Author: Charles Picqué

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Discovering Brussels: A Multilingual Capital with Rich Culture and European Charm.

Discovering Brussels: A Multilingual Capital with Rich Culture and European Charm.

Explore Brussels, Belgium’s Capital City

Brussels is a dynamic multilingual city that straddles both the Dutch- and French-speaking regions of Belgium. Located at an important economic crossroads, it’s appreciated by international enterprises and congress-goers for its accessibility and open, cosmopolitan character.

Its tourists make a beeline for the Grand Place (my favorite town square in northern Europe) and blitz the city’s numerous museums. They also snap pictures of the Manneken Pis, a curious statue of a peeing boy.

Grand Place

Belgium’s capital city offers many ways to explore its rich culture. You can go to a museum, watch an independent film at a nearby cinema or book a guided tour. Or you can have your hair coiffed and back massaged or try out a trendy restaurant or bar.

One of the most famous sights in Brussels is its Grand Place. Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful squares in the world, it was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998. It’s lined with opulent guild houses and City Hall, decorated with statues, guild signs and house names.

The tower of the Town Hall is adorned with a gilt bronze statue of St Michael, the patron saint of Brussels. It has a square body that narrows to a lavishly pinnacled octagonal openwork at its summit. Many of the Guilds’ Houses have become museums, drawing locals and visitors alike to learn more about the history of the square and its surroundings.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

Designed in Florentine Renaissance style, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert remains the most elegant example of a shopping arcade before the advent of department stores. The Galleries, less than a mile from la Grand Place and open year round, house numerous boutiques from designer leather goods to classic Belgian chocolates. In addition to the retail shops there are a number of cafes including the unpretentious and delicious Bistro Arcadi and a Belgian beer establishment called la Mort Subite.

Founded around 1836, the project was designed to rehabilitate a poor area of Brussels and give it the feel of a European city. It took ten years for the Societe des Galeries to acquire the land and construction began in 1846, with the King’s Gallery, Queen’s Gallery and a smaller side Gallery of the Prince inaugurated on June 20, 1847 by Leopold I and his sons. These were the first public glazed passages in Europe, inspiring later developments such as the Passage de l’Empereur in Paris and the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan.

The Palais Royal

It’s possible to visit the Palais Royal (Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel/Paleizenplein) only during summer, but it’s well worth the trip. The palace is Belgium’s official residence, although the royal family actually lives in a different house on the outskirts of the city.

The palace’s imposing proportions and decor are beautiful. The entrance is framed by two full-length portraits of the current monarch. Inside, the rooms are decorated in many styles. The Throne Room is used for state receptions and ceremonies. The Grand Staircase is a showpiece with its gilding and mirrors.

The palace is surrounded by pretty courtyards and gardens that are inhabited by various small shops. The gardens are especially lovely with a large fountain, gorgeous flower beds, and rows of trees that echo the columns of the galleries running parallel. The entire complex is a fascinating illustration of bourgeois society in the late 17th century. It displays virtue and vice living on easy terms and in close proximity to each other.

The European Quarter

Brussels is a de facto capital of the European Union, housing the offices and headquarters for many EU institutions. Visit the Parlamentarium for free to learn about how the EU functions and explore the House of European History, an Eastman building dedicated to the continent’s past events.

The European Quarter’s architecture also draws visitors, with beautiful houses and mansions designed in the Art Nouveau style by architects like Victor Horta. His exquisite Horta House and Villa Empain—where iron and glass intermingle—are remarkable examples of the style.

The area is also a hub of restaurants, bars, and cafes. For a more informal experience, head to Liu Lin for Taiwan-inspired street food, or try Humus x Hortense—Brussels’ first plant-based restaurant to receive a Michelin star. Those seeking eco-friendly souvenirs can browse the BE-HERE sustainable village, which features organic and fairtrade stores, a brasserie, a brewery, and even a yoga studio. The Mixua Eco Tour is one of the best ways to get an in-depth look at the district’s sustainable offerings.

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Brussels: The Multicultural Hub of Europe

Brussels: The Multicultural Hub of Europe

Why Was Brussels Chosen As the Capital of Europe?

Brussels is home to several European institutions. The city is also a hub for businesses and lobbyists. Its central location and easy access to international airports make it an ideal place for business.

Despite its advantages, Brussels has a poor reputation among many Europeans. It has a lot to do with its colonial past and the resulting culture of bureaucracy.

It was centrally located

During the holy wars Brussels became famous for its tolerance. This is why Desiderius Erasmus decided to settle here. The city is also a hub for international business. Its central location makes it an attractive place to do business in Europe. It is also a good choice for leisure tourism. The influx of tourists is a good sign for the city’s future.

