Brussels / Brussel
Brussels is the capital of Belgium and the largest city with around 1 million citizens. It is located near the centre of the country and is a mixture of the old and new. The city first became prosperous from the wool trade in the Middle Ages. It became the capital of Belgium in 1830. The mixture of 13th century buildings and stark modern architecture make it an interesting place to visit.
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.
Brussels operates as a bilingual city where both French and Dutch are official languages.
What to see in Brussels
The Grand Place - the heart of the old quarter; grand buildings from the 15th century including the Hotel de Ville.
The Royal Palace of Brussels - is the official palace of the King of the Belgians in the centre of Brussels.
Musees Royaux des Beaux- Arts. Collection of ancient and modern art.
Musee Magritte - collection of the works of Belgium's most famous surrealist, Rene Magritte. Is that a telephone or a lobster I see before me?
Musee Bruxellois de la Gueuze - Museum of Belgian beers. Sounds like a winner - cheers!
Manneken Pis - famous statue of a cheeky little boy!
Parc du Cinquantenaire - is a large urban park in eastern Brussels; it dates from 1880 and is the location of the Triumphal Arch.
Atomium - huge model of an atom.
Restaurants and chocolatiers predominate in the city; try the classic moules et frite! (mussels and chips). Or if you're feeling really bold - try the other speciality of the city - the Brussels sprout!
|Travel Guide to the European Union 2013|