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Brussels
Brussels
(French: Bruxelles, [bʁysɛl] ( listen); Dutch: Brussel, [ˈbrɵsəl] ( listen)), officially the Brussels-Capital Region[6][7] (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Dutch: Brussels
Brussels
Hoofdstedelijk Gewest),[8] is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the de jure capital of Belgium.[9] The Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium[10] and the Flemish Community,[11] but is separate from the region of Flanders
Flanders
(in which it forms an enclave) or Wallonia.[12][13] Compared to most regions in Europe, Brussels
Brussels
has a relatively small territory, with an area of 161 km2 (62 sq mi). The region has a population of 1.2 million and a metropolitan area with a population of over 2.1 million, the largest agglomeration in Belgium.[14][15][16] Brussels
Brussels
is also part of a large conurbation which extends between Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven
Leuven
and Walloon Brabant
Walloon Brabant
and is home to over 5 million people.[17] Brussels
Brussels
has grown from a small rural settlement on the river Senne
Senne
to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major centre for international politics and has become the home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.[18] Brussels
Brussels
is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions (the other administrative centres are Luxembourg
Luxembourg
and Strasbourg).[19][20][21] The name Brussels
Brussels
is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions.[22][23] The secretariat of the Benelux
Benelux
and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are also located in Brussels.[24][25] Brussels
Brussels
is classified as an Alpha global city.[26] Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels
Brussels
has seen a language shift to French from the late 19th century onwards.[27] Today, the Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is officially bilingual in Dutch and French,[28] but French is the de facto main language[29] with over 90% of the population speaking it.[30] Brussels
Brussels
is also increasingly becoming multilingual, as it is home to many international institutions (English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population) and a large number of migrants and expatriates who speak other languages, namely Arabic, Spanish, German and Italian.[31]

Contents

1 Toponymy

1.1 Etymology 1.2 Pronunciation

2 History

2.1 Early history 2.2 Middle Ages 2.3 Early modern 2.4 Late modern 2.5 20th century 2.6 Contemporary

3 Geography

3.1 Location and topography 3.2 Climate

4 Brussels
Brussels
as a capital 5 Municipalities 6 Brussels-Capital Region

6.1 Political status 6.2 Institutions 6.3 Agglomeration of Brussels

7 French and Flemish communities

7.1 Common Community Commission

8 International institutions

8.1 European Union 8.2 Eurocontrol 8.3 North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

9 Demographics

9.1 Population 9.2 Nationalities 9.3 Languages 9.4 Religions

10 Culture

10.1 Architecture 10.2 Arts 10.3 Folklore 10.4 Cultural events and festivals 10.5 Cuisine 10.6 Shopping

11 Sports

11.1 Cycling 11.2 Association football

12 Economy 13 Media 14 Education

14.1 Tertiary education 14.2 Primary and secondary education 14.3 Libraries

15 Science and technology

15.1 Healthcare

16 Transport

16.1 Air 16.2 Water 16.3 Train 16.4 City public transport

16.4.1 Metro 16.4.2 Trams and buses 16.4.3 Ticketing 16.4.4 Other public transport

16.5 Road network 16.6 Distances to other cities

17 Security and emergency services

17.1 Police 17.2 Fire department

18 Parks and green spaces 19 Notable people 20 International relations

20.1 Twin towns and sister cities

21 Rankings 22 See also 23 References 24 Bibliography 25 External links

Toponymy[edit] See also Other names of Brussels Etymology[edit] The most common theory of the origin of the name Brussels
Brussels
is that it derives from the Old Dutch
Old Dutch
Bruocsella, Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning "marsh" (bruoc / broek) and "home" (sella / zele / sel) or "home in the marsh".[32] Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai
Cambrai
made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695,[33] when it was still a hamlet. The names of all the municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
are also of Dutch origin, except for Evere, which is of Celtic origin. Pronunciation[edit] In French, Bruxelles is pronounced [bʁy.sɛl] (the x is pronounced /s/, like in English) and in Dutch, Brussel is pronounced [ˈbry.səl] or [ˈbrɵ.səl]. Inhabitants of Brussels
Brussels
are known in French as Bruxellois and in Dutch as Brusselaars. In the Brabantian dialect
Brabantian dialect
of Brussels, they are called Brusseleers or Brusseleirs. Originally, the written x noted the group /ks/. In the Belgian French pronunciation as well as in Dutch, the k eventually disappeared and z became s, as reflected in the current Dutch spelling, whereas in the more conservative French form, the spelling remained. The pronunciation /ks/ in French only dates from the 18th century, but this modification did not affect the traditional Brussels
Brussels
usage. In France, the pronunciation [bʁyk.sɛl] and [bʁyk.sɛlwa] is often heard, but it is rather rare in Belgium. History[edit] Further information: Fortifications of Brussels, Belgian Revolution, Francization of Brussels, Brussels
Brussels
and the European Union § History, and Timeline of Brussels

See also: History of Brussels
Brussels
(in French)

Charles of Lorraine founded what would become Brussels
Brussels
c. 979

Early history[edit] The history of Brussels
Brussels
is closely linked to that of Western Europe. Traces of human settlement go back to the Stone age, with vestiges and place-names related to the civilisation of megaliths, dolmens and standing stones (Plattesteen, Tomberg). During Antiquity, the region was home to Roman occupation, as attested by archaeological evidence discovered near the centre.[34][35] Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, the region was incorporated into the Frankish Empire. The origin of the settlement which was to become Brussels
Brussels
lies in Saint Gaugericus' construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne
Senne
around 580.[36] The official founding of Brussels
Brussels
is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula
Gudula
from Moorsel
Moorsel
to the Saint Gaugericus
Gaugericus
chapel. Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island. Middle Ages[edit] 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
Brussels
became a commercial centre, specialised in the textile trade. The town grew quite rapidly and extended towards the upper town (Treurenberg, Coudenberg
Coudenberg
and Sablon areas), 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. Around this time, work began on the Cathedral
Cathedral
of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Gudula
(1225), replacing an older Romanesque church. In 1183, the Counts of Leuven
Leuven
became Dukes of Brabant. Brabant, unlike the county of Flanders, was not fief of the king of France
France
but was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. In the early 13th century, the city got its first walls.[37] After the construction of the city walls, Brussels
Brussels
grew significantly. 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. Early modern[edit]

A view of Brussels
Brussels
circa 1610

In the 15th century, by means of the wedding of heiress Margaret III of Flanders
Flanders
with Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, a new Duke of Brabant emerged from the House of Valois (namely Antoine, their son). In 1477, the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold
Charles the Bold
perished in the Battle of Nancy. Through the marriage of his daughter Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy
(who was born in Brussels) to Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, the Low Countries fell under Habsburg
Habsburg
sovereignty. Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels
Brussels
became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Burgundian Netherlands, also known as the Seventeen Provinces, and flourished. After the death of Mary in 1482, her son Philip the Handsome succeeded as the Duke of Brabant. In 1506, he became King of Castile, and hence the period of the Spanish Netherlands
Netherlands
began. In 1516, Charles V, who had been heir of the Low Countries
Low Countries
since 1506, was declared King of Spain
Spain
in the Cathedral
Cathedral
of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Gudula
of Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
in 1519, Charles became the new ruler of the Habsburg
Habsburg
Empire and was subsequently elected Holy Roman Emperor. It was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg
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 the 17th century, the city was a capital of the lace industry.

The Grand Place
Grand Place
after the 1695 bombardment by the French army

In 1695, during the Nine Years' War, King Louis XIV
Louis XIV
of France
France
sent troops to bombard Brussels
Brussels
with artillery. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place
Grand Place
was destroyed, along with 4,000 buildings – a third of all the buildings 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. Following the Treaty of Utrecht
Treaty of Utrecht
in 1713, the Spanish sovereignty over the Southern Netherlands
Netherlands
was transferred to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg. This event started the era of the Austrian Netherlands. The city was captured by France
France
in 1746, during the War of the Austrian Succession, but was handed back to Austria
Austria
three years later. Brussels
Brussels
remained with Austria
Austria
until 1795, when the Southern Netherlands
Netherlands
were captured and annexed by France. Brussels
Brussels
became the capital of the department of the Dyle. The French rule ended in 1815, with the defeat of Napoleon
Napoleon
on the battlefield of Waterloo, which is located south of today's Brussels-Capital Region. With the Congress of Vienna, the Southern Netherlands
Netherlands
joined the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
of the Netherlands, under William I of Orange. The former Dyle department became the province of South Brabant, with Brussels
Brussels
as its capital. Late modern[edit]

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

In 1830, the Belgian revolution
Belgian revolution
took place in Brussels, after a performance of Auber's opera La Muette de Portici
La Muette de Portici
at La Monnaie theatre. Brussels
Brussels
became the capital and seat of government of the new nation. South Brabant was renamed simply Brabant, with Brussels
Brussels
as its capital. 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. Brussels became a financial centre, thanks to the dozens of companies put into orbit by the Société Générale de Belgique. The Industrial Revolution and the building of the Brussels-Charleroi Canal
Brussels-Charleroi Canal
brought prosperity to the city through commerce and manufacturing. The Free University
University
of Brussels
Brussels
was established in 1834. In 1835, the first passenger railway built outside England linked Brussels
Brussels
(Molenbeek) with Mechelen.

