In my visit to Belgium, after Ghent and Bruges , of course I couldn’t miss Brussels , as a small part of it is the capital of the country (I’ll try to explain it later in the post), and one of the points where is most notable the connection between the Dutch and the French side.
Brussels is located close to the geographical center of the country, and has a population slightly higher than 1,000,000 inhabitants, being the most populated city of the country. Also, it’s the de facto capital city of the European Union.
It’s one of the 3 federated regions of Belgium (Brussels Capital-Region), and, curiously, the capital of the other 2 regions: the Flemish Region, which is the Dutch part; and the Wallon Region, which is mostly French, but it also has a German part.
However, Brussels is not the capital of Belgium, but part of it is. What does this mean? Well, according to the Belgian Constitution, the capital is the City of Brussels municipality, which is one of the 19 municipalities of Brussels.
The settlement that originated Brussels appeared circa 580, but the city wasn’t officially founded until around 979, and the county appeared around 1000. The city rapidly grew on importance as it is located in the shore of river Senne, in the important trading route connecting Bruges and Ghent with Cologne.
Brussels is an amazing city, which in its architecture mixes its impressive medieval roots with a lot of other styles, ranging to beautiful contemporary buildings, originating a great mixture.
Unfortunately, although he city is located on the shore of river Senne, the presence of water on it is not as important and impressive as it is in Ghent of Bruges. And that, at least in my opinion, is a real pity.
The weather is the typical Belgian one, completely irregular, alternating sun with heavy rain every few minutes, not letting you to get used to any stable weather. About the temperature… well, in September it was cold enough to wear a thick jacket, hehe.
As it happened in Geneve , although in a smaller scale, you can feel an important presence of foreign people in the streets, due to some important international organizations present in Brussels. Aside from that, I can say that the natives of Brussels are really nice and educated.
I can’t say much about the nightlife in here, as I only spent one night, and it happened to be Brussels’ White Night, so there were plenty of events all around the city, in its streets and squares. In a couple of days probably you’ll get to see a little bit of it.
One of the main attractions of the city is the Atomium, a a monument built for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It was designed as a unit cell of an iron crystal by André Waterkeyn. It is 102 meters and is composed by nine steel spheres interconnected.
So, as you can see, I liked the city, and I think I wouldn’t mind living in here for some time. Anyway, I think that, alongside with the other Belgian cities I’ve commented here until now, it’s clearly a must see.