Brussels

Brussels

Overview
Brussels officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region (French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

: , Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

: ), is the capital
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and the de facto capital of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU). It is also the largest urban area in Belgium, comprising 19 municipalities, including the municipality of the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the official capital of Belgium by law....

, which is the de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

capital of Belgium, in addition to the seat of the French Community of Belgium
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 and of the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

.

Brussels has grown from a 10th-century fortress town founded by a descendant of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 into a metropolis of more than one million inhabitants.
Discussion
Ask a question about 'Brussels'
Start a new discussion about 'Brussels'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Timeline

1835   In Belgium, the first railway in continental Europe opens between Brussels and Mechelen.

1867   Work begins on the covering of the Zenne, burying Brussels's primary river and creating the modern central boulevards.

1906   Edouard de Laveleye forms the Belgian Olympic Committee in Brussels.

1914   World War I: German forces occupy Brussels.

1940   World War II: Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium.

1967   The ''L'Innovation'' department store in the centre of Brussels, Belgium, burns down. It is the most devastating fire in Belgian history, resulting in 323 dead and missing and 150 injured.

1970   The formerly united Free University of Brussels officially splits into two separate entities, the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel.

1979   An IRA bomb explodes on the Grand Place in Brussels.

1985   Heysel Stadium disaster: At the European Cup final in Brussels, Belgium, 39 football fans die and hundreds are injured when a dilapidated retaining wall collapses after Liverpool F.C. fans breach a fence separating them from Juventus F.C. fans.

1998   The European Central Bank is founded in Brussels in order to define and execute the European Union's monetary policy.

 
Encyclopedia
Brussels officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region (French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

: , Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

: ), is the capital
Capital City
Capital City was a television show produced by Euston Films which focused on the lives of investment bankers in London living and working on the corporate trading floor for the fictional international bank Shane-Longman....

 of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 and the de facto capital of the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 (EU). It is also the largest urban area in Belgium, comprising 19 municipalities, including the municipality of the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the official capital of Belgium by law....

, which is the de jure
De jure
De jure is an expression that means "concerning law", as contrasted with de facto, which means "concerning fact".De jure = 'Legally', De facto = 'In fact'....

capital of Belgium, in addition to the seat of the French Community of Belgium
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 and of the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

.

Brussels has grown from a 10th-century fortress town founded by a descendant of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

 into a metropolis of more than one million inhabitants. The metropolitan area has a population of over 1.8 million, making it the largest in Belgium.

Since the end of the Second World War, Brussels has been a main center for international politics. Hosting principal EU institutions
Institutions of the European Union
The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

 as well as the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the city has become the polyglot
Polyglot
Polyglot may refer to:*Polyglot , someone who uses many languages*Polyglot , a book that contains the same text in more than one language*Polyglot , a computer program that is valid in more than one programming language...

 home of numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.

Although historically Dutch-speaking
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

, Brussels became increasingly French-speaking
Frenchification of Brussels
The Frenchification of Brussels is the transformation of Brussels, Belgium, from a Dutch-speaking city to one that is bilingual or even multilingual, with French as both the majority language and lingua franca...

 over the 19th and 20th centuries. Today a majority of inhabitants are native French-speakers, and both languages have official status. Linguistic tensions remain, and the language laws of the municipalities surrounding Brussels are an issue of considerable controversy in Belgium.

History


The most common theory for the toponymy
Toponymy
Toponymy is the scientific study of place names , their origins, meanings, use and typology. The word "toponymy" is derived from the Greek words tópos and ónoma . Toponymy is itself a branch of onomastics, the study of names of all kinds...

 of Brussels is that it derives from the Old Dutch
Old Dutch
In linguistics, Old Dutch denotes the forms of West Franconian spoken and written in the Netherlands and present-day northern Belgium during the Early Middle Ages. It is regarded as the primary stage in the development of a separate Dutch language...

