Brussels: Capital of Belgium
Brussels is the Capital of Belgium and the administrative centre of the European Union. Belgium capital is the city of food, café culture, Art Nouveau and the surreal.
Top things to do and see in Brussels
• Capital of Belgium is more than a 1000 years old.
• Population: 1,070,841 for 161.382 km²
• Population density: 6,635 inhabitants per km².
• The name Brussels (French: Bruxelles; Dutch: Brussel) derives from the Frankish Bruocsella: "Village in the marshes"
• Weather and Climate : 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.
The Capital of Belgium also serves as capital of the European Union, hosting the major political institutions of the Union. More than a 1000 international organizations are represented in Belgium, most with offices in Brussels, making it a magnet for political and business lobbyist. 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 the Capital of Belgium as an afterthought. Travellers concentrate on the classic top 4 : Antwerp , Bruges, Ghent and Leuven.
Although historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels ( capital belgium ) has become increasingly francophone. Today most inhabitants are native French-speakers, although both languages have official status. Street names and traffic sings are always in these two languages.
The Capital of Belgium is a cosmopolitan city where many different cultures live together - this international flair is directly related to its role as a crossroads for all of Europe.
Getting to Brussels:
Brussels Airlines and several discount airlines (Budget Travel) serve Brussels from many destinations worldwide.
The Capital of Belgium 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).
Getting to Brussels by Train: It is a 35 minute train ride from Antwerp to Brussels. Click here to find out how to get there from other destinations.
Brussels to Antwerp: Train
Shopping in the Capital of Belgium:
Beer Mania a great place to find out of the ordinary beers.
174-176 Chausse de Wavre, 1050 Ixelles.
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.
Del Haize: 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.
You can buy 100-200 gram gourmet bars of chocolate in grocery stores for about €1 each. Good Belgian brands are Côte-d'Or and Jacques.
Leonidas: branches across the city. Inexpensive and acceptable quality - if you are not a conaisseur you won't mind the difference (4.35 Euros for 250gm).
Godiva: many branches around the city - pricey.
Neuhaus: many branches across the city. A bit more expensive than Leonidas and a bit higher quality.
Marcolini 39 Place du Grand Sablon. One of the best Belgian chocolates - priced accordingly.
Wittamer 6-12-13 Place du Grand Sablon.
Chocopolis 81 Rue du Marché aux Herbes. Between Grand Place and Central Station - reasonable prices.
Maison Renardy 17, rue de Dublin 1050 +32 02 514 30 17 Bruxelles. A great boutique shop - stop by for a cup of tea or coffee, and get one of their chocolates free with your tea.
Our list of top things to do and see in Brussels
Capital of Belgium TIPS
Brussels Card (30€) is valid for 3 consecutive days and offers free entry to nearly all museums, free public transport and discounts in various restaurants, bars and shops. It is available at all participating museums, the tourist offices in Brussels, Public Transport Agencies and some hotels.
Return from the Capital of Belgium to Day Trips