Place Royale, late 19th century

During the 19th century, the population of Brussels
Brussels
grew considerably; from about 80,000 to more than 625,000 people for the city and its surroundings. The Senne
Senne
had become a serious health hazard, and from 1867 to 1871, under the tenure of mayor Jules Anspach, its entire course through the urban area was completely covered over. This allowed urban renewal and the construction of modern buildings of hausmannien style along central boulevards, characteristic of downtown Brussels
Brussels
today. Buildings such as the Brussels Stock Exchange
Brussels Stock Exchange
(1873), the Palace of Justice (1883) and Saint Mary's Royal Church
Saint Mary's Royal Church
(1885) date from this period. This development continued throughout the reign of King Leopold II. The International Exposition of 1897 contributed to the promotion of the infrastructure. Among other things, the Colonial Palace (today's Royal Museum for Central Africa), in the suburb of Tervuren, was connected to the capital by the construction of an 11-km long grand alley. 20th century[edit]

The 1927 Solvay Conference
Solvay Conference
in Brussels
Brussels
was the fifth world physics conference

During the 20th century, the city hosted various fairs and conferences, including the Solvay Conference
Solvay Conference
on Physics and on Chemistry, and two world fairs: the Brussels
Brussels
International Exposition of 1935 and the Expo '58. During World War I, Brussels
Brussels
was an occupied city, but German troops did not cause much damage. During World War II, the city was again occupied, and was spared major damage during its occupation by German forces, before it was liberated by the British Guards Armoured Division, on 3 September 1944. The Brussels Airport, in the suburb of Zaventem, dates from the occupation. After the war, Brussels
Brussels
underwent extensive modernisation. The construction of the North–South connection, 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. Development was allowed to proceed with little regard to the aesthetics of newer buildings, and many architectural landmarks were demolished to make way for newer buildings that often clashed with their surroundings, giving name to the process of Brusselisation. Contemporary[edit] The Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
was formed on 18 June 1989, after a constitutional reform in 1988. It has bilingual status and it is one of the three federal regions of Belgium, along with Flanders
Flanders
and Wallonia.[6][7] The yellow iris is the emblem of the region (referring to the presence of these flowers on the original site of the city) and a stylised version in shown on the official flag of the Brussels region.[38] In recent years, Brussels
Brussels
has become an important venue for international events. In 2000, Brussels, along with eight other European cities, was named European Capital of Culture.[39] In 2014, Brussels
Brussels
hosted the 40th G7 summit.[40] On 22 March 2016, three coordinated nail bombings were detonated by ISIL in Brussels
Brussels
– two at Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport
in Zaventem
Zaventem
and one at Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station
Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station
– resulting in 32 victims and three suicide bombers killed, and 330 people were injured. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium. Geography[edit]

Satellite picture of the Greater Brussels
Brussels
area

Location and topography[edit] Brussels
Brussels
lies in the north-central part of Belgium, about 110 km (68 mi) from the Belgian coast and about 180 km (111 mi) from the southern tip of Belgium. It is located in the heartland of the Brabantian
Brabantian
Plateau, about 45 km (28 mi) south of Antwerp
Antwerp
(Flanders), and 50 km (31 mi) north of Charleroi
Charleroi
(Wallonia). Its average elevation is 57 metres (187 ft) above sea level, varying from a low point in the valley of the almost completely covered Senne, which cuts the region from east to west, up to high points in the Sonian Forest, at the southeastern side. In addition to the Senne, tributary streams such as the Maalbeek
Maalbeek
and the Woluwe, to the east of the region, account for significant elevation differences. Brussels' central boulevards are 15 metres above sea level.[41] The highest point lies at a height of about 108 metres (354 ft), near Place de l'Altitude Cent/Hoogte Honderdplein, in Forest. Climate[edit] Under the Köppen climate classification, Brussels
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 over the last 100 years), there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the highest totals for any European capital.[42] Snowfall is infrequent, averaging 24 days per year. In Brussels, there are often violent thunderstorms.

Climate data for Uccle
Uccle
(Brussels-Capital Region)

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year

Record high °C (°F) 15.3 (59.5) 20.0 (68) 24.2 (75.6) 28.7 (83.7) 34.1 (93.4) 38.8 (101.8) 37.1 (98.8) 36.5 (97.7) 34.9 (94.8) 27.8 (82) 20.6 (69.1) 16.7 (62.1) 38.8 (101.8)

Average high °C (°F) 5.7 (42.3) 6.6 (43.9) 10.4 (50.7) 14.2 (57.6) 18.1 (64.6) 20.6 (69.1) 23.0 (73.4) 22.6 (72.7) 19.0 (66.2) 14.7 (58.5) 9.5 (49.1) 6.1 (43) 14.2 (57.6)

Daily mean °C (°F) 3.3 (37.9) 3.7 (38.7) 6.8 (44.2) 9.8 (49.6) 13.6 (56.5) 16.2 (61.2) 18.4 (65.1) 18.0 (64.4) 14.9 (58.8) 11.1 (52) 6.8 (44.2) 3.9 (39) 10.54 (50.97)

Average low °C (°F) 0.7 (33.3) 0.7 (33.3) 3.1 (37.6) 5.3 (41.5) 9.2 (48.6) 11.9 (53.4) 14.0 (57.2) 13.6 (56.5) 10.9 (51.6) 7.8 (46) 4.1 (39.4) 1.6 (34.9) 6.9 (44.4)

Record low °C (°F) −21.1 (−6) −18.3 (−0.9) −13.6 (7.5) −5.7 (21.7) −2.2 (28) 0.3 (32.5) 4.4 (39.9) 3.9 (39) 0.0 (32) −6.8 (19.8) −12.8 (9) −17.7 (0.1) −21.1 (−6)

Average precipitation mm (inches) 76.1 (2.996) 63.1 (2.484) 70.0 (2.756) 51.3 (2.02) 66.5 (2.618) 71.8 (2.827) 73.5 (2.894) 79.3 (3.122) 68.9 (2.713) 74.5 (2.933) 76.4 (3.008) 81.0 (3.189) 852.4 (33.559)

Average precipitation days (≥ 0.005 inch) 19.2 16.3 17.8 15.9 16.2 15.0 14.3 14.5 15.7 16.6 18.8 19.3 199

Average snowy days 5.2 5.9 3.2 2.4 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.4 4.6 24.1

Average relative humidity (%) 86.6 82.5 78.5 72.5 73.2 74.1 74.3 75.5 80.9 84.6 88.2 88.8 80

Mean monthly sunshine hours 59 77 114 159 191 188 201 190 143 113 66 45 1,546

Source: KMI/IRM[43]

Brussels
Brussels
as a capital[edit]

The Royal Palace of Brussels

Despite its name, the Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is not the capital of Belgium. Article 194 of the Belgian Constitution
Belgian Constitution
establishes that the capital of Belgium
Belgium
is the City of Brussels, the municipality in the region that once was the city's core.[9] The City of Brussels
City of Brussels
is the location of many national institutions. The Royal Palace, where the King of Belgium
Belgium
exercises his prerogatives as head of state, is situated alongside the Brussels Park
Brussels Park
(not to be confused with the Royal Castle of Laeken, the official home of the Belgian Royal Family). The Palace of the Nation is located on the opposite side of this park, and is the seat of the Belgian Federal Parliament. The office of the Prime Minister of Belgium, colloquially called Law Street 16 (Dutch: Wetstraat
Wetstraat
16, French: 16, rue de la Loi), is located adjacent to this building. It is also where the Council of Ministers holds its meetings. The Court of Cassation, Belgium's main court, has its seat in the Palace of Justice. Other important institutions in the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
are the Constitutional Court, the Council of State, the Court of Audit, the Royal Belgian Mint and the National Bank of Belgium. The City of Brussels
City of Brussels
is also the capital of both the French Community of Belgium[10] and the Flemish Community.[12] The Flemish Parliament and Flemish Government
Flemish Government
have their seats in Brussels,[44] and so do the Parliament of the French Community
Parliament of the French Community
and the Government of the French Community. Municipalities[edit] Main article: List of municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region

French name Dutch name

Anderlecht Anderlecht

Auderghem Oudergem

Berchem-Sainte-Agathe Sint-Agatha-Berchem

Bruxelles-Ville Stad Brussel

Etterbeek Etterbeek

Evere Evere

Forest Vorst

Ganshoren Ganshoren

Ixelles Elsene

Jette Jette

Koekelberg Koekelberg

Molenbeek-Saint-Jean Sint-Jans-Molenbeek

Saint-Gilles Sint-Gillis

Saint-Josse-ten-Noode Sint-Joost-ten-Node

Schaerbeek Schaarbeek

Uccle Ukkel

Watermael-Boitsfort Watermaal-Bosvoorde

Woluwe-Saint-Lambert Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe

Woluwe-Saint-Pierre Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

The Town Hall of the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
municipality

The 19 municipalities (communes) of the Brussels-Capital Region
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.[45][46] Municipal administration is also conducted by a mayor, a council, and an executive.[46] In 1831, Belgium
Belgium
was divided into 2,739 municipalities, including the 19 in the Brussels-Capital Region.[47] 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.[47] However, several municipalities outside the Brussels-Capital Region
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
City of Brussels
in 1921.[48] The largest in area and population of the municipalities is the City of Brussels, covering 32.6 square kilometres (12.6 sq mi) and with 145,917 inhabitants. The least populous is Koekelberg
Koekelberg
with 18,541 inhabitants; the smallest in area is Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, which is only convert1.1km2sqmi1 but still has the highest population density in the region, with 20,822 inhabitants per square kilometre (53,930/sq mi). Watermael-Boitsfort
Watermael-Boitsfort
has the lowest population density in the region, with 1,928 inhabitants per square kilometre (4,990/sq mi). There is much controversy on the division of 19 municipalities for a highly-urbanised region, which is considered as (half of) one city by most people. Some politicians mock the '19 baronies' and want to merge the municipalities under one city council and one mayor.[49][50] That would lower the number of politicians needed to govern Brussels, and centralise the power over the city to make decisions easier, thus reduce the overall running costs. The current municipalities could be transformed into districts with limited responsibilities, similar to the current structure of Antwerp
Antwerp
or to structures of other capitals like the boroughs in London
London
or arrondissements in Paris, to keep politics close enough to the citizen.[51] The commune of Molenbeek has gained a reputation as a safe haven for jihadists in relation to the support shown by some residents towards the bombers who carried out the Paris
Paris
and Brussels attacks.[52][53][54][55][56]

Municipalities of Brussels

Anderlecht

Auderghem
Auderghem
/ Oudergem

Berchem-Sainte-Agathe
Berchem-Sainte-Agathe
/ Sint-Agatha-Berchem

Bruxelles-Ville / Stad Brussel

Etterbeek

Evere

Forest / Vorst

Ganshoren

Ixelles
Ixelles
/ Elsene

Jette

Koekelberg

Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
/ Sint-Jans-Molenbeek

Saint-Gilles / Sint-Gillis

Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
/ Sint-Joost-ten-Node

Schaerbeek
Schaerbeek
/ Schaarbeek

Uccle
Uccle
/ Ukkel

Watermael-Boitsfort
Watermael-Boitsfort
/ Watermaal-Bosvoorde

Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
/ Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe

