpensive and good quality, at €4.35 for 250gm, and very popular with the locals.
    • Neuhaus[52], branches across the city. A bit more expensive than Leonidas and a bit higher quality. Very popular with the locals as well.
    • Marcolini[53], 39 Place du Grand Sablon. Arguably the best Belgian chocolates and priced accordingly. The country-specific products are difficult to find and quite worth the price.
    • Wittamer, 6-12-13 Place du Grand Sablon. Another excellent chocolate maker.
    • Chocopolis, 81 Rue du Marché aux Herbes. Between Grand Place and Central Station. Pick and choose your favorite type of chocolates, all at reasonable prices.
    • Maison Renardy 17, rue de Dublin 1050 +32 02 514 30 17 Bruxelles. A great boutique shop with delicious chocolate and friendly service. Stop by for a cup of tea or coffee, and get one of their chocolates free with your tea. Still peckish? You're able to bring a whole box home.
    • Godiva, branches around the city. Not very popular and quite pricey.
    • For the frugal, you can buy 100-200 gram gourmet bars of chocolate in grocery stores for about €1 each. Good brands to buy are Côte-d'Or and Jacques, both are Belgian.
  • Shopping:
    • General shopping along Rue Neuve-Nieuwstraat with GB supermarket at City 2 accessed from Rue Neuve-Nieuwstraat and Metro Rogier.
    • Galeria Inno, 111-123 Rue Neuve. Department store (fashion, cosmetics, etc.)
    • Belgian Lace is among the best in the world. Several shops are located at the Grand' Place-Grote Markt itself. Beware of some shops that sell Belgian lace even though production was outsourced abroad. Ask for a country of origin if purchasing around Grand Place.

Chocolate until you drop

Brussels is chock full of chocolates, but the ultimate indulgence for the chocoholic is Place du Grand Sablon-Grote Zavel, where you will find three shops selling some of the best chocolate in the world: Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer. Each store has its own specialties: Pierre Marcolini's take-away cakes and ice cream are reasons to be tempted, while Wittamer is the only one with a cafe on premises and also sells the ultimate hot chocolate. Passion Chocolat (20 Rue Vanderlinden) is a bit out of the way but its artisan chocolate is worth a visit, and you can taste lots of it for free at the entrance.

There is plenty of good eating to be had in Brussels. Most people concentrate on the three classics: mussels (moules), fries (frites) and chocolate. A few more adventurous bruxellois dishes include anguilles au vert / paling in't groen (river eels in green sauce), meat balls in tomato sauce, stoemp (mashed vegetables and potatoes) and turbot waterzooi (turbot fish in cream and egg sauce). For dessert, try a Belgian waffle (gauffre), also available in a square Brussels version dusted with powdered sugar, and choices of bananas, whipped cream and many other toppings. Although many prefer the round, caramelized version from Liège.


The matter over which establishment serves up the best frites (locally known as fritkots) remains a matter of heated debate. Some argue that the best frites in Brussels are served at the fritkot near the Barriere de Saint-Gilles, while others defend St-Josse's Martin (Place Saint-Josse/Sint-Joostplein) as the prime purveyor of the authentic Brussels frite just as others claim Antoine (Place Jourdan/Jourdanplein) remains the king of the local french fry. No matter which fritkot you're at, try to be adventurous and have something other than ketchup or mayonnaise on your fries. Of the selection of bizarre sauces you've never seen before, "andalouse" is probably the most popular with the locals.


  • Maison Antoine, Place Jourdanplein - tasty fries with a large collection of sauces situated on a square close to the European Parliament. You can eat your fries (frites) in one of the several bars/cafés that carries the sign frites acceptés. Vegetarians be careful. Fries are cooked in Beef fat.
  • Chez Martin. The small nondescript fritkot plonked on Place Saint-Josse/Sint-Joost (Saint-Josse-ten-Noode/Sint-Joost-ten-Node) and run by the calm and affable Martin is a serious contender for the best friterie in Brussels. You can eat your frites at the nearby Cafe Gambrinus and wash them down with a pintje or two. Martin is retiring on December 26, 2009, so the place will close after that date.
  • La Friterie de la Place de la Chapelle, rue Haute-Hoogstraat (near Les Marolles). Another personal choice for the best frites in Brussels: the big chunks of potato, fried golden, and served with the usual dazzling array of sauces.
  • La Friterie de la Barrière, rue du Parc - Parkstraat (just off the Barrière de St-Gilles). Golden and crispy frites - just the way they should be. This exterior of this fritkot also serves as mini-museum with several tracts, articles and other literature on the fronts and sides of the shack on the good ol' Belgian frite.