 Broeksel or other spelling variants, which means marsh (broek) and home (sel) or "home in the marsh". The origin of the settlement that was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus
Gaugericus
Saint Gaugericus, in French Saint Géry was a bishop of Cambrai. He was born to Roman parents, Gaudentius and Austadiola, at Eposium...

' construction of a chapel on an island
Saint Gaugericus Island
Saint-Géry Island was the largest island in the Senne river in Brussels, Belgium. It was named after Saint Gaugericus of Cambrai, who built a chapel there ca. 580. Hence the name "Brussels", which comes from Bruocsella or Broekzele, meaning "settlement in the marsh"...

 in the river Senne
Zenne
The Zenne or Senne is a small river that flows through Brussels, left tributary of the Dijle/Dyle. Its source is in the municipality of Soignies. It is an indirect tributary of the Scheldt, through the Dijle and the Rupel...

 around 580. Saint Vindicianus, the bishop of Cambrai made the first recorded reference to the place "Brosella" in 695 when it was still a hamlet. The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel
Moorsel
Moorsel is a village in the Denderstreek in the province East Flanders in Belgium, a deelgemeente of the city of Aalst. The village belongs to a league of neighboring villages, which call themselves the Faluintjesgemeenten...

 to the Saint Gaugericus chapel. Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island.

Lambert I of Leuven
Lambert I of Leuven
Lambert I of Leuven nicknamed "The Bearded" was the first Count of Leuven in 1003...

, Count of Leuven
Counts of Leuven
Near the end of the 10th century, the County of Leuven emerged when granted to Lambert I by the German Emperor. Originally limited by the rivers Demer, Dijle and Velp, that is more or less the region known today as Hageland, the County of Leuven rapidly increased in size and power...

 gained the County of Brussels around 1000 by marrying Charles' daughter. Because of its location on the shores of the Senne
Zenne
The Zenne or Senne is a small river that flows through Brussels, left tributary of the Dijle/Dyle. Its source is in the municipality of Soignies. It is an indirect tributary of the Scheldt, through the Dijle and the Rupel...

 on an important trade route between Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, and Cologne
Cologne
Cologne is Germany's fourth-largest city , and is the largest city both in the Germany Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and within the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Area, one of the major European metropolitan areas with more than ten million inhabitants.Cologne is located on both sides of the...

, Brussels grew quite quickly; it became a commercial centre that rapidly extended towards the upper town (St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church at the Treurenberg hill in Brussels, Belgium. In French, it is called Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule and in Dutch Sint-Michiels- en Sint-Goedelekathedraal, usually shortened to "Sint-Goedele".In 1047, Lambert II, Count of...

, Coudenberg
Coudenberg
Coudenberg or Koudenberg is a small hill in Brussels where the Palace of Coudenberg was built.For nearly 700 years, the Castle and then the Palace of Coudenberg were the seat of government of the counts, dukes, archdukes, kings, emperors and governors who from the 11th century until its...

, Sablon/Zavel area...), 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. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant
Duke of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was formally erected in 1183/1184. The title "Duke of Brabant" was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I, son of Godfrey III of Leuven . The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant...

 at about this time (1183/1184). In the 13th century, the city got its first walls.
After the construction of the first walls of Brussels, in the early 13th century, Brussels grew significantly. To let the city expand, a second set of walls
Second walls of Brussels
There were two stages of fortifications of Brussels, the first walls, built in the early 13th century, and the second walls, built in the late 14th century and later upgraded. Today, only a few sections of either remain.-First 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.

In the 15th century, by means of the wedding of heiress Margaret III of Flanders with Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy
Philip II, Duke of Burgundy
Philip the Bold , also Philip II, Duke of Burgundy , was the fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and his wife, Bonne of Luxembourg. By his marriage to Margaret III, Countess of Flanders, he also became Count Philip II of Flanders, Count Philip IV of Artois and Count-Palatine Philip IV...

, a new Duke of Brabant emerged from the House of Valois
Valois Dynasty
The House of Valois was a cadet branch of the Capetian dynasty, succeeding the House of Capet as kings of France from 1328 to 1589...