Woluwe
Woluwe
Saint-Pierre / Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

Brussels-Capital Region[edit]

Regions of Belgium:   Flemish Region   Brussels-Capital Region   Walloon Region

Political status[edit] See also: Partition of Belgium
Belgium
§ Brussels; and Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium
Belgium
§ Brussels The Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is one of the three federated regions of Belgium, alongside the Walloon Region and the Flemish Region. Geographically and linguistically, it is a bilingual enclave in the monolingual Flemish Region. Regions are one component of Belgium's institutions, the three communities being the other component: Brussels' inhabitants deal with either the French Community or the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
for matters such as culture and education, as well as a Common Community for competencies which do not belong exclusively to either Community, such as healthcare and assistance to individuals. Since the splitting of Brabant in 1995, the Brussels
Brussels
Region does not belong to any of the provinces of Belgium, nor is it subdivided into provinces itself. Within the Region, 99% of the areas of provincial jurisdiction are assumed by the Brussels
Brussels
regional institutions and community commissions. Remaining is only the governor of Brussels-Capital and some aides, analogously to provinces. Its status is roughly akin to that of a federal district. Institutions[edit] Main articles: Government of the Brussels-Capital Region
Government of the Brussels-Capital Region
and Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region

Brussels
Brussels
Parliament building

The Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is governed by a parliament of 89 members (72 French-speaking, 17 Dutch-speaking – parties are organised on a linguistic basis) and an eight-member regional cabinet consisting of a minister-president, four ministers and three state secretaries. By law, the cabinet must comprise two French-speaking and two Dutch-speaking ministers, one Dutch-speaking secretary of state and two French-speaking secretaries of state. The minister-president does not count against the language quota, but in practice every minister-president has been a bilingual francophone. The regional parliament can enact ordinances (French: ordonnances, Dutch: ordonnanties), which have equal status as a national legislative act. 19 of the 72 French-speaking members of the Brussels
Brussels
Parliament are also members of the Parliament of the French Community
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. Agglomeration of Brussels[edit] Before the creation of the Brussels-Capital Region, regional competences in the 19 municipalities were performed by the Brussels Agglomeration. The Brussels
Brussels
Agglomeration was an administrative division established in 1971. This decentralised administrative public body also assumed jurisdiction over areas which, elsewhere in Belgium, were exercised by municipalities or provinces.[57] The Brussels
Brussels
Agglomeration had a separate legislative council, but the by-laws enacted by it did not have the status of a legislative act. The only election of the council took place on 21 November 1971. The working of the council was subject to many difficulties caused by the linguistic and socio-economic tensions between the two communities. After the creation of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Brussels Agglomeration was never formally abolished, although it no longer has a purpose. French and Flemish communities[edit] Main articles: French Community Commission
French Community Commission
and Flemish Community Commission

Communities of Belgium:    Flemish Community
Flemish Community
/ Dutch language
Dutch language
area   Flemish & French Community / bilingual language area   French Community / French language
French language
area   German-speaking Community / German language
German language
area

The French Community and the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
exercise their powers in Brussels
Brussels
through two community-specific public authorities: the French Community Commission
French Community Commission
(French: Commission communautaire française or COCOF) and the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
Commission (Dutch: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie or VGC). These two bodies each have an assembly composed of the members of each linguistic group of the Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region. They also have a board composed of the ministers and secretaries of state of each linguistic group in the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region. The French Community Commission
French Community Commission
has also another capacity: some legislative powers of the French Community have been devolved to the Walloon Region (for the French language
French language
area of Belgium) and to the French Community Commission
French Community Commission
(for the bilingual language area).[58] The Flemish Community, however, did the opposite; it merged the Flemish Region into the Flemish Community.[59] 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. Common Community Commission[edit] A bi-communitarian public authority, the Common Community Commission (French: Commission communautaire commune, COCOM, Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie, GGC) also exists. Its assembly is composed of the members of the regional parliament, and its board are 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 powers of the communities: in the Brussels-Capital Region, both the French Community and the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
can exercise powers in the field of welfare, but only in regard to institutions that are unilingual (for example, a private French-speaking retirement home or the Dutch-speaking hospital of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel). The Common Community Commission
Common Community Commission
is responsible for policies aiming directly at private persons or at bilingual institutions (for example, the centres 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. International institutions[edit] Brussels
Brussels
has, since World War II, become the administrative centre of many international organisations. The European Union
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 World Customs Organization
World Customs Organization
and EUROCONTROL
EUROCONTROL
as well as international corporations. Brussels
Brussels
is third in the number of international conferences it hosts[60] also becoming one of the largest convention centres in the world.[61] The presence of the EU and the other international bodies has, for example, led to there being more ambassadors and journalists in Brussels
Brussels
than in Washington D.C.[62] International schools have also been established to serve this presence.[61] The "international community" in Brussels
Brussels
numbers at least 70,000 people.[63] In 2009, there were an estimated 286 lobbying consultancies known to work in Brussels.[64] European Union[edit] Main article: Brussels
Brussels
and the European Union

Aerial view of the European Quarter

Brussels
Brussels
serves as de facto capital of the European Union, hosting the major political institutions of the Union.[19] The EU has not declared a capital formally, though the Treaty of Amsterdam
Treaty of Amsterdam
formally gives Brussels
Brussels
the seat of the European Commission
European Commission
(the executive branch of government) and the Council of the European Union
European Union
(a legislative institution made up from executives of member states).[65][66] It locates the formal seat of European Parliament
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 sessions now take place at its Brussels
Brussels
hemicycle.[67] Between 2002 and 2004, the European Council
European Council
also fixed its seat in the city.[68] In 2014, the Union hosted a G7 summit in the city.[40]

Place du Luxembourg
Place du Luxembourg
with the European Parliament
European Parliament
in the background

Brussels, along with Luxembourg
Luxembourg
and Strasbourg, began to host European institutions in 1957, soon becoming the centre of activities, as the Commission and Council based their activities in what has become the European Quarter, in the east of the city.[65] Early building in Brussels
Brussels
was sporadic and uncontrolled, with little planning. The current major buildings are the Berlaymont building
Berlaymont building
of the Commission, symbolic of the quarter as a whole, the Justus Lipsius building
Justus Lipsius building
of the Council and the Espace Léopold
Espace Léopold
of the Parliament.[66] Today, the presence has increased considerably, with the Commission alone occupying 865,000 m2 within the European Quarter (a quarter of the total office space in Brussels[19]). The concentration and density has caused concern that the presence of the institutions has created a ghetto effect in that part of the city.[69] However, the European presence has contributed significantly to the importance of Brussels as an international centre.[62]

Brussels
Brussels
and the European Union

The Berlaymont building
Berlaymont building
(European Commission)

The Justus Lipsius building
Justus Lipsius building
(European Council)

The Espace Léopold
Espace Léopold
buildings (European Parliament)

Eurocontrol[edit] Main article: Eurocontrol

Headquarters of Eurocontrol
Eurocontrol
in Haren, Brussels

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol, is an international organisation which is tasked to monitor the European aviation by flight. Eurocontrol
Eurocontrol
coordinates and plans air traffic control across European airspace. The corporation was founded in 1960 and currently has 41 member states. Its headquarters are located in Haren, on the northeast perimeter of the City of Brussels. North Atlantic Treaty Organisation[edit] Main article: NATO

NATO
NATO
country flags wave at the entrance of NATO
NATO
headquarters in Haren, Brussels

The Treaty of Brussels, which was signed on 17 March 1948 between Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands
Netherlands
and the United Kingdom, was a prelude to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an intergovernmental military alliance,[70] and was a preview of the western European defense against communism[citation needed]. Today, the alliance consists of 29 independent member countries across North America
North America
and Europe. Several countries also have diplomatic missions to NATO
NATO
through embassies in Belgium. Since 1949, a number of NATO
NATO
Summits have been held in the city.[71] The most recent NATO summit took place in Brussels
Brussels
in May 2017.[72] The organisation's political and administrative headquarters are located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan in Haren, Brussels.[73] A new €750 million headquarters building begun in 2010 and was completed in 2017.[74] Demographics[edit] Population[edit]

Population density
Population density
of Europe, Brussels
Brussels
is located between the largest urban centres

Brussels
Brussels
is located in one of the most urbanised regions of Europe, between Paris, London, the Rhine-Ruhr
Rhine-Ruhr
(Germany), and the Randstad (Netherlands). The Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
has a population of around 1.2 million and has witnessed, in recent years, a remarkable increase in its population. In general, the population of Brussels
Brussels
is younger than the national average, and the gap between rich and poor is wider.[75]

[verification needed] 01-07-2004[76] 01-07-2005[76] 01-07-2006[76] 01-01-2008[76] 01-01-2015[76]

Brussels-Capital Region[76][verification needed] 1.004.239 1.012.258 1.024.492 1.048.491 1.181.272

-- of which legal immigrants[76][verification needed] 262.943 268.009 277.682 295.043 385.381

Nationalities[edit]

Largest groups of foreign residents[77]

Nationality Population (2016)