  • Arcadi, 1B rue d'Aremberg, just at the exit of "Galleries de la Reine", in the direction opposite to the Grand-Place - a quirky combination of old and new, the menu ranges all over the place but the reason people flock here is the selection of over 30 sweet and savoury pies (tartes). A slice big enough for a meal, served with salad, costs €4-6.
  • Snack Pizzeria Porte de Halle, Avenue Henri Jaspar, 134, directly across the city ring from Porte de Halle. The gentlemen running the place speak a little bit of English and serve the best donar kebap and pizza in the neighborhood. The #39-Pizza Porte De Halle is probably their best pizza. Tel. 02/534 0051; Open 11:00 - 23:00 w/free delivery on orders over €10
  • Sel et Sucre Creperie - Glacier, Avenue des Celtes, 4, near Merode subway station, Parc du Cinquantenaire-Jubelpark and the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfbloog. The fantastic crepes and friendly service makes up for the ordinary decor and just around the corner from the Arc de Triomphe-Triomfbloog. Open 12:00 - 22:00.
  • Mamma Roma, 3 shops: Flagey (Chaussee de Vleurgat 5), Chatelain (Rue du Page 5) and Place Jourdan. Small pizzeria for eat-in (bar-style seating) or takeaway, sold by weight. Delicious crunchy base and some unusual toppings (one was spicy with walnuts, very tasty). Long queues but speedy service, deals available for pizza + drinks.


Quality food is available online in and around Brussels from various companies, including [54].

Rue des Bouchers, bustling on a Saturday night
Rue des Bouchers, bustling on a Saturday night

Brussels' tourist restaurant gauntlet can be found in Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat, just to the north of Grand Place. The place has a bad reputation for waiters imposing themselves on passers-by, trying to lure customers into their restaurant. The authorities are aware of this, and are trying to take measures. Some restaurants may also tempt you with cheap prices for the menus, but when seated, the item on the menu happens to be unavailable, and you're forced to accept another, noticeably more expensive dish. Often, the exaggerated price of the wines will also compensate for the attractive menu. Knowing this however, you may be able to negotiate a better deal before entering.

A few restaurants stand out from the crowd though:

  • Aux Armes de Bruxelles, 13 Rue des Bouchers-Beenhouwerstraat, +32 (0)2 511 5550. Closed Mondays. Basic honest food, including some very decent moules. Crowded, although worth the wait.
  • Chez Léon, 18, Rue des Bouchers, +32 (0)2 511 1415, [55]. Now franchised into France as well, this is the original and while it's huge and looks like a tourist trap, the moules are excellent and it's packed every day. Moules, beer and a starter will set you back €25, and kids eat for free.
  • Scheltema, 7, Rue des Dominicains, +32 (0)2 512 2084. Specializes in fresh and tasty seafood.

Outside the Rue des Bouchers, you may try:

  • Au Pré Salé, 20, Rue de Flandre-Vlaamsesteenweg (near place St Catherine), +32 (0)2 513 6545. A former butcher shop, locals flock here for some of the best moules in town, sold by the kilo (figure on €24) and served up in half a dozen ways. Also serves the full range of other Brussels favorites.
  • Falstaff, 19, Rue Henri Mausstraat 19 (by the Bourse-Beurs). Has cheap and decent food and is open every day until 2AM, around €20-30.
  • Le Beau Soleil, 7, Rue Joseph Lebeau (Sablon area). This tiny restaurant (approx. 14 seats) looks like a violin workshop, so you sit next to all the tools and half finished violins. Unlike other Belgian restaurants, it is open from 9AM to 5PM (Mo-Fr), 9AM to 6PM (Sat,Sun), closed on Wednesday. The menu is small but really delicious. The atmosphere is informal and friendly.
  • Les Brassins, Rue Keyenveld-Keienveldstraat 36, Ixelles-Elsene, +32 (0)2 512 6999. Its crowd is mostly made out of young couples or students. Rich choice of beer, with more than 50 varieties on the menu, and good quality of food.
  • 'T Kelderke, Grand'Place, 15 Grote Markt, +32 (0)2 513 7344. €9-19 Main courses. €8.50 Plat du jour. Well-made typical Belgian fare. Try the carbonnades à la flamande (Flemish beef stew) & mussels. Note that this place can feel cramped when full of diners.