The cosmopolitan city of Brussels is home to the European Parliament, Commission and Council. It is also the seat of NATO. It is a highly diverse city with many linguistic communities, including French and Flemish, as well as a large immigrant population from North and South Africa and Eastern Europe.

The cultural renaissance in Brussels has made the city a major art hub. It is a popular destination for artists and collectors from across the world. Its close proximity to the coast gives it a moderate maritime climate, with warm summers and mild winters. It is a popular tourist destination for its historic buildings and architecture.

It was more acceptable

Brussels is a multicultural city with many different nationalities and languages, and it’s also the headquarters of numerous European institutions. It is a large, active metropolis without the problems of congested centres and poor quality housing that plague other European capitals. It is an important international business centre and a major cultural hub. It is home to a wide range of NGOs, federations, consultancies and press associations.

Originally, there was no agreed upon EU capital but the treaties of the EEC and the European Community established that Brussels would host most of the institutions. The decision was due to political considerations and national emotions, not because of any specific geographical advantages of the city. Nevertheless, it has become the centre point of a polycentric system of EU capitals, with representations in Strasbourg and Luxembourg City. In addition to being the seat of many European and international institutions, it is also a de facto European neighbourhood as it houses several European offices and representations of institutions headquartered elsewhere in Europe.

It was a multi-cultural city

A key feature of Brussels’ identity is its multi-cultural nature. The city hosts the headquarters of several international organisations, and its residents come from a variety of different backgrounds. This makes it an ideal location for the EU. However, a lack of an integral vision for international development threatens the capital’s cosmopolitan image.

Leisure tourism is an important source of visits to Brussels, and it is on par with business travel in terms of overnight stays. The city also benefits from a number of European institutions that attract prominent decision makers and opinion leaders from all over the world.

Brussels is a multicultural city that boasts a variety of ethnic restaurants and has over 180 nationalities living in it. Its cosmopolitan identity is reflected in its diverse community and its inhabitants are described as being “profoundly human” by the local tourist office.

It was a business hub

Brussels has many attractions that attract visitors, including its grand squares and architecture. Its Grande Place was built in the 15th century and has become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It has also played host to many European events and is the center of Belgium’s cultural life. Several prominent artists, such as the painter Rene Magritte, jazz musician Toots Thielemans, and actor Jean-Claude Van Damme, are from Brussels.

Brussels’s strategic location in the heart of Europe makes it an ideal business hub. The city is home to major trade agreements and the headquarters of the European Union, NATO, and EUROCONTROL, making it a magnet for international companies and governments.

Politics, business and Brussels are all intertwined with one another. The Bruxellois (natives of Brussels) are known for their unpretentious nature, which has helped the city develop strong trade relationships. This has allowed Brussels to quickly become the hub of the EU’s affairs. With 400 embassies and a world of ethnic restaurants, Brussels has become a business hub with its own unique personality.

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Brussels: The Capital of Europe

Brussels: The Capital of Europe

The Capital of Europe

As the capital city of Belgium, Brussels is a commercial and administrative hub with a UNESCO-protected center. Known as the “capital of Europe,” it is home to many EU institutions and functions as a nexus of European decision-making.

The best way to get around Brussels is on the metro (run by STIB-MIVB). Signage is easy to follow, trains are frequent and run on renewable energy. Buses are also available, though you’ll need a separate ticket for them.

Cinquantenaire Park & the Triumphal Arch

The park is home to three museums and a stunning central arch that resembles the Arc de Triomphe. The arch itself was designed by Gedeon Bordiau, who spent over twenty years working on the project. The patinated bronze quadriga atop the arch represents Brabant, a major Belgian province, while other personifications of Belgian regions show up throughout the structure.

The arch was completed for Belgium’s 50th birthday in 1905. Leopold II wanted to use it to promote his kingdom—which was financed by the exploitation of Congolese rubber.

To some, the monument is a reminder of that dark chapter in the country’s history. Others point to it as evidence of the “unbridled capitalist greed, criminality, and dehumanisation” that the king displayed.

Grand-Place

The Grand-Place (also known as De Grote Markt or the King’s House or Broodhuis in Dutch) is the heart of Brussels and its most iconic landmark. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and boasts amazing architecture from different time periods.

The square grew into a huge public space surrounded by opulent guildhalls with beautiful gables, thanks to the city’s rich mercantile history. It was also important socially and culturally.

A statue of Everard t’Serclaes stands in the center and, according to legend, if you rub his hand your visit will be successful. There are plenty of other things to do around the square as well!

Laeken

In addition to serving as the administrative and commercial heart of Belgium, Brussels functions as a regional metropolis and an international centre for many European institutions. The city is also host to a wide range of important cultural and educational centres.

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken are a huge complex of monumental greenhouses within the park at the Royal Palace in Laeken, near Brussels. These huge dome-shaped structures are open to the public a few days a year, and were designed by Alphonse Balat.