 France 62,507

 Romania 38,690

 Morocco 38,274

 Italy 32,322

 Spain 28,042

 Poland 26,399

 Portugal 19,791

 Bulgaria 11,371

 Germany 10,527

 Democratic Republic of the Congo 8,846

Brussels
Brussels
is home to a large number of immigrants. At the last Belgian census in 1991, 63.7% of inhabitants in Brussels-Capital Region answered that they were Belgian citizens, born as such in Belgium. However, there have been numerous individual or familial migrations towards Brussels
Brussels
since the end of the 18th century, including political refugees (Karl Marx, Victor Hugo, Pierre Joseph Proudhon, Léon Daudet, for example), from neighbouring or more distant countries, as well as labour migrants, former foreign students or expatriates, and many Belgian families in Brussels
Brussels
can claim at least one foreign grandparent. Brussels
Brussels
has a large concentration of immigrants from other countries, and their children, including many of Moroccan (Riffian, Berber) and Turkish ancestry, together with French-speaking black Africans from former Belgian colonies, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda
Rwanda
and Burundi. People of foreign origin make up nearly 70%[78] of the population of Brussels, most of whom have been naturalised following the great 1991 reform of the naturalisation process. About 32% of city residents are of non-Belgian European origin, and 36% are of another background, mostly from Morocco, Turkey
Turkey
and Sub-Saharan Africa. Among all major migrant groups from outside the EU, a majority of the permanent residents have acquired Belgian nationality.[79] Languages[edit] See also: Francization of Brussels

Estimate of languages spoken at home (Capital Region, 2013)[80]   French   Dutch and French   Dutch   French and other language   Neither Dutch nor French

Since the founding of the Kingdom of Belgium
Belgium
in 1830, Brussels
Brussels
has transformed from being almost entirely Dutch-speaking (Brabantian dialect to be exact), to being a multilingual city with French (specifically Belgian French) as the majority language and lingua franca. This language shift, the Francisation of Brussels, is rooted in the 18th century and accelerated after Belgium
Belgium
became independent and Brussels
Brussels
expanded past its original boundaries.[81][82] French-speaking immigration contributed to the Frenchification of Brussels; both Walloons and expatriates from other countries – mainly France
France
– came to Brussels
Brussels
in great numbers. However, a more important cause for the Frenchification was the language change over several generations from Dutch to French that was carried out, in Brussels, by the Flemish people
Flemish people
themselves. The main reason for this was a political, administrative and social pressure, partly based on the low social prestige of the Dutch language
Dutch language
in Belgium
Belgium
at the time; this made French the only language of administration, law, politics and education in Belgium, and thus necessary for social mobility.[83] From 1880 on, faced with the necessity of using French in dealing with such institutions, more and more Dutch-speakers became bilingual, and a rise in the number of monolingual French-speakers was seen after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century, the number of monolingual French-speakers surpassed the number of mostly bilingual Flemish inhabitants.[84] Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border, and after the socio-economic development of Flanders
Flanders
was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use.[85] Through immigration, a further number of formerly Dutch-speaking municipalities in surrounding Brussels
Brussels
became majoritively French-speaking in the second half of the 20th century.[86][87][88] This phenomenon is, together with the future of Brussels, one of the most controversial topics in all of Belgian politics.[89][90]

Bilingual signs in Brussels

Given its Dutch-speaking origins and the role that Brussels
Brussels
plays as the capital city in a bilingual country, the administration of the entire Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is fully bilingual, including its subdivisions and public services. Nevertheless, some communautarian issues remain. Flemish political parties demanded, for decades, that the Flemish part of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde
Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde
arrondissement be separated from the Brussels
Brussels
Region (which made Halle-Vilvoorde a monolingual Flemish arrondissement). BHV was divided mid 2012. The French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial[91] and demands the extension of the bilingual region to at least all six municipalities with language facilities in the surroundings of Brussels.[92] Flemish politicians have strongly rejected these proposals.[93][94][95]

The municipalities with language facilities (in red) near Brussels

The original Dutch dialect of Brussels
Brussels
(Brussels) is a form of Brabantic
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 in Dutch. Brussels
Brussels
and its suburbs have 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 Memellanders in interwar ethnic censuses in Memel), Walloon (for people who migrated from the Wallonia
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
France
and Morocco.[96] The first language of roughly half of the inhabitants is not an official one of the Capital Region.[97] Nevertheless, about three out of four residents are Belgian nationals.[98][99][100] In recent decades, owing to migration and the city's international role, Brussels
Brussels
is home to a growing number of foreign language speakers. In 2013, figures cited in the Marnix Plan show that 63.2% of Brussels
Brussels
inhabitants are native speakers of French, while less than 20% are native Dutch speakers. Just 2.5% speak English as their mother tongue, but 29.7% of people living in the city claim to speak English well or very well.[101] Even though some people want English to be used as an unofficial compromise language between Dutch and French, French remains the lingua franca. And laws still require Dutch and French translations in most cases. The acceptance of English as a language for communication with the city's public servants depends entirely on their knowledge of this language, though they must accept questions in French and Dutch.[102] The migrant communities, as well as rapidly growing communities of EU-nationals from other EU-member states, speak many languages like French, Turkish, Arabic, Berber, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, German, and (increasingly) English. The degree of linguistic integration varies widely within each migrant group. Religions[edit] Further information: Religion in Belgium

National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg, Brussels

Historically, Brussels
Brussels
has been predominantly Roman Catholic, especially since the expulsion of Protestants in the 16th century. This is clear from the large number of historical churches around the area, particularly in the City of Brussels. The pre-eminent Catholic cathedral in Brussels
Brussels
is the Cathedral
Cathedral
of Saint Michael
Saint Michael
and Saint Gudula, which serves as the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. On the northwestern side of the city, the National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is the 14th largest church building in the world. The Church of Our Lady of Laeken
Laeken
holds the tombs of many members of the Belgian royal family, including all the former Kings of Belgium, within the Royal Crypt.

Religion in Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
(2016)[103]    Roman Catholicism
Roman Catholicism
(40%)   Non-religious (30%)    Islam
Islam
(23%)    Protestantism
Protestantism
(3%)   Other religions (4%)

Nowadays, most residents of Brussels
Brussels
are nonreligious, with only about 10% of Catholics
Catholics
regularly attending church services.[citation needed] In reflection of its multicultural makeup, Brussels
Brussels
hosts a variety of religious communities, as well as large numbers of atheists and agnostics. Minority faiths include Islam, Anglicanism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Buddhism. According to a 2016 survey, approximately 40% of residents of Brussels
Brussels
declared themselves Catholics
Catholics
(12% were practising Catholics
Catholics
and 28% were non-practising Catholics), 30% were non-religious, 23% were Muslim
Muslim
(19% practising, 4% non-practising), 3% were Protestants, 4% were of another religion.[103] Recognised religions and Laïcité
Laïcité
enjoy public funding and school courses. It was once the case that every pupil in an official school from 6 years old to 18 had to choose 2 hours per week of compulsory religion – or Laïcité
Laïcité
– inspired morals. However, in 2015, the Belgian Constitutional court ruled religious studies could no longer be required in the primary and secondary education system.[104]

The Great Mosque
Mosque
of Brussels
Brussels
is the seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium

Brussels
Brussels
has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Moroccan and Turkish ancestry. The Great Mosque
Mosque
of Brussels, located in the Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark, is the oldest mosque in Brussels. Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background, so exact figures are unknown. It was estimated that, in 2005, people of Muslim
Muslim
background living in the Brussels
Brussels
Region numbered 256,220 and accounted for 25.5% of the city's population, a much higher concentration than those of the other regions of Belgium.[105][better source needed]

Regions of Belgium[105] (1 January 2016) Total population People of Muslim
Muslim
origin % of Muslims

Belgium 11,371,928 603,642 5.3%

Brussels-Capital Region 1,180,531 212,495 18%

Wallonia 3,395,942 149,421 4.4%

Flanders 6,043,161 241,726 4.0%

Culture[edit] Architecture[edit] The architecture in Brussels
Brussels
is diverse, and spans from the clashing combination of Gothic, Baroque, and Louis XIV
Louis XIV
styles on the Grand Place to the postmodern buildings of the EU institutions.[106]

Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis
is a well-known public sculpture in Brussels

Very little medieval architecture is preserved in Brussels. Buildings from this period are mostly to be found in the historic centre (called Îlot Sacré), Saint Géry/Sint-Goriks and Sainte-Catherine/Sint Katelijne neighbourhoods. The Brabantine Gothic
Brabantine Gothic
Cathedral
Cathedral
of St. Michael and St. Gudula
Gudula
is still a prominent feature in the skyline of downtown Brussels. Isolated portions of the first city walls were saved from destruction and can be seen to this day. One of the only remains of the second walls is the Halle Gate. The Grand Place
Grand Place
is the main attraction in the city centre and has been a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site since 1998.[107] The square is dominated by the 15th century Flamboyant
Flamboyant
Town Hall (French: Hôtel de Ville, Dutch: Stadhuis), the Neo-Gothic Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, Dutch: Broodhuis) and the Baroque guildhalls of the Guilds of Brussels. The Manneken Pis, a fountain containing a small bronze sculpture of a urinating youth, is a tourist attraction and symbol of the city.[108]

The Grand Place
Grand Place
of Brussels, a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site

The neoclassical style of the 18th and 19th centuries is represented in the Royal Quarter/ Coudenberg
Coudenberg
area, around the Brussels Park
Brussels Park
and Royal Square. Examples include the Royal Palace, the Church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, the Palace of the Nation (Parliament building), the Academy Palace, the Palace of Charles of Lorraine, the Egmont Palace, etc. Other uniform neoclassical ensembles can be found around Martyrs' Square and Barricades' Square. Some other landmarks, in the centre, are the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert
(1847), one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in Europe; the Congress Column (1859); the Brussels Stock Exchange
Brussels Stock Exchange
building (1873) (French: Bourse, Dutch: Beurs); and the Palace of Justice (1883), designed by Joseph Poelaert, in eclectic style, and reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century.[109] Located outside the centre, in a greener environment, are the Cinquantenaire
Cinquantenaire
park with its triumphal arch and nearby museums, and in Laeken, the Royal Castle of Laeken
Royal Castle of Laeken
and the Royal Domain with its large greenhouses, as well as the Museums of the Far East. Also particularly striking are the buildings in the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
style, most famously by the Belgian architects Victor Horta, Paul Hankar
Paul Hankar
and Henry Van de Velde.[110][111] Some of Brussels
Brussels
districts were developed during the heyday of Art Nouveau, and many buildings are in this style. Good examples can be found in Schaerbeek, Etterbeek, Ixelles, and Saint-Gilles. The Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta
Victor Horta
Hôtel Tassel
Hôtel Tassel
(1893), Hôtel Solvay
Hôtel Solvay
(1894), Hôtel van Eetvelde (1895) and the Horta Museum
Horta Museum
(1901) – have been listed as a UNESCO
UNESCO
World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
since 2000.[112] Another example of Brussels
Brussels
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
is the Stoclet Palace
Stoclet Palace
(1911), by the Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann, designated a World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
by UNESCO in June 2009.[113]

Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
in Brussels

Hôtel Tassel
Hôtel Tassel
by Victor Horta
Victor Horta
(1893)

Stairway in Hôtel Tassel

Hôtel Ciamberlani by Paul Hankar
Paul Hankar
(1897)

Old England department store by Paul Saintenoy
Paul Saintenoy
(1899)

Saint Cyr house by Gustave Strauven
Gustave Strauven
(1903)

Cauchie house by Paul Cauchie (1905)

Sgraffito
Sgraffito
panel in the Cauchie house

Stoclet Palace
Stoclet Palace
by Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann
(1911)

The Flagey Building in Ixelles, Brussels

Art Deco
Art Deco
structures in Brussels
Brussels
include the Résidence Palace (1927) (now part of the Europa building), the Centre for Fine Arts (1928), the Villa Empain
Villa Empain
(1934), the Town Hall of Forest (1938), and the former House of the Radio building on Flagey Square (1935–1938) in Ixelles. Some religious buildings from the interwar era were also constructed in that style, such as the Church of St John the Baptist (1932) in Molenbeek and the Church of Saint Augustine (1935) in Forest. Completed only in 1969, and combining Art Deco
Art Deco
with Neo-Byzantine elements, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg is one of the largest Roman Catholic basilicas by area in the world, and its cupola provides a panoramic view of Brussels
Brussels
and its outskirts. Another example are the exhibition halls of the Centenary Palace ( Brussels
Brussels
Expo), built for the 1935 World Fair on the Heysel Plateau in northern Brussels.[114]

The Atomium, a landmark of Brussels

The Atomium
Atomium
is a symbolic 103-metre (338 ft) tall modernist structure, located on the Heysel Plateau, which was originally built for the 1958 World's Fair (Expo '58). It consists of nine steel spheres connected by tubes, and forms a model of an iron crystal (specifically, a unit cell), magnified 165 billion times. The architect A. Waterkeyn devoted the building to science. It is now considered a landmark of Brussels.[115][116] Next to the Atomium, is the Mini- Europe
Europe
park, with 1:25 scale maquettes of famous buildings from across Europe. Since the second half of the 20th century, modern office towers have been built in Brussels
Brussels
(Madou Tower, Rogier Tower, Proximus
Proximus
Towers, Finance Tower, the World Trade Center, among others). There are some thirty towers, mostly concentrated in the city's main business district: the Northern Quarter (also called Little Manhattan), near Brussels-North railway station. The South Tower, standing adjacent to Brussels-South railway station, is the tallest building in Belgium, at 148 m (486 ft). Along the North-South connection, is the State Administrative City (French: Cité administrative de l'État, Dutch: Rijksadministratief Centrum), an administrative complex in the International Style. The postmodern buildings of the Espace Léopold complete the picture. The city's embrace of modern architecture translated into an ambivalent approach towards historic preservation, leading to the destruction of notable architectural landmarks, most famously the Maison du Peuple
Maison du Peuple
by Victor Horta, a process known as Brusselisation. Arts[edit]

The Cinquantenaire
Cinquantenaire
triumphal arch and museums

Brussels
Brussels
contains over 80 museums.[117] The Royal Museums of Fine Arts has an extensive collection of various painters, such as Flemish old masters like Bruegel, Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin, Anthony van Dyck, Jacob Jordaens, and Peter Paul Rubens. The Magritte Museum houses the world's largest collection of the works of the surrealist René Magritte. Museums dedicated to the national history of Belgium include the BELvue Museum, the Royal Museums of Art and History, and the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. The Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), housed in the splendid Old England building, is part of the Royal Museums of Art and History
Royal Museums of Art and History
and is internationally renowned for its collection of over 8,000 instruments.

La Monnaie/De Munt opera house

The city has had a distinguished artist scene for many years. The famous Belgian surrealists René Magritte
René Magritte
and Paul Delvaux, for instance, studied and lived in Brussels, as did the avant-garde dramatist Michel de Ghelderode. The city was also home of the impressionist painter Anna Boch
Anna Boch
from the Artist Group Les XX, and includes others famous Belgian painters such as Léon Spilliaert
Léon Spilliaert
and Guy Huygens. The city is also a capital of the comic strip;[2] some treasured Belgian characters are Tintin, Lucky Luke, The Smurfs, Spirou, Gaston, Marsupilami, Blake and Mortimer, Boule et Bill and Cubitus
Cubitus
(see Belgian comics). Throughout the city, walls are painted with large motifs of comic book characters; these murals taken together are known as the Brussels' Comic Book Route. Also, the interiors of some Metro stations are designed by artists. The Belgian Comic Strip Center 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
Victor Horta
in the Art Nouveau style. Brussels
Brussels
is well known for its performing arts scene, with the Kunstenfestivaldesarts (a festival of international contemporary art organised in May), the Kaaitheater and La Monnaie
La Monnaie
among the most notable institutions. The International Fantastic Film Festival of Brussels
Brussels
(BIFFF) is organised during the Easter holidays and the Magritte Awards in February. The King Baudouin Stadium
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. Furthermore, the Center for Fine Arts (often referred to as Bozar), a multi-purpose centre for theatre, cinema, music, literature and art exhibitions, is home to the National Orchestra of Belgium
Belgium
and to the annual Queen Elisabeth Competition
Queen Elisabeth Competition
for classical singers and instrumentalists, one of the most challenging and prestigious competitions of the kind. The Studio 4 in Flagey cultural centre hosts the Brussels
Brussels
Philharmonic. Other concert venues include Forest National/Vorst Nationaal, the Ancienne Belgique, the Cirque Royal, the Botanique and Palais 12. Folklore[edit]

Meyboom giants in Brussels, a UNESCO
UNESCO
Intangible Cultural Heritage

Brussels’ identity owes much to its rich folklore and traditions, among the liveliest in the country:

The Ommegang, a folkloric costumed procession, commemorating the Joyous Entry
Joyous Entry
of Emperor Charles V in the city in 1549, takes place every year in July. The colourful parade includes floats, traditional giant puppets, such as Saint Michael
Saint Michael
and Saint Gudula, and scores of folkloric groups, either on foot or on horseback, dressed in medieval garb. The parade ends in a pageant on the Grand Place. The planting of the Meyboom is an even older folk tradition of Brussels
Brussels
(1308), celebrating the May tree – in fact, a bad translation of the Dutch tree of joy – which takes place paradoxically on 9 August. After parading a young beech in the city, it is planted in a joyful spirit involving lots of music, Brusseleir songs, and giant puppets. It was recognised as an expression of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, as part of the binational inscription 'Processional giants and dragons in Belgium
Belgium
and France'.[118][119] The celebration is reminiscent of the town's long-standing (folkloric) feud with Leuven, which dates back to the Middle Ages. Another good introduction to the Brusseleir local dialect and way of life can be obtained at the Théâtre Royal de Toone, a folkloric theatre of marionettes, located a stone throw away from the Grand Place. The Saint-Verhaegen (often shortened to St V), a folkloric student procession celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the Université libre de Bruxelles
Université libre de Bruxelles
and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, is held on 20 November.

Cultural events and festivals[edit] Many events are organised or hosted in Brussels
Brussels
throughout the year. In addition, a large number of festivals animate the Brussels
Brussels
scene. The Iris Festival is the official festival of the Brussels-Capital Region and is held every year in spring. The Festival of Europe, an open day and activities in and around the institutions of the European Union, is celebrated on 9 May. On Belgian National Day, on 21 July, a military parade and celebrations take place on the Place des Palais/Paleizenplein and in Brussels
Brussels
Park, ending by a display of fireworks in the evening.

Brussels
Brussels
Summer Festival

Some summer festivities include the Couleur Café Festival, a festival of world and urban music, around the end of June or early July; the Brussels
Brussels
Summer Festival (BSF), a music festival held in August; the Brussels
Brussels
Fair (French: Foire du Midi, Dutch: Zuidfoor), the most important fair in Brussels, which takes place every year during the months of July and August and lasts more than a month; and Brussels Beach (French: Bruxelles les Bains, Dutch: Brussel Bad), when the banks of the canal are turned into a temporary urban beach. The Plaisirs d'Hiver animate the heart of Brussels
Brussels
in December. These winter activities were launched in Brussels
Brussels
in 2001.