Close to the Bourse Jules Van Praetstraat (rue Jules Van Praet) is another rapidly developing street of restaurants and bars. Those of note include:

  • Lune de Miel, +32 (0)2 513 9181. Some very tasty Thai and Vietnamese dishes served in a fine decor.
  • Shamrock, +32 (0)2 511 4989. Its exterior and misleading name belie a great range of individually cooked Indian food. Get to know the owner and he'll treat you like an old friend.
  • Thanh-Binh , +32 (0)2 513 8118. The restaurant is very popular amongst the Euroworkers and business types common in Brussels and serves good Thai food. It can get crowded and is often noisy but is well worth a try.

Place Saint Catherine is also a popular area, and once the fishmongering centre of Brussels. While many of the fish shops have moved elsewhere, it is still home to many good seafood restaurants featuring lobster as a specialty.

  • Restaurant Vismet, Place Sainte-Catherin 23, +32 (0)2 218 85 45. A small bistro that really gets busy after 19:00. Very good seafood. The handwritten menu can throw foreigners off, but everything on the menu(s) are top notch. Appetizers: around €15; Main dishes: €18-30
  • Jacques, Quai aux Briques 44, +32 (0)2 513 2762. An authentic old bistro, with a charming kitsch decor. Very good fish.
  • Viva M'Boma, Rue de Flandre 17, +32 (0)2 512 1593. For real Belgian home cooking. Terrace in the summer.

It is outside the touristic centre that the best deals can be found. Here are a few addresses in the Upper Town and Louise Area:

  • Madou's Provence, 23, Rue de la Presse, Bruxelles. +32 (0)2 217 3831. Closed Saturday noon and Sundays. Innovative southern French cuisine at affordable prices.
  • Chez Oki, 62, Rue Lesbroussart, Ixelles-Elsene, [56]. French-Japanese fusion cuisine in a modern decor. The chef has worked for prestigious restaurants in Paris. Reasonable prices.
  • Belga Queen [57], Rue du Fossé aux Loups-Wolvengracht 32. A restaurant within an old, restored bank building. Has an oyster bar, gorgeous bathrooms (with strange stall doors), and a cigar bar housed in the old bank vaults. A good looking younger crowd seem to enjoy this place, and don't miss the offbeat restrooms.
  • La Belle Maraichere, Place Sainte-Catherine 11, +32 (0)2 512 9759, closed We-Th. A classic fish restaurant. Very fresh fish and good old traditional cooking.
  • Les Larmes du Tigres (Tears of the Tiger), Justitiepaleis, de Wynantsstraat 21, +32 (0)2 512 1877, closed Tu, [58]. Upmarket and stylish Thai restaurant found just behind the Palais de Justice and better than most food found in Thailand.
  • De Gulden Boot (la Chaloupe d'Or), 24 Grote Markt (Grand Place) - One of the most famous restaurants in Brussels, situated on Grand Place. Beautiful old building, but too much of a tourist trap. And even after a €200 dinner, you will get charged €0.50 to visit the toilet.
  • Dolma - A very nice vegetarian buffet Monday till Saturday from 19 till 21h [59]. Chaussée d'Ixelles 329. Reservation 02/6498981.
  • La Tsampa - An organic/vegetarian shop annex restaurant [60], closed on Saturday and Sunday. Rue de Livourne 109.
  • L'Element Terre - Located in Ixelles, L'Element Terre features an ecclectic menu and wonderful, attentive service. Chaussée de Waterloo 465.