 (namely Antoine, their son), with another line of descent from the Habsburgs (Maximilian of Austria, later Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

, married Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death...

, who was born in Brussels). Brabant had lost its independence, but Brussels became the Princely Capital of the prosperous Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

, and flourished.

Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

, heir of the Low Countries since 1506, though (as he was only 6 years old) governed by his aunt Margaret of Austria until 1515, was declared King of Spain, in 1516, in the Cathedral of Saint Gudule in Brussels. Upon the death of his grandfather, Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

 in 1519, Charles became the new archduke of the Habsburg Empire and thus the Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

 of the Empire "on which the sun does not set
The empire on which the sun never sets
The phrase, "the Empire on which the sun never sets", has been used with variations to describe certain global empires that were so extensive that there was always at least one part of their territory in daylight....

". It was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg
Coudenberg
Coudenberg or Koudenberg is a small hill in Brussels where the Palace of Coudenberg was built.For nearly 700 years, the Castle and then the Palace of Coudenberg were the seat of government of the counts, dukes, archdukes, kings, emperors and governors who from the 11th century until its...

 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 1695, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery
Bombardment of Brussels
The bombardment of Brussels by French troops of King Louis XIV on August 13, 14 and 15, 1695 and the resulting fire were together the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place was destroyed, along with a third of the buildings in the city...

. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place
Grand Place
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse . The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels, along with the Atomium and Manneken Pis...

 was destroyed, along with 4000 buildings, a third of those 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. The city was captured
Siege of Brussels
The Siege of Brussels took place between January and February 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession. A French army under the overall command of Maurice de Saxe besieged and captured the city of Brussels, which was then the capital of the Austrian Netherlands, from its Austrian garrison.The...

 by France in 1746 during the War of the Austrian Succession
War of the Austrian Succession
The War of the Austrian Succession  – including King George's War in North America, the Anglo-Spanish War of Jenkins' Ear, and two of the three Silesian wars – involved most of the powers of Europe over the question of Maria Theresa's succession to the realms of the House of Habsburg.The...

 but was handed back to Austria three years later.
In 1830, the Belgian revolution
Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium....

 took place in Brussels after a performance of Auber's opera La Muette de Portici
La muette de Portici
La muette de Portici originally called Masaniello, ou La muette de Portici, is an opera in five acts by Daniel Auber, with a libretto by Germain Delavigne, revised by Eugène Scribe...

at the La Monnaie
La Monnaie
Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie , or the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg is a theatre in Brussels, Belgium....

 theatre. On 21 July 1831, Leopold I
Leopold I of Belgium
Leopold I was from 21 July 1831 the first King of the Belgians, following Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. He was the founder of the Belgian line of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha...

, 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. The Senne
Senné
Senné is a village and municipality in the Veľký Krtíš District of the Banská Bystrica Region of southern Slovakia.-External links:*http://www.statistics.sk/mosmis/eng/run.html...

 had become a serious health hazard, and from 1867 to 1871 its entire course through the urban area was completely covered over
Covering of the Senne
The covering of the Senne was one of the defining events in the history of Brussels. The Senne/Zenne was historically the main waterway of Brussels, but it became more polluted and less navigable as the city grew. By the second half of the 19th century, it had become a serious health hazard and...

. This allowed urban renewal
Urban renewal
Urban renewal is a program of land redevelopment in areas of moderate to high density urban land use. Renewal has had both successes and failures. Its modern incarnation began in the late 19th century in developed nations and experienced an intense phase in the late 1940s – under the rubric of...

 and the construction of modern buildings and boulevards characteristic of downtown Brussels today.

During the 20th century the city has hosted various fairs and conferences, including the fifth Solvay Conference
Solvay Conference
The International Solvay Institutes for Physics and Chemistry, located in Brussels, were founded by the Belgian industrialist Ernest Solvay in 1912, following the historic invitation-only 1911 Conseil Solvay, the turning point in world physics...

 in 1927 and two world fairs: the Brussels International Exposition of 1935
Brussels International Exposition (1935)
The Brussels International Exposition of 1935 was held in Heysel Park, Brussels, Belgium from April 27 through November 6, 1935....

 and the Expo '58
Expo '58
Expo 58, also known as the Brussels World’s Fair, Brusselse Wereldtentoonstelling or Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles, was held from 17 April to 19 October 1958...