Zinneke Parade

Other biennial events are the Zinneke Parade, a colourful, multicultural parade through the city, which has been held since 2000 in May, as well as the popular Flower Carpet
Flower Carpet
at the Grand Place
Grand Place
which takes place every two years in August. Heritage Days are organised on the third weekend of September (coinciding with the car-free day) and are a good opportunity to discover the wealth of buildings, institutions and real estate in Brussels. Cuisine[edit]

Brussels
Brussels
is known for its local waffle

Brussels
Brussels
is known for its local waffle, its chocolate, its French fries and its numerous types of beers. The Brussels
Brussels
sprout, which has long been popular in Brussels, and may have originated there, is also named after the city.[120] The gastronomic offer includes approximately 1,800 restaurants, and a number of high quality bars. Belgian cuisine
Belgian cuisine
is known among connoisseurs as one of the best in Europe. In addition to the traditional restaurants, there are 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 salons de thé. Also widespread are brasseries, which usually offer a large number of beers and typical national dishes. Belgian cuisine
Belgian cuisine
is characterised by the combination of French cuisine with the more hearty Flemish fare. Notable specialities include Brussels
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 Neuhaus, Leonidas and Godiva. Pralines were first introduced in 1912, by Jean Neuhaus II, a Belgian chocolatier of Swiss origin, in the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, in central Brussels.[121] 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 predominately brewed in and around Brussels, and the yeasts have their origin in the Senne
Senne
valley. Kriek, a cherry lambic, enjoys outstanding popularity, as it does in the rest of Belgium. Kriek is available in almost every bar or restaurant. Brussels
Brussels
is known as the birthplace of the Belgian Endive (Dutch: witloof or witlof ("white leaf"), French: chicon). The technique for growing blanched endives was accidentally discovered in the 1850s at the Botanical Garden of Brussels
Brussels
in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Brussels.[122] Shopping[edit]

Flea Market on the Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein, Brussels

Famous shopping areas include the pedestrian-only Rue Neuve (Dutch: Nieuwstraat), the second busiest shopping street in Belgium
Belgium
(after the Meir, in Antwerp) with a weekly average of 230,000 visitors;[123][124] Chaussée d’ Ixelles
Ixelles
in the Matongé district; Avenue Louise
Avenue Louise
lined with high-end fashion stores and boutiques; the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert; as well as the neighbourhood around Antoine Dansaert Street, which has become, in recent years, a focal point for fashion and design.[125] This main street and its side streets also feature Belgium’s young and most happening artistic talent.[126] In addition, Brussels
Brussels
ranks as one of Europe’s best capital cities for flea market shopping. The Old Market (French: Vieux Marché, Dutch: Vlooienmarkt), on the Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein, in the Marollen
Marollen
neighbourhood, is particularly renowned.[127] The nearby Sablon area is home to many of Brussels' antique dealers.[128] The Midi Market around Brussels-South station and Boulevard du Midi is reputed to be one of the largest markets in Europe.[129] Sports[edit] Further information: Sport in Belgium

20 km of Brussels

Sport in Brussels
Brussels
is under the responsibility of the Communities. The Administration de l'Éducation Physique et du Sport (ADEPS) is responsible for recognising the various French-speaking sports federations and also runs three sports centres in the Brussels-Capital Region.[130] Its Dutch-speaking counterpart is Sport Vlaanderen (formerly called BLOSO).[131] The King Baudouin Stadium
King Baudouin Stadium
(formerly Heysel Stadium) is the largest in the country and home to the national teams in football and rugby union.[132] It hosted the final of the 1972 UEFA European Football Championship, and the opening game of the 2000 edition. Several European club finals have been held at the ground, including the 1985 European Cup Final which saw 39 deaths due to hooliganism and structural collapse.[133] The King Baudouin Stadium
King Baudouin Stadium
is also home of the annual Memorial Van Damme athletics event, Belgium's foremost track and field competition, which is part of the IAAF Diamond League. Other important athletics events are the Brussels
Brussels
Marathon and the 20 km of Brussels. Cycling[edit] Brussels
Brussels
is home to notable cycling races. The city is the arrival location of the Brussels
Brussels
Cycling Classic, formerly known as Paris–Brussels, which is one of the oldest semi classic bicycle races on the international calendar. From Word War I until the early 1970s, the Six Days of Brussels
Brussels
was organised regularly. In the last decades of the 20th century, the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx was also held in Brussels. Association football[edit]

R.S.C. Anderlecht
Anderlecht
fans at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium

R.S.C. Anderlecht, based in the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
Constant Vanden Stock Stadium
in the Anderlecht
Anderlecht
municipality, is the most successful Belgian football club in the Belgian Pro League, with 34 titles.[134] It has also won the most major European tournaments for a Belgian side, with 6 European titles. Brussels
Brussels
is also home to Union Saint-Gilloise, the most successful Belgian club before World War II, with 11 titles[135] The club was founded in Saint-Gilles but is based in the nearby Forest municipality and currently plays in Second Division. White Star Bruxelles is another football club that plays in second division. Racing White Daring Molenbeek, based in the Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
municipality and often referred to as RWDM, was a very popular football club until it was dissolved in 2002. Since 2015, its reincarnation RWDM47
RWDM47
is back playing in the fourth division. Other Brussels
Brussels
clubs that played in the national series over the years were Ixelles
Ixelles
SC, Crossing Club de Schaerbeek
Schaerbeek
(born from a merger between RCS de Schaerbeek
Schaerbeek
and Crossing Club Molenbeek), Scup Jette, RUS de Laeken, Racing Jet de Bruxelles, AS Auderghem, KV Wosjot Woluwe and FC Ganshoren. Economy[edit] Further information: Economy of Belgium Serving as the centre of administration for Belgium
Belgium
and Europe, Brussels' economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various local and federal administrations, and by related services companies, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery, a lambic brewery, founded in 1900.[136]

Brussels' Northern Quarter business district

Brussels
Brussels
has a robust economy. The region contributes to one fifth of Belgium's GDP, and its 550,000 jobs account for 17.7% of Belgium’s employment.[137] Its GDP per capita
GDP per capita
is nearly double that of Belgium as a whole,[138] and it has the highest GDP per capita
GDP per capita
of any NUTS 1 region in the European Union, at ~$80,000 in 2016.[5] That being said, the GDP is boosted by a massive inflow of commuters from neighbouring regions; over half of those who work in Brussels
Brussels
live in Flanders
Flanders
or Wallonia, with 230,000 and 130,000 commuters per day respectively. Conversely, only 16.0% of people from Brussels
Brussels
work outside Brussels (68,827 (68.5%) of them in Flanders
Flanders
and 21,035 (31.5%) in Wallonia).[139] Not all of the wealth generated in Brussels
Brussels
remains in Brussels
Brussels
itself, and as of December 2013, the unemployment among residents of Brussels
Brussels
is 20.4%.[140]

The Brussels
Brussels
Stock Exchange

There are approximately 50,000 businesses in Brussels, of which around 2,200 are foreign. This number is constantly increasing and can well explain the role of Brussels
Brussels
in the European subcontinent. The city’s infrastructure is very favourable in terms of starting up a new business. House prices have also increased in recent years, especially with the increase of young professionals settling down in Brussels, making it the most expensive city to live in Belgium.[141] In addition, Brussels
Brussels
holds more than 1,000 business conferences annually, making it the ninth most popular conference city in Europe.[142] Brussels
Brussels
is rated as the seventh most important financial centre in the world. The Brussels
Brussels
Stock Exchange, abbreviated to BSE, now called Euronext Brussels, is part of the European stock exchange Euronext N.V., along with Paris
Paris
Bourse, Lisbon Stock Exchange
Lisbon Stock Exchange
and Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Its benchmark stock market index is the BEL20. Media[edit] Further information: Belgian media Brussels
Brussels
is a centre of both media and communications in Belgium, with many Belgian television stations, radio stations, newspapers and telephone companies having their headquarters in the region. The Belgian French-language public broadcaster RTBF, the Belgian Dutch-speaking public broadcaster VRT, the two regional channels BX1 (formerly Télé Bruxelles) and Bruzz (formerly TV Brussel), the encrypted BeTV channel and private channels RTL-TVI
RTL-TVI
and VTM are headquartered in Brussels. Some national newspapers such as Le Soir, La Libre, De Morgen
De Morgen
and the news agency Belga are based in or around Brussels. The Belgian postal company Bpost, as well as the telecommunication companies and mobile operators Proximus, Orange Belgium
Belgium
(formerly Mobistar) and Base are all located there. The multilingual pan-European news channel Euronews
Euronews
also maintains an office in Brussels. Education[edit] Further information: Education in Belgium Tertiary education[edit]

The Université Libre de Bruxelles

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),[143] and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a Dutch-speaking university, with about 10,000 students.[144] Both universities originate from a single ancestor university, founded in 1834, namely the Free University
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.[145] Other universities include the Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles, with 4,000 students;[146] a campus of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,[147] (offering bachelor & master's degrees in economics & business, law, arts, and architecture, and counting a faculty in the city centre); the Royal Military Academy, a military college established in 1834 by a French colonel;[148] and two drama schools, founded in 1982: the French-speaking Conservatoire Royal and the Dutch-speaking Koninklijk Conservatorium.[149][150] Still other universities have campuses in Brussels, such as the Université Catholique de Louvain, which has had its medical faculty in the city since 1973.[151] In addition, the University
University
of Kent's Brussels
Brussels
School of International Studies is a specialised postgraduate school offering advanced international studies. Primary and secondary education[edit] Most of Brussels
Brussels
pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 go to schools organised by the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
or the French-speaking Community, with roughly 20% going to Dutch-speaking schools, and close to 80% to French-speaking schools. 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 the ages of 2½ and 18;[152] the British School of Brussels; and the four European Schools, which provide free education for the children of those working in the EU institutions. The combined student population of the four European Schools
European Schools
in Brussels
Brussels
is currently around 10,000.[153] Libraries[edit] Brussels
Brussels
has a number of public or private-owned libraries on its territory:[154][verification needed]

Royal Library
Library
of Belgium Library
Library
of the National Archives of Belgium Royal Belgian Film Archive (Cinematek) The PointCulture CERIA Francophone Central Library Library
Library
of the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences Library
Library
and Archive of the Royal Institute for Cultural Heritage Library
Library
of the Federal Public Service Finance Library
Library
of the National Botanical Garden of Belgium Central Library
Library
of the Federal Public Service Justice Library
Library
of the Royal Conservatory of Brussels Library
Library
of the Museum of Musical Instruments Libraries of the Royal Museum for Central Africa Libraries of the Royal Museums of Art and History Library
Library
of the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium Library
Library
of the Royal Observatory of Belgium Archives and libraries of the Université Libre de Bruxelles Library
Library
of the Saint-Louis University, Brussels Erasmus Library Duden Library

Science and technology[edit] Main article: Science and technology in Brussels Science and technology in Brussels
Brussels
is well developed with the presence of several universities and research institutes. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences
houses the world's largest hall completely dedicated to dinosaurs, with its collection of 30 fossilised Iguanodon
Iguanodon
skeletons.[155] The Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium
Belgium
is one of the largest in Europe.[156] Healthcare[edit]

Erasmus Hospital
Erasmus Hospital
in Anderlecht, Brussels

Brussels
Brussels
is home to a thriving pharmaceutical and health care industry which includes pioneering biotechnology research. The health sector employs 70,000 employees in 30,000 companies. There are 3,000 life sciences researchers in the city and two large science parks: Da Vinci Research Park and Erasmus Research Park. There are five university hospitals, a military hospital and more than 40 general hospitals and specialist clinics. Some examples include:[157]

CHU Brugmann CHU Saint-Pierre Clinique Edith Cavell Clinique Saint Jean Cliniques Universitaires Saint-Luc (university hospital of the Université catholique de Louvain) Erasmus Hospital
Erasmus Hospital
(university hospital of the Université libre de Bruxelles) Jules Bordet Institute IRIS Hospital Network Queen Fabiola Children's University
University
Hospital Saint Elisabeth Hospital and Saint Michel Hospital. UZ Brussel (university hospital of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

Transport[edit] Main article: Transport in Brussels Air[edit]

Brussels
Brussels
Airlines Airbus A319 landing at Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport
in Zaventem

The Brussels
Brussels
Region does not have airports on its territory and its institutions do not manage any. The peculiarity of the Region is that it is served by several airports located outside its administrative territory. The first two are also the main airports of Belgium:[158]

Brussels-National Airport, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of Zaventem, 12 km (10 mi) east of the capital; Brussels
Brussels
South Charleroi
Charleroi
Airport, located near Charleroi
Charleroi
(Wallonia), some 50 km (30 mi) south-west of Brussels; Melsbroek Air Base, located in Steenokkerzeel, is mainly a military airport and is used in a minority way for civilian travelers.