Belgium is to beer what France is to wine, it is home to one of the greatest beer traditions in the world, and Brussels is a great place to sample some of the vast variety on offer. Typical beers of Brussels are gueuze (rather bitter) and kriek (rather sweet, cherry based).

A special drink only found in Brussels is the "half-en-half" ("half and half"). It's a mixture of white wine and champagne.

  • "Brasserie De l'Union", 55 Parvis De Saint-Gilles - Sint-Gillisvoorplein. This is a place with a true "atmosphere", wooden chairs and tables, big old wooden bar, a crowd that reflects the diversity of Saint-Gilles. Everybody is welcome and come as you are. This is a bar that just oozes human warmth and a comfortable ambiance. When the sunny days are coming, the terrace is one of the best in Saint-Gilles.
  • À La Bécasse, Rue de Taborastraat 11, +32 (0)2 511 0006. Serves a typical Brussels product this slightly sweetened Lambic beer, white beer based on Lambic, Kriek Lambic and so on. The entrance is not that easy to find.
  • À La Mort Subite, 7, rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères, [61]. This is the Brussels cafe par excellence. Opened since 1927, the decor remains unchanged but still retains its charm. A warm welcome greets the eclectic clientile of which La Mort remains a firm favorite.
  • Bier Circus, 57, Rue de l'Enseignement-Onderrichtsstraat, +32 (0)2 218 0034, [62]. Has an impressive selection of beers, including some extremely hard to find beers. Examples of rare beers they have in stock, are Lam Gods (a delicious beer brewed from figs) and the rarest of the Trappist beers, winner of the Beer of the Year 2005, Westvleteren. Open Tuesday to Friday, 1200-14300 & 1800-2300; Saturday 1800-2300.
  • BXL Cafe/Bar, Place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés-Oud Korenhuis 46, +32 (0)2 502 9980. Open daily noon-midnight (Fri/Sat until 1AM). A stylish, friendly internet cafe in the center of Brussels. Offering high speed internet access, occasional live music/DJ, latest movies shown on video screens around the bar, regular art exhibitions. Gay friendly space with women's night every Wednesday from 8PM.
  • ""The Floris"", Right across from Delirium Cafe, great absinthe bar!
  • Bizon Cafe, Karperbrug 7 Rue Pont de la Carpe, [63]. A relaxed blues/rock bar in St Gery area. Excellent place for a beer or five.
  • The Monk, 42 St Katelijnestraat/ Rue St. Catherine, [64]. A large proper brown bar with walls covered in dark wood and mirrors. Lots of young people from the neighborhood, cool music and a decent Malt whiskey selection.
  • Delirium Cafe, 4A, Impasse de la Fidelité-Getrouwheidsgang (on a pedestrian only sidestreet), +32 (0)2 514 4434, [65]. Right in the centre of Brussels within five minutes walk of the Grand Place. This bar is all about the beer, offering over 2000 different beers from all over the world. They even hold the Guinness world record for most beers available! Popular amongst foreigners. Check if they have your own local beer. View their website for more info.
  • Chez Moeder Lambiek, Rue Savoiestraat 68 (behind Saint Gilles-Sint-Gillis city hall). Has a huge list of different beers, with several hundred obscure beers not likely found anywhere else. This cafe is one of the last remaining old-fashioned brown cafes in Brussels.
  • Le Greenwich, 7 Rue des Chartreux, Kartuizerstraat, +32 (0)2 511 4167. Another wood-panelled brown cafe where the only sound is the sound of the chess pieces on the chess board. Shh!
  • Brasserie Verschueren, 11-13 Parvis de St-Gilles, Sint-Gillisvoorplein, 02/539 40 68. Something of an institution in hip Saint-Gilles. Under the watchful eye of the portly, bearded deep-voiced owner, hipsters, starving artists and local poodle-brandishing ladies mingle and drink endless beers and coffees. A beautiful woodwork football (soccer) tableau shows the scores of some long lost second and third division teams from yesteryear.
  • Cirio, 18 Rue de la Bourse, Beursstraat (near the Bourse). A traditional café where time has come to a stop. Also offers some simple meals. Don't forget to visit the bathroom, with the original tiles and porcelain.
  • Mappa Mundo, Place Saint Géry-Sint Goriksplein 2, +32 (0)2 514 3555. One of the many trendy bar/cafés located on the popular Place Saint Géry-Sint Goriksplein. You are assured good drinking in at least one of these establishments, which are very popular with younger Eurocrats, foreigners and interns, giving them a rather friendly cosmopolitan character.
  • Le Tavernier. While all the above locations are situated downtown in central Brussels, this location is the most popular bar on a strip of bars right by the Cimétière d'Ixelles-begraafplaats van Elsene. It's location right off the student campus make it extremely popular with students who just want to kick back and have a few relaxed drinks. Note on certain nights there is also live music (making the establishment a lot more hectic). Worth a look especially towards the beginning and end of the academic year and in the summer (especially for their Jazzbreaks nights). They also have a website. 445 Chaussée de Boondael-Boondaalsesteenweg.
  • Hydra-breaks organises "Hydra Sessions" and also "Next Level" and "Caliente" drum and bass parties at various locations. Hydra Sessions are major D&B nights with international headliners such as Pendulum, Spor, or Raiden, along national djs.
  • Bulex nights is a monthly night out for many locals since more than 10 years, blending all kind of music in unexpected venues. Come as you are.
  • The Fuse (Rue Blaes 208) is a nightclub where it all started and is a Brussels institution. Be sure to check it out.
  • The Botanique is the place for rock and pop. They do, on occasion, bring more experimental acts.
  • The Botanique's Flemish counterpart, the Ancienne Belgique features the same mix of rock and pop with the occasional excursion into more unchartered, experimental territory.
  • Recyclart - For electronica, noise-rock, electroclash, minimal techno as well as art exhibitions, social projects and installations.
  • Gays and Lesbians: the two biggest monthly gay clubs remain at La Demence at the Fuse. 100% House & Trance. Don't miss the crowded (but super small) Le Belgica bar, which plays house music.


