Brussels: Top 10

(continuer en français) – Published: October 26, 2021

Bounced between Prussia, Spain, the Netherlands and France, modern Belgium only gained its independence in 1830 with Brussels as its capital, as a link between opposing linguistic communities. Due to its location at the heart of the first core of the Europe of Six, Brussels acquired another dimension by becoming the de facto capital of the European Union.

01. Grand-Place

Let the sun come out and the gold would shine on all sides. It is a place of ceremony, of parade. Destroyed and rebuilt many times, the central square of Brussels is nothing more than a late 19th century stage set, idealising the architecture of the powerful corporations of the 17th century. Only the Town Hall has real authenticity, blending in perfectly with its more recent neighbours (more).

Grand-Place, Brussels
Brussels Palace, Brussels

02. Brussels Palace

In simple terms, this is the office of the King and members of the royal family who play a role in the organisation of power in Belgium. In addition to their offices and those of their collaborators, the palace also serves as a place of functions where the monarch’s representative role is surrounded by all the pomp and splendour necessary for the pride of the country (more).

03. Laeken Palace

Isolated in a large park on the edge of the centre of Brussels, the palace has been the residence of several kings, including the current sovereign. The building was saved and inhabited by Napoleon during the period of French sovereignty. Its greenhouses are renowned and are open to the public for a few days a year. Beyond the park’s gates, a large green area hosts several attractions.

Laeken Palace, Brussels
Mont des Arts, Brussels

04. Mont des Arts

The perspective from the equestrian statue of King Albert I to the cathedral of St. James on the Coudenberg is one of the most charming in Brussels. It owes its name to the proximity of several museums and other cultural institutions. It is a quiet place between several busy thoroughfares, a transitional place between the old town and the seat of government.

05. Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary

The park was created for the fiftieth anniversary of the 1830 revolution that led to Belgium’s independence. This vast esplanade is used to organise many public events. It is bordered by several museums with large exhibition areas. The triple arch dates from 1905 and forms a solemn triumphal arch.

Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary, Brussels
Rogier Square, Brussels

06. Contemporary architecture

Brussels does not remain stuck on its old town. Having become the European capital, it had to transform its urban planning to meet the consequences of its new status. The canopy of the Place Rogier serves as a link between the end of the Rue Neuve, the pedestrian thoroughfare that crosses the city centre, and the northern district built of recent skyscrapers occupied by numerous offices.

07. Brasseries

Belgian beer is a UNESCO World Heritage. There are many different types of beer, and they go hand in hand with a renowned gastronomy that is geared towards the pleasure of conviviality. Restaurants and brasseries are an essential part of Belgian culture, a country where people know how to eat well.

Brasserie Métropole, Brussels
Atonium, Brussels

08. Atonium

The Atonium was built temporarily for the 1958 World Exhibition and survived the end of the Expo. Recently renovated and despite the current constraints of distancing, it remains open against all sanitary logic. There is a desire to impose it as a symbol of the city and even the country, perhaps in an attempt to replace the unflattering image of the Manneken-Pis.

09. Manneken-Pis

The small, mocking figure is known throughout the world and is the very symbol of Belgium. Installed in the 17th century as a fountain to distribute water to the population, the sculpture has been subject to theft and damage. The original is now safely kept in a museum. There is also an exhibition of its many clothes, more than 1000.

Manneken-Pis, Brussels
Berlaymont, Brussels

10. Berlaymont

The Berlaymont building serves as the headquarters of the European Commission, with more than 3000 people working there. Built in 1963 and restructured in 1991, its image is associated with the European Union. It is at the centre of a whole district of modern buildings for the many European services, and Brussels benefits greatly from all this administrative activity.

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  1. I’ve only really been here once, on a cheap bus tour in 1984. I only regret we did not spend more time there. We did bounce through the airport in 2017, but that doesn’t count. Thanks for the memories. Allan

    Liked by 1 person

    • At least you got a first opinion. It is certainly a city worth visiting. There have been many efforts in recent years to improve the city’ s quality of life, especially in the city centre, which makes it even more pleasant to visit.

      Liked by 1 person

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