This particularity can be explained by the fact that the territory of the Region is in fact nearly entirely urbanised, and like most major cities of the world, it does not have an airport on its own territory. Water[edit]

The Saint Catherine Dock, Eugène Boudin (1871)

Since the 16th century, Brussels
Brussels
has had its own harbour, the port of Brussels. It has been enlarged throughout the centuries to become the second Belgian inland port. Historically situated near the Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijne square, it lies today in the northwest of the city, on the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal
Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal
(commonly called Willebroek Canal), which connects Brussels
Brussels
to Antwerp
Antwerp
via the Scheldt. Ships and large barges up to 4,500 tons can penetrate deep into the country, avoiding break-ups and load transfers between Antwerp
Antwerp
and the centre of Brussels, hence reducing the cost for companies using the canal, which offers a competitive advantage. Moreover, the connection of the Willebroek Canal with the Brussels- Charleroi
Charleroi
Canal, in the very heart of the capital, creates a north-south link, by means of waterways, between the Netherlands, Flanders
Flanders
and the industrial zone of Hainaut (Wallonia). There, navigation can access the network of French canals, thanks to the important inclined plane of Ronquières and the lifts of Strépy-Bracquegnies. The importance of river traffic in Brussels
Brussels
makes it possible to avoid the road equivalent of 740,000 trucks per year – almost 2,000 per day – which, in addition to easing traffic problems, represents an estimated carbon dioxide saving of 51,545 tonnes per year.[159] Train[edit]

Main hall of Brussels-South railway station, home to the Eurostar train service to London

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

The Brussels
Brussels
Capital-Region has three main train stations: Brussels-South, Central and North, which are amongst the busiest of the country. Brussels-South is also served by direct high-speed rail links: to London
London
by Eurostar
Eurostar
trains via the Channel Tunnel
Channel Tunnel
(1hr 51min); to Amsterdam[160] by Thalys
Thalys
and InterCity connections; to Amsterdam, Paris
Paris
(1hr 50min and 1hr 25min respectively as of 6 April 2015[update]), and Cologne
Cologne
by Thalys; and to Cologne (2hr 59min) and Frankfurt
Frankfurt
(3hr 16min) by the German ICE. The train rails in Brussels
Brussels
go underground, near the centre, through the North–South connection, with the Brussels-Central station also being largely underground. The tunnel itself is only six tracks wide at its narrowest point, which often causes congestion and delays due to heavy use of the route. The City has minor railway stations at Bockstael, Brussels-Chapel, Brussels-Congres, Brussels-Luxembourg, Brussels-Schuman, Brussels-West, Haren, Haren-South, Simonis. In the Brussels
Brussels
Region, there are also railways stations at Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Boitsfort, Boondael, Bordet (Evere), Etterbeek, Evere, Forest-East, Forest-South, Jette, Meiser (Schaarbeek), Moensberg (Uccle), Saint-Job (Uccle), Schaarbeek, Uccle-Calevoet, Uccle-Stalle, Vivier d'Oie-Diesdelle (Uccle), Merode and Watermael. City public transport[edit] The Brussels
Brussels
Intercommunal Transport Company STIB/MIVB is the local public transport operator in Brussels. It covers the 19 municipalities of the Brussels
Brussels
Capital-Region and some surface routes extend to the near suburbs in the other regions. Metro[edit]

Brussels Metro
Brussels Metro
carriage at Erasmus metro station

The Brussels Metro
Brussels Metro
dates back to 1976,[161] but underground lines known as premetro have been serviced by tramways since 1968. The network consists of four conventional metro lines and three premetro lines. The metro-grade lines are M1, M2, M5, and M6, with some shared sections, covering a total of 40 kilometres (25 mi).[162] As of 2017, the metro network within the region has a total of 69 metro and premetro stations. The metro is an important means of transport, connecting with six railway stations of the National Railway Company of Belgium, and many tram and bus stops operated by STIB/MIVB, and with Flemish De Lijn
De Lijn
and Walloon TEC bus stops. Trams and buses[edit] A comprehensive bus and tram network covers the city. As of 2017[update], the Brussels
Brussels
tram system consists of 17 tram lines (three of which – lines T3, T4 and T7 – qualify as premetro lines). The total route length is 139 km (86.3 mi),[162] making it one of the largest tram networks in Europe. The Brussels
Brussels
bus network is complementary to the rail network. It consists of 50 bus routes and 11 night routes, spanning 445 km (276 mi).[162] Since April 2007, STIB/MIVB has been operating a night bus network called Noctis. On Fridays and Saturdays, 11 bus routes operate from midnight until 3 a.m. They run from the centre of Brussels
Brussels
to the outer reaches of the Brussels-Capital Region.[163] Ticketing[edit] An interticketing system means that a STIB/MIVB ticket holder can use the train or long-distance buses inside the city. A single journey can include multiple stages across the different modes of transport. The commuter services operated by De Lijn, TEC and NMBS/SNCB will, in the next few years,[when?] be augmented by the Brussels
Brussels
RER/GEN network, which will connect the capital and surrounding towns. Since August 2016, paper tickets have been discontinued in favour of electronic MoBIB cards. Other public transport[edit]

Villo!
Villo!
bicycles in Brussels

Since 2003, Brussels
Brussels
has had a car-sharing service operated by the Bremen
Bremen
company Cambio, in partnership with the STIB/MIVB and local ridesharing company Taxi Stop. In 2006, a public bicycle-sharing programme was introduced. The scheme was subsequently taken over by Villo!. Since 2008, this night-time public transport service has been supplemented by Collecto, a shared taxi system, which operates on weekdays between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. In 2012, the Zen Car electric car-sharing scheme was launched in the university and European areas. Road network[edit]

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

In medieval times, Brussels
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 Senne, over the city walls and over the railway connection between the North and South Stations. Today, Brussels
Brussels
has the most congested traffic in North America
North America
and Europe, according to US traffic information platform INRIX.[164] As one expects of a capital city, Brussels
Brussels
is the hub of a range of old national roads, the main 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 (S to Maubeuge), N7 (SW to Lille), N8 (W to Koksijde) and N9 (NW to Ostend).[165] Usually named chaussées/steenwegen, these highways normally run in a straight line, but sometimes lose themselves in a maze of narrow shopping streets. The town is skirted by the European route E19
European route E19
(N-S) and the E40 (E-W), while the E411
E411
leads away to the SE. Brussels
Brussels
has an orbital motorway, numbered R0 (R-zero) and commonly referred to as the 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 or N0. These were built upon the site of the second set of city walls following their demolition. The metro line 2 runs under much of these. Since June 2015, a number of central boulevards inside the pentagon have become car-free, limiting transit traffic through the old city.[166] On the eastern side of the city, the R21 or Greater Ring (French: Grande Ceinture, Dutch: Grote Ring) is formed by a string of boulevards that curves round from Laeken
Laeken
to Uccle. Some premetro stations (see Brussels
Brussels
Metro) were built on that route. A little further out, a stretch numbered R22 leads from Zaventem
Zaventem
to Saint-Job.

Distances to other cities[edit] These distances are as the crow flies and therefore do not represent actual overland distances. In Belgium:

Antwerp: 43.3 km (26.9 mi) north Charleroi: 47.4 km (29.5 mi) south Ghent: 51.0 km (31.7 mi) north-west Liège: 88.5 km (55.0 mi) east

In Europe:

Lille: 94.6 km (58.8 mi) south-west Eindhoven: 102.1 km (63.4 mi) north-east Rotterdam: 121.1 km (75.2 mi) north Amsterdam: 174.7 km (108.6 mi) north Cologne: 183.0 km (113.7 mi) east Luxembourg
Luxembourg
City: 185.3 km (115.1 mi) south-east Paris: 262.9 km (163.4 mi) south-west Frankfurt
Frankfurt
am Main: 316.2 km (196.5 mi) south-east London: 320.7 km (199.3 mi) west

Security and emergency services[edit] Police[edit]

Policeman in Brussels

The Brussels
Brussels
police is responsible for the security in Brussels. The 19 municipalities of Brussels
Brussels
are divided into six police zones,[167] all bilingual (French and Dutch):

5339 Brussels
Brussels
Capital Ixelles: the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
and Ixelles 5340 Brussels
Brussels
West : Ganshoren, Jette, Koekelberg, Sint-Agatha-Berchem
Sint-Agatha-Berchem
and Sint-Jans-Molenbeek 5341 South : Anderlecht, Forest and Saint-Gilles 5342 Uccle/Watermael-Boitsfort/Auderghem : Auderghem, Uccle
Uccle
and Watermael-Boitsfort 5343 Montgomery : Etterbeek, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
et Woluwe-Saint-Pierre 5344 Polbruno : Evere, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
et Schaerbeek