Hotel rates in Brussels can vary widely (especially at the upper end) depending on how many EU bigwigs happen to be in town. Good deals are often available on weekends and during the summer when the bureaucrats flee on vacation.

  • 2Go4 Hostel 99 emilie jaacquin. near the city centre. its cheap around €20 a night. very clean and very modern and chic. Free wi-fi (ask at reception for a code).
  • Youth Hostel Van Gogh (CHAB) [66], Rue Traversière 8, +32 2 217 01 58 (Fax +32 2 219 79 95). Good location, near Brussels North Station, quick access to all train stations via metro and airport. Very clean reception, friendly staff, and lively bar with good ambience which stays open late. Rather basic doulbe rooms (toilets in rooms with no doors).
  • Hotel Chaochow Palace‎, Brabantstraat 80 1210 Sint-Joost-ten-Node, +32 2 223 07 07. Only 200 meters from Brussels North Station. Nice reception. Doubles and triples for only € 28 / night / person, including a delicious buffet breakfast. A three star hotel which doesn't seem like, but anyway, afordable accommodation.
  • Hostel Jacques Brel [67], Rue de la Sablonnière-Zavelput 30, +32 2 218 01 87 (Fax +32 2 217 20 05). Centrally located and within walking distance of the Beer Circus, and has a reputation for being unclean and chaotic which may not be deserved. Reception closes early and there's a curfew between 1 and 6 AM.
  • Youth Hostel Generation Europe, Rue de l'Eléphant-Olifantstraat 4, +32 2 410 38 58 (Fax +32 2 410 39 05). Offers beds for budget travelling.
  • Hotel A La Grande Cloche, Place Rouppeplein 10, +32 2 512 61 40 (Fax: +32 2 512 65 91) [68]. Cheap rates, decent rooms, and a central location halfway between Gare du Midi-Zuidstation and the Grand' Place-Grote Markt (about a 10-minute walk to either). Price around € 70.
  • Youth Hostel Sleep Well[69], Rue du Damier 23, +32 2 218 50 50 (Fax +32 2 218 13 13). Centrally located, very clean. Available double rooms with private facilities (about €60).
  • Hotel Abberdeen, Rue du Colombier 4, +32 2 223 52 58 (Fax +32 2 223 12 33), Very centrally located (Rue Neuve), clean and comfortable, but quite noisy at night.
  • Thon Hotel Brussels Airport [70] Berkenlaan 4 tel +32 2 721 77 77, fax +32 2 721 55 96, Thon Hotel Brussels Airport is in quiet surroundings close to the Brussels Airport and the NATO headquarters.
  • ApartmentsApart [71]. Tel +48.22.820.9231 (1-866-387-6429 Toll Free from the USA & Canada). Beautifully furnished 1, 2 & 3 bedrooms offered. Five minutes from the city center by Metro. Apartments start as low as € 118 per night for 4 guests (under € 30 per person). The friendly staff and extra services will ensure you a wonderful stay.
  • La Madeleine [72] Rue de la Montagne-Bergstraat 20-22, tel +32-2 513-29-73, fax +32-2 502-13-50, Just off the Grand' Place and a short walk away from Central Station. Room rates range from € 52 to over € 100. Breakfast included. The rooms are quite small but have the basic amenities such as phone, TV. No airconditioning however.
  • Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre [73] Avenue du Boulevard 17, tel +32 2 205 15 11, fax +32 2 201 15 15, Major 4-star hotel in the centre of Brussels with 454 rooms. Thon Hotel Brussels City Centre is idealy situated in the heart of Brussels. Close to the new business district, next to the World Trade Centre, the Belgian government area and the European Parliament.
  • Hotel Opera [74] is centrally placed on Rue Grétrystraat 53. Quoted price of €73 may be negotiated downwards if booking a off-peak weekend or 3 or more days.
  • Villa Primavera [75]. Rue de la Presse-Drukpersstraat, 18, tel +32.475.501856. Fully-furnished studio-type, 1 & 2 bedrooms apartments from 1 night to 1 year. 5 minutes from the Central Station. Just behind the Belgian Parliament and Park of Brussels. Close to EU district. Room rates from € 60 for 4 guests for one-month stays (€ 15 per person). Free cable TV and Wi-Fi Internet access in every apartment.