. Brussels suffered damage from World War II, though it was minor compared to cities in Germany and the United Kingdom.

After the war, Brussels was modernized for better and for worse. 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
Brussels Metro
The Brussels Metro is a rapid transit system serving a large part of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It consists of a network with four metro line services with some shared sections. The metro has 49.9 km of network and 59 stations...

 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. Unfortunately, development was allowed to proceed with little regard to the aesthetics of newer buildings, and many architectural gems were demolished to make way for newer buildings that often clashed with their surroundings, a process known as Brusselization
Brusselization
Brusselization is a term used by urban planners to describe anarchic commercial property development in a historic city. The term originated as the result of the uncontrolled development of Brussels in the 1960s and 1970s, where unscrupulous developers were given free rein to build a futuristic city...

.

The Brussels-Capital Region was formed on 18 June 1989 after a constitutional reform in 1970. The Brussels-Capital Region was made bilingual, and it is one of the three federal regions of Belgium, along with Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 and Wallonia.

Municipalities























The 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region

  1. Anderlecht
    Anderlecht
    Anderlecht is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region.There are several historically and architecturally distinct districts within the Anderlecht municipality.-Pronunciation:* Dutch: * French:...


  2. Auderghem/Oudergem
    Auderghem
    Auderghem or Oudergem is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium....


  3. Berchem-Sainte-Agathe/Sint-Agatha-Berchem
    Sint-Agatha-Berchem
    Sint-Agatha-Berchem or Berchem-Sainte-Agathe is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.The municipality had a total population of 20,078 on 1 January 2006...


  4. City of Brussels
    City of Brussels
    The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the official capital of Belgium by law....


  5. Etterbeek
    Etterbeek
    Etterbeek is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It neighbours the municipalities of the City of Brussels, Ixelles, Auderghem, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Schaerbeek....


  6. Evere
    Evere
    Evere is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. On January 1, 2006 the municipality had a total population of 33,462...


  7. Forest/Vorst
    Forest, Belgium
    Forest or Vorst is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.The town is commonly known for its concert hall...


  8. Ganshoren
    Ganshoren
    Ganshoren is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. On January 1, 2006 the municipality had a total population of 20,970. The total area is 2.46 km² which gives a population density of 8,541 inhabitants per km².-Pronunciation:* French: * Dutch:...


  9. Ixelles/Elsene

  10. Jette
    Jette
    Jette is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.The Vrije Universiteit Brussel, the Dutch-speaking university of Brussels has built its hospital and medical campus in Jette, while its other buildings are in the so-called Etterbeek campus actually...


  11. Koekelberg
    Koekelberg
    Koekelberg is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. On January 1, 2006 the municipality had a total population of 18,157...


  12. Molenbeek-Saint-Jean/Sint-Jans-Molenbeek

  13. Saint-Gilles/Sint-Gillis
    Saint-Gilles, Belgium
    Saint-Gilles or Sint-Gillis is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.Saint-Gilles has a multicultural identity stemming from its diverse population...


  14. Saint-Josse-ten-Noode/Sint-Joost-ten-Node
    Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
    Sint-Joost-ten-Node or Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium....


  15. Schaerbeek/Schaarbeek

  16. Uccle/Ukkel
    Uccle
    Uccle or Ukkel is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.Uccle is known for its well-to-do areas, its green spots and its high rental rates.-History:...


  17. Watermael-Boitsfort/Watermaal-Bosvoorde
    Watermael-Boitsfort
    Watermael-Boitsfort or Watermaal-Bosvoorde is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region in Belgium....


  18. Woluwe-Saint-Lambert/Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe
    Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
    Woluwe-Saint-Lambert or Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium...