Fire department[edit] The Brussels
Brussels
Fire and Emergency Medical Care Service, commonly known by its acronym SIAMU (DBDMH), operates in the 19 municipalities of Brussels.[168] It is a class X fire department and the largest fire service in Belgium
Belgium
in terms of annual operations, equipment, and personnel. It has 9 fire stations, spread over the entire Brussels-Capital Region, and employs about 1,000 professional firefighters. As well as preventing and fighting fires, SIAMU also provides emergency medical care services in Brussels
Brussels
via its centralised 100 number (and the single 112 emergency number for the 27 countries of the European Union). It is bilingual (French-Dutch). Parks and green spaces[edit] Brussels
Brussels
is one of the greenest capitals in Europe, with over 8,000 hectares of green spaces.[169] Vegetation cover and natural areas are higher in the outskirts, where they have limited the peri-urbanisation of the capital, but they decrease sharply towards the centre of Brussels; 10% in the central pentagon, 30% of the municipalities in the first ring, and 71% of the municipalities in the second ring are occupied by green spaces. A multitude of parks and gardens, both public and privately owned, are scattered throughout the city. In the City of Brussels:

Square of the Small Sablon 0.29 ha (0.72 acres) Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts
/ Kunstberg 1.4 ha (3.5 acres) Egmont Park 1.5 ha (3.7 acres) Botanical Garden of Brussels
Brussels
6 ha (14.8 acres) Leopold Park
Leopold Park
10 ha (25 acres) Brussels Park
Brussels Park
11 ha (27 acres) Osseghem Park 17 ha (42 acres) Laeken
Laeken
Park 30 ha (74 acres) Parc du Cinquantenaire
Cinquantenaire
/ Jubelpark 30 ha (74 acres) Bois de la Cambre
Bois de la Cambre
/ Ter Kamerenbos 122 ha (301 acres)

In the Brussels-Capital Region:

Tenbosch
Tenbosch
2 ha (2.5 acres) in Ixelles Ixelles
Ixelles
Ponds 5 ha (12.3 acres) in Ixelles Forest Park 13 ha (32 acres) in Forest Rouge-Cloître Abbey
Rouge-Cloître Abbey
13 ha (32 acres) in Auderghem Elisabeth Park 21 ha (51 acres) in Koekelberg
Koekelberg
/ Ganshoren Duden Park
Duden Park
24 ha (59 acres) in Forest Josaphat Park
Josaphat Park
30 ha (74 acres) in Schaerbeek Woluwe
Woluwe
Park 69 ha (170 acres) in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre The Sonian Forest
Sonian Forest
4.421 ha (10.920 acres), stretching out over the three Belgian regions.

Mont des Arts
Mont des Arts
/ Kunstberg

Parc du Cinquantenaire
Cinquantenaire
/ Jubelpark

Brussels
Brussels
Park

Bois de la Cambre
Bois de la Cambre
/ Ter Kamerenbos

The Botanical Garden of Brussels

Ixelles
Ixelles
Ponds

Forest Park

The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken

Sonian Forest

Notable people[edit] Main article: List of people from Brussels International relations[edit] Twin towns and sister cities[edit] See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Belgium Brussels
Brussels
is twinned with the following cities:

Aichi, Japan[170] Atlanta, United States[171] Beijing, People's Republic of China[172] Berlin, Germany[173] Brasília, Brazil[174] Ljubljana, Slovenia[175] Madrid, Spain[176] Montreal, Canada[177] Moscow, Russia[178] Prague, Czech Republic[179] Washington, D.C., United States[180]

Rankings[edit]

As of 2016[update], the Brussels-Capital Region
Brussels-Capital Region
is ranked the 12th largest capital city of the European Union.

See also[edit]

Brussels
Brussels
portal Belgium
Belgium
portal European Union
European Union
portal

Brussels
Brussels
Regional Investment Company Outline of Belgium Statue of Europe

References[edit]

^ "Brussels". City-Data.com. Retrieved 10 January 2008.  ^ a b Herbez, Ariel (30 May 2009). "Bruxelles, capitale de la BD". Le Temps (in French). Switzerland. Retrieved 28 May 2010. Plus que jamais, Bruxelles mérite son statut de capitale de la bande dessinée. [dead link] ^ "Cheap flights to Brussels". Easyjet. Retrieved 1 June 2010.  ^ Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)[dead link] ^ a b "Regional GDP per capita
GDP per capita
ranged from 29% to 611% of the EU average in 2016" (Press release). Eurostat. 28 February 2018.  ^ a b The Belgian Constitution
Belgian Constitution
(PDF). Brussels, Belgium: Belgian House of Representatives. May 2014. p. 5. Retrieved 10 September 2015. Article 3: Belgium
Belgium
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Brussels
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Brussels-Capital Region
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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 (suburbs, banlieue or buitenwijken) gives a total of 1,831,496. And, including the outer commuter zone (forensenwoonzone) the population is 2,676,701. ^ "Demographia World Urban Areas" (PDF). April 2017.  ^ Van Meeteren Michiel; Boussauw Kobe; Derudder Ben; Witlox Frank (2016). Flemish Diamond or ABC-Axis? The spatial structure of the Belgian metropolitan area. Brussels, Belgium.  ^ " Europe
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Brussels
is not formally declared capital of the EU, though its position is spelled out in the Treaty of Amsterdam. See the section dedicated to this issue. ^ Reuters Staff (10 April 2016). " Spain
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Brussels
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French-speaking at 92%". 4 December 2017.  ^ http://www.marnixplan.org/MULTILINGUAL-BRUSSELS ^ Geert van Istendael
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Belgium
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Art Nouveau
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Victor Horta
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UNESCO
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Art Deco
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Atomium
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Belgium
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France
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Brussels
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1 Also the capital of the Kingdom of the Netherlands 2 Also the seat of the European Union, see Institutional seats of the European Union
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and Brussels
Brussels
and the European Union 3 Transcontinental country 4 Entirely in Southwest Asia but having socio-political connections with Europe 5 Partially recognised country

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Capital cities of the member states of the European Union

Netherlands: Amsterdam

Greece: Athens

Germany: Berlin

Slovakia: Bratislava

Belgium: Brussels

Romania: Bucharest

Hungary: Budapest

Denmark: Copenhagen

Ireland: Dublin

Finland: Helsinki

Portugal: Lisbon

Slovenia: Ljubljana

United Kingdom: London

Luxembourg: Luxembourg

Spain: Madrid

Cyprus: Nicosia

France: Paris

Czech Republic: Prague

Latvia: Riga

Italy: Rome

Bulgaria: Sofia

Sweden: Stockholm

Estonia: Tallinn

Malta: Valletta

Austria: Vienna

Lithuania: Vilnius

Poland: Warsaw

Croatia: Zagreb

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Subdivisions of Belgium

Communities

Flemish French German-speaking

Regions and Provinces

Capital (Brussels)

 

Flemish (Flanders)

Antwerp East Flanders Flemish Brabant Limburg West Flanders

Walloon (Wallonia)

Hainaut Liège Luxembourg Namur Walloon Brabant

Arrondissements

Administrative Electoral Judicial

Municipalities by region

Capital (Brussels) Flemish (Flanders) Walloon (Wallonia)

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European Capitals of Culture

1985 Athens 1986 Florence 1987 Amsterdam 1988 West Berlin 1989 Paris 1990 Glasgow 1991 Dublin 1992 Madrid 1993 Antwerp 1994 Lisbon 1995 Luxembourg
Luxembourg
City 1996 Copenhagen 1997 Thessaloniki 1998 Stockholm 1999 Weimar 2000 Reykjavík Bergen Helsinki Brussels Prague Kraków Santiago de Compostela Avignon Bologna 2001 Rotterdam Porto 2002 Bruges Salamanca 2003 Graz Plovdiv 2004 Genoa Lille 2005 Cork 2006 Patras 2007 Luxembourg City
Luxembourg City
and Greater Region Sibiu 2008 Liverpool Stavanger 2009 Linz Vilnius 2010 Ruhr Istanbul Pécs 2011 Turku Tallinn 2012 Maribor Guimarães 2013 Košice Marseille 2014 Umeå Riga 2015 Mons Plzeň 2016 San Sebastián Wrocław 2017 Aarhus Paphos 2018 Valletta Leeuwarden 2019 Plovdiv Matera 2020 Rijeka Galway 2021 Timișoara Elefsina Novi Sad 2022 Kaunas Esch-sur-Alzette

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Eurovision
Eurovision
Song Contest

History Host cities Languages Presenters Rules Voting Winners Winners discography

Contests

1956 1957 1958 1959 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

Countries

Active

Albania Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Belarus Belgium Bulgaria Croatia Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Hungary Iceland Ireland Israel Italy Latvia Lithuania Macedonia Malta Moldova Montenegro Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Ukraine United Kingdom

Inactive

Andorra Bosnia and Herzegovina Luxembourg Monaco Morocco Slovakia Turkey

Former

Lebanon Serbia and Montenegro Yugoslavia

Relations

Armenia–Azerbaijan Russia–Ukraine

National selections

Current

Albania Armenia Belarus Denmark Estonia Finland France Germany Hungary Iceland Israel Italy Latvia Lithuania Malta Moldova Montenegro Norway Poland Portugal Romania Serbia Slovenia Spain Sweden Switzerland Ukraine United Kingdom

Former

Austria Azerbaijan Belgium Bosnia & Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Estonia Finland Greece

Ellinikós Telikós Eurosong - A MAD Show

Ireland

The Late Late Show You're a Star

Israel Latvia

Eirodziesma Dziesma

Lithuania Macedonia Malta Montenegro Netherlands Serbia and Montenegro Spain Switzerland United Kingdom Yugoslavia

Other awards

Marcel Bezençon Awards OGAE

OGAE
OGAE
Video Contest OGAE
OGAE
Second Chance Contest

Barbara Dex Award

Television and concerts

Eurovision Song Contest
Eurovision Song Contest
Previews Songs of Europe Kvalifikacija za Millstreet Congratulations: 50 Years of the Eurovision
Eurovision
Song Contest Best of Eurovision Eurovision
Eurovision
Song Contest's Greatest Hits

.