Located in Bruparck, at the foot of the Atomium, Mini-Europe has reproductions of monuments from the European Union on display. It receives 350,000 visitors a year.

Molenbeek

Despite its shabby reputation (largely due to overhyped media reports), Molenbeek is a diverse, lively and interesting part of the city. Behind the façade of alluring pastry shops, dilapidated car repair joints and corner cafés is a growing gentrification of artists’ studios and organic shops.

But it’s also a neighborhood that’s known for its high unemployment, disaffected youth and jihadist propaganda. It’s where many of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks were from. And after raids in January at a motel and kosher grocery, police found that leads in several cases led back to Molenbeek.

Residents say they need more guiding examples from successful locals, and that’s why volunteers have started coaching programs for youth. But they say they also need more help from the government.

St-Josse

Located to the north-east of Brussels, St-Josse-Ten-Noode (French: [seos tn n]) or Sint-Joost-ten-Noode (Dutch: [sinos tn noost]), is the smallest and most densely populated municipality in the capital region. It is also known for its great diversity, both from a cultural and social point of view.

This is reflected in the fact that there are 153 different nationalities and a staggering number of languages spoken in this pocket-sized global village. A stroll through this colourful neighbourhood will show you why this is so. You will see, among others, two theatres (Le Public and Theatre de la Vie), places for jazz and other music genres, the Botanique cultural centre, and the Charlier museum.

Anderlecht

There is a strong community of migrants in Brussels, and the number is increasing rapidly. As a consequence, there are several languages spoken in the city, including French, Dutch, German, Arabic, and Turkish.

The city’s main football team is Anderlecht, which was founded in 1920 and has won 20 championships. The club has also won a number of European titles and competitions.

The Saint-Guidon/Sint Guido district is the heart of Anderlecht, and it’s home to the Church of St. Guido, the Place de la Vaillance/Dapperheidsplein, and other important streets. The area is also known for its high levels of crime and poverty. In addition to being a football club, Anderlecht is also known for its performing arts scene.

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Belgium’s Three Regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels

Belgium’s Three Regions: Flanders, Wallonia, and Brussels

3 Regions in Belgium

The country’s capital, Brussels, is a fascinating city for visitors to explore. It has many different neighborhoods, each with its own unique character.

Belgium has three regions, each with their own parliament and government. The regions are named after the cities they contain: Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels-Capital Region. The country is a federal constitutional monarchy with a multiparty system.

Flanders

Despite being a major economic center with a world-renowned diamond trade, and traditional specialties such as 350 varieties of beer and rich chocolates, Flanders is also known for its artistic heritage. This includes its famous Bruges lace and Ghent woolen cloth, as well as modern innovations in biotechnology and petrochemicals.

The region’s fertile polders are renowned for their potato, sugar beet, and wheat production. And market gardening and livestock raising are important activities in the region as well.

Flanders has a temperate maritime climate, influenced by the North Sea. This results in relatively mild winters and cool summers. Its lowlands are home to a number of wild animals, including boars and wildcats, while the Flemish Ardennes are a haven for deer and pheasants.

Flanders is named after the Belgae, a Celtic tribe that lived in the region around the first century BCE. Later, it became part of the Roman Empire as a Roman province. In the Middle Ages, the name shifted to Brabant, and in the 14th century, it was changed again to Flanders. The region was ruled by various noble houses until the 19th century, when Belgium became a constitutional monarchy. In an effort to avoid a national identity debate, the name was kept, but with the title “Flanders” rather than “Brabant”. The king’s eldest sons are still called dukes of Brabant and princes of Flanders.

Wallonia

Located in southern Belgium, Wallonia is home to medieval towns, Renaissance-era architecture, and traditional Trappist beers. Many cities in this region, including Namur and Charleroi, are known for their food scene, as well as impressive cultural landmarks. The region is also home to the rugged southeastern Ardennes, with its forested mountains and river valleys.

Like their Flemish neighbors to the north, most Walloons are Roman Catholics. The area celebrates Belgium’s ten public holidays and numerous folk festivities, such as the Binche carnival in the weeks before Lent. Families often hold parties to mark a child’s baptism or first communion. And a graduation from school is a cause for celebration.

In terms of work, Walloons are particularly adept at metalworking and other industrial processes. But the steel industry’s decline in recent years has left the region struggling. It has made efforts to diversify its economy, however, with companies that specialize in glass, lime and limestone, and cyclotrons.

Although the federal government maintains a strong role in provincial affairs, most of a province’s power has been transferred to Brussels regional institutions and to Community Commissions. Only the Governor of Brussels-Capital and the Deputy Governor of Flemish Brabant remain under state jurisdiction, and they do not enjoy the same powers as the Regions or Community Commissions.