  19. Woluwe-Saint-Pierre/Sint-Pieters-Woluwe


The 19 municipalities
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 (communes) of the 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. Municipal administration is also conducted by a mayor, a council, and an executive.

In 1831, Belgium was divided into 2,739 municipalities, including the 19 in the Brussels-Capital Region. 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. However, several municipalities outside of the Brussels-Capital Region have been merged with the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the official capital of Belgium by law....

 throughout its history including Laeken, Haren
Haren, Belgium
Haren is an old municipality of Brussels in Belgium, that was merged into the municipality of the City of Brussels in 1921...

, and Neder-Over-Heembeek
Neder-over-Heembeek
Neder-over-Heembeek is a northern part of the City of Brussels municipality in Belgium. It is a commune which lost its municipality status when it was merged with the City of Brussels....

, which were merged into the City of Brussels in 1921.

The largest and most populous of the municipalities is the City of Brussels, covering 32.6 square kilometres (12.6 sq mi) with 145,917 inhabitants. The least populous is Koekelberg
Koekelberg
Koekelberg is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. On January 1, 2006 the municipality had a total population of 18,157...

 with 18,541 inhabitants, while the smallest in area is Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode
Sint-Joost-ten-Node or Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium....

, which is only 1.1 square kilometre (0.424712374451789 sq mi). Despite being the smallest municipality, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode has the highest population density of the 19 with 20,822 inhabitants per km2.

Climate


Under the Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

 Brussels experiences an oceanic climate
Oceanic climate
An oceanic climate, also called marine west coast climate, maritime climate, Cascadian climate and British climate for Köppen climate classification Cfb and subtropical highland for Köppen Cfb or Cwb, is a type of climate typically found along the west coasts at the middle latitudes of some of the...

 (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 the last 100 years), there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region. Snowfall is rare, generally occurring once or twice a year.

Government




The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three Regions of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, while the French Community of Belgium
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 and the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

 do exercise, each for their part, their cultural competencies on the territory of the Region. French and Dutch are the official languages; most public services are bilingual (exceptions being education and a couple of others). The Capital Region is predominantly French-speaking—about 85–90% of the population are French-speakers (including migrants and second language speakers), and about 10–15% are native Dutch-speakers. In January 2006, of its registered inhabitants, 73.1% are Belgian nationals, 4.1% French nationals, 12.0% other EU nationals (usually expressing themselves in either French or English), 4.0% Moroccan
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

 nationals, and 6.8% other non-EU nationals.

Institutions


Because of how the federalisation was handled in Belgium, but also because the municipalities in the region did not take part in the merger that affected municipalities in the rest of Belgium in the seventies, the public institutions in Brussels offer a bewildering complexity. The complexity is more apparent in the lawbooks than in the facts, since the members of the Brussels Parliament and Government also act in other capacities, for example, as members of the council of the Brussels agglomeration or the community commissions.
One distinguishes:

Parliament




The region, with a regional parliament of 89 members (72 French-speaking, 17 Dutch-speaking, parties are organised on a linguistic basis), plus a regional government, consisting of an officially linguistically neutral, but in practice French-speaking minister-president, two French-speaking and two Dutch-speaking ministers, one Dutch-speaking secretary of state and two French-speaking secretaries of state. This parliament can enact ordinances (French: ordonnances, Dutch: ordonnanties), which have equal status as a national legislative act.
  • The agglomeration, with a council and a board, with the same membership as the organs of the Brussels Region. This is a decentralised administrative public body, assuming competences that elsewhere in Belgium are exercised by municipalities or provinces (fire brigade, waste disposal). The by-laws enacted by it do not have the status of a legislative act.

  • A bi-communitarian public authority, Common Community Commission
    Common Community Commission
    The Common Community Commission is responsible for community matters that are common to both the French Community and the Flemish Community and for institutions that fall within the competencies of the Communities but do not belong exclusively to either Community in the Brussels-Capital Region of...