  • The Phileas Fogg Hotel [76]. Luxury boutique hotel housed in a typical Brussels townhouse. The Phileas Fogg Hotel is located at walking distance from the Grand Place, Botanical Gardens, The Brussels Jazz Station, Art Deco and Art Nouveau and the Cathedral.
  • Hotel Floris Avenue [77]. Elegant 4 star residence in the heart of Brussels; a stylish Brussels hotel offering guests superb accommodation and facilities in the heart of this modern city. The Hotel Floris Avenue is centrally located between the Eurostar Thalys Terminus and famous Grand Place.
  • Hotel Floris Louise [78]. Boutique hotel in Brussels within spacious modern rooms tailored with guests' comfort in mind; designed combining soft colours and rich fabrics to offer luxury and style. Hotel Floris Louise is in the heart of Brussels close to the exclusive shopping area 'Avenue Louise'.
  • Hotel Manos Stephanie [79]. Boutique hotel with charm, ideal choice for the modern traveller. Centrally located in the heart of Brussels, just yards away from the most fashionable shopping and business district, the Hotel Manos Stephanie is a reflection of Brussels genuine hospitality.
  • Hotel NH Atlanta [80]. Traditional Hotel situated in business and shopping central area next to Place de Brouckere, half a kilometer from airport & Central station.
  • RentByNight [81]. 6 fully equiped apartments located in the city center of Brussels, close to the Grand Place, for all your stay, from 1 night.
  • Hotel Scandinavia, Chaussée de Mons 115-117, [82]. checkin: 15.00; checkout: 11.00. This 3-star hotel is situated just 750 meters from the Midi Station and 1,5 km from Brussels’ historic Grand Place. price around 100.00€.  edit
  • Louise Hotel Brussels, Rue Veydt, 40 1050 bruxelles, [83]. Budget boutique hotel in Brussels. Features 49 rooms and is in the commercial area of the famous Louise Avenue, steps from European Parliament and Downtown  edit
  • Cosy Room B&B, [84]. . Budget Bed & Breakfast in Brussels located in a great and trendy surrounding, a few steps from European Parliament, the SQUARE-Brussels Meeting Center' and Downtown.  edit
  • Hotel Metropole Brussels [85] - As the city's only 19th-century hotel still in operation, this 5-star landmark is in the historic center of Brussels. Short walk from Grand Place, the Royal Theatre de la Monnaie and the Bourse. 19th-century palace, 313 rooms and suites, fitness center, 12 meeting rooms, award-winning gourmet restaurant l'Alban Chambon.
  • Sofitel Brussels Toison d'Or, Avenue de la Toison d'Or-Gulden Vlieslaan 40 (subway station Louise-Louiza, turn to the right towards the Hilton - it's right across the street), tel +32 2 5142200 (fax: +32 2 5145744). A rather nice Sofitel with good rooms, conveniently located close to the very heart of the city in the fashionable Luisa district. €99 - €495 per person per night (breakfast €25/person - but there is a Quick fast food restaurant right next door).
  • Stanhope Hotel [86] Rue du Commerce 9, tel +32 2 506 91 11, fax +32 2 512 17 08, The Stanhope Hotel is situated in the heart of the European district. Within walking distance you can find the main tourist attractions in Brussels like the Royal Palace, the Grand Place and the Sablon.The boutique hotel offers 108 marvellous rooms, including 2 apartments that are perfectly suited for longer stays.
  • Radisson SAS Royal, Rue du Fosse-aux-Loups 47, +32-2-2192828, [87]. Three minutes' walk from the Grand Place and the Central Station. Free Wifi, fitness center with sauna and solarium, restaurant "Sea Grill" has two Michelin stars. Rates from €95 per night.