Brussels

Brussels is Belgium’s de facto capital, the administrative centre of the European Union, and a key hub for international relations. It is home to a large number of international institutions, including the European Commission and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It is also the seat of the European Parliament.

It has a high population density and is the largest urban area in the country. It has a diverse economy with a strong service sector and an important manufacturing base. Brussels is also a major tourist destination, known for its architecture and cultural offerings.

The city is dominated by the headquarters of multinational companies, and its economy is heavily dependent on these. It is also a leading financial centre. In addition, it is a center for culture and the arts with world-class museums such as the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and the Brussels Cathedral.

Politically, the city is a multilingual and multicultural metropolis that is divided into Flemish and French-speaking communities. It is home to several major political parties. Its parliamentary system is unique in Europe, as the federal government is composed of the Senate and House of Representatives and the community legislatures elect their own representatives. The government has a fixed term. During the 2019-2020 government formation process, Belgium broke the world record for the longest time it took to form a new government – 652 days.

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Brussels Midi: A Busy Hub for International Travel and Luggage Storage Options

Brussels Midi: A Busy Hub for International Travel and Luggage Storage Options

Brussels Midi Luggage Locker Information

As a major train station, Brussels Midi gets plenty of visitors with lots of bags. You’ll find baggage carts throughout the station, but it’s still a good idea to leave your bulky equipment in a luggage locker.

Midi is Belgium’s busiest railway station, and it’s also a hub for international trains. It’s a busy, cosmopolitan place with a lot of crime.

It’s the busiest railway station in Belgium

Located in the south of the city, Brussels Midi/Zuid station lives up to its name and is one of Belgium’s busiest railway stations. The train station is a busy hub for both local and international travellers.

The station also hosts many Metro and tram lines, making it a convenient point for travel around the city. It’s also a popular stop for people travelling to and from Europe, with trains from London, Paris and other European cities frequently stopping at the station.

While there are lockers at the station, they’re often in high demand and have limits on what they can hold. A better option may be to find a luggage storage service near the station and drop your bags there. This way, you’ll save time and hassle, and avoid the risk of losing your belongings.

It’s a hub for international trains

Brussels Midi train station is a hub for international trains to cities around Europe. It is also the ideal departure point for day trips to charming cites in Belgium like Bruges and Ghent. There are several options for getting to the station, including taxis and Lime scooters, which are fast and easy to use.

It is best to arrive at the station early, especially if you’re taking the Eurostar train to London. You’ll need to go through security and customs, so make sure you leave plenty of time to get there.

The train station is also known as Brussel Zuid or Bruxelles Midi in French and Flemish. Its 22 platforms serve both domestic and international routes. You can catch the Eurostar to London or the domestic trains to Bruges and Ghent.

It’s a cosmopolitan station

Brussels Midi is a great place to visit, with its cosmopolitan atmosphere and thriving food scene. You can find a wide variety of restaurants, including European burger chains and fast-food joints. The area also has several luxury hotels, such as Pullman Hotel Brussels Centre Midi.

The hotel offers a stylish and modern environment that is ideal for Eurostar travellers. Its guest rooms feature brass structures and play with shades of white to create a calming space.

The Mercure Hotel Brussels Centre Midi is a short walk from the station. It features large guest rooms and a stylish lobby. Guests can enjoy the city’s best restaurants, shopping, and entertainment at this convenient location. The hotel is also close to the city’s main attractions, such as the Grand-Place and Manneken Pis.

It’s a busy place

Brussels Midi is a big place with many trains coming in and out of it. The station is a hub of international travel and is as cosmopolitan as any rail station can get. It is also home to the headquarters for the organization that guides and unites some countries in Europe through economics, politics, and social rights.

The area around the station can be a little sketchy at night. While some parts, such as Ixelles and the Gare du Nord-Liedts-Cage Aux Ours areas, are slowly being gentrified, you should still be cautious when walking through them at night.

It’s okay to carry open containers of alcohol inside the station, but public intoxication is against the law. You can also bring your camera, but keep in mind that the station is a security zone and security staff may not appreciate pictures of them being taken.

It’s a good place to leave your bags

Brussels South (Bruxelles-Midi) railway station is a busy hub for international trains. It offers a wide variety of train options, including the Eurostar from London and other destinations in Europe. If you are arriving at the station with luggage, you may want to leave it somewhere safe. There are luggage lockers at the station, but these can be in high demand. They also have limited capacities.

Luckily, there are other places to leave your bags near the station. One of these is Nannybag, a luggage storage service that connects travelers with local hotels and shops. Its convenient, affordable service makes it easy to explore Sint Gillis without lugging around heavy suitcases. The price starts at EUR6 for a small bag, and you can cancel your booking if your plans change.

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