Stay safe

Brussels is generally a safe city. Some suburban neighborhoods have a poor reputation, but travellers are unlikely to visit them. The neighborhoods of Schaarbeek, Brussels North and Brussels Center should be avoided at night if possible. However, pickpockets, sometimes in teams, operate in crowded tourist areas, and the train and metro stations (particularly at night) attract drug addicts and other shady types. Travellers should be particularly alert for distractions such as being asked for the time or directions and having attention diverted from their hand or shopping bag. Travelling with laptops at anytime is strongly discouraged.

Get out

Visit the following Belgian cities, all within a two hour drive of Brussels:

  • Waterloo - About 15 km South of Brussels. Visit where Wellington and Bluecher faced Napoleon for an ultimate battle that changed Europe's face forever. Further South, don't miss the Abbey of Villers-la-Ville.
  • Mechelen - About 35 km NE of Brussels.
  • Leuven - About 30 km East of Brussels.
  • Antwerp - About 55 km North of Brussels.
  • Bruges - About 100 km NW of Brussels.
  • Ghent - About 60 km NW of Brussels.
  • Namur - About 125 km SE of Brussels.
  • Tournai - About 90 km West of Brussels.
  • Mons - About 70 km South of Brussels.

You can also get to any of the following 'foreign' cities from Brussels within 3 hours without the use of a plane:

Amsterdam/Rotterdam/The Hague/Utrecht (train or car), Luxembourg (car or train), Paris (train - longer by car), London (by train), Aachen (train or car), Lille (less than an hour by train or car), Cologne/Bonn (train or car)

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:



  1. The capital of Belgium.

Derived terms


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Simple English

]] Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel, German: Brüssel) is the capital city of Belgium and the European Union.

In 2007 its population, the people living in it, was 145,917.[1] But the area around it, known as the Brussels-Capital Region, had 1,031,215 people (which makes it the largest city area in Belgium).

The people in Brussels used to only speak Flemish (a type of Dutch), but more and more French speakers moved there and now French is spoken more than Dutch. But there are lots of other languages spoken as well, because the European Union offices are there.

The city is located at 50° 50 North, 04° 21 East.[2]


Many popular European comics came from Brussels, such as (Tintin, The Smurfs, Snorks, Lucky Luke).

It is also well known for a style of building know as Art Nouveau.

The vegetables Brussels sprouts are named after the city, and Brussels is also famous for its waffles and its chocolates.

A lot of tourists visit Brussels for "Manneke Pis".


Other websites

frr:Brussel mrj:Брюссель


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