     (French: Commission communautaire commune, COCOM, Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie, GGC), with a United Assembly (i.e. the members of the regional parliament) and a United Board (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 competencies of the communities: in the Brussels-Capital Region, both the French Community and the Flemish Community can exercise competencies 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
    Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish university located in Brussels, Belgium. It has two campuses referred to as Etterbeek and Jette.The university's name is sometimes abbreviated by "VUB" or translated to "Free University of Brussels"...

    ). The Common Community Commission is competent for policies aiming directly at private persons or at bilingual institutions (for example, the centra 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.

  • The Brussels Region is not a province, nor does it belong to one. Within the Region, 99% of the provincial competencies are assumed by the Brussels regional institutions. Remaining is only the governor of Brussels-Capital
    Governor of Brussels-Capital
    The Governor of the Administrative Arrondissement of Brussels-Capital has the responsibility to enforce laws concerned with public order in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium. The governor's powers are actually quite limited...

     and some aides.

  • 6 inter-municipal policing zones

  • intercommunal societies created freely by the municipalities


Also the federal state, the French Community and the Flemish Community exercise competencies on the territory of the region. 19 of the 72 French-speaking members of the Brussels Parliament are also members of the 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
Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

. Now, people voting for a Flemish party have to vote separately for 6 directly elected members of the Flemish Parliament.

Due to the multiple capacities of single members of parliament, there are parliamentarians who are at the same time members of the Brussels Parliament, members of the Assembly of the Common Community Commission, members of the Assembly of the French Community Commission, members of the Parliament of the French Community of Belgium and "community senators" in the Belgian Senate
Belgian Senate
The Belgian Senate is one of the two chambers of the bicameral Federal Parliament of Belgium, the other being the Chamber of Representatives. It is considered to be the "upper house" of the Federal Parliament.-History and future:...

. At the moment, this is the case for Mr. François Roelants du Vivier (for the Mouvement Réformateur), Mrs. Amina Derbaki Sbaï (since June 2004 for the Parti Socialiste, but beforehand, since 2003, for the Mouvement Réformateur) and Mrs Sfia Bouarfa (since 2001 for the Parti Socialiste).

In Belgian politics



Despite what its name suggests, the Brussels-Capital Region is not the capital of Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 in itself. Article 194 of the Belgian Constitution establishes that the capital of Belgium is the City of Brussels
City of Brussels
The City of Brussels is the largest municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the official capital of Belgium by law....

, a smaller municipality within the capital region that once was the city's core.

However, although the City of Brussels is the official capital, the funds allotted by the federation and region for the representative role of the capital are divided among the 19 municipalities, and some national institutions are sited in the other 18 municipalities. Thus, while only the City of Brussels itself officially carries the title of capital of Belgium, in practice the entire capital region plays this role, and the national institutions of the Belgian state are spread loosely around the region.

Seat of the French Community and Flemish Community


The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three federated regions of Belgium, alongside Wallonia and the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

. Geographically and linguistically, it is a bilingual enclave in the unilingual Flemish Region. Regions are one component of Belgium's institutions, the three communities being the other component: Brussels' inhabitants deal with either the French (speaking) Community
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 or the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

 for matters such as culture and education.

Brussels is also the capital of both the French Community of Belgium
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

 (Communauté française de Belgique in French) and of Flanders
Flanders
Flanders is the community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp...

 (Vlaanderen); all Flemish capital institutions are established here: Flemish Parliament
Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

, Flemish Government
Flemish government
The Flemish Government is the executive branch of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region. It consists of up to a maximum of eleven ministers, chosen by the Flemish Parliament...

 and its administration.
  • 2 community-specific public authorities, French Community Commission
    French Community Commission
    The Commission communautaire française is the local representative of the French-speaking authorities in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium....

     (French: Commission communautaire française or COCOF) and the Flemish Community Commission
    Flemish Community Commission
    The Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie is the local representative of the Flemish authorities in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium...

     (Dutch: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie, VGC) for the Flemings in Brussels, with an assembly (i.e. the members of parliament of the linguistic group) and a board (the ministers and secretaries of state of the linguistic group). These commissions implement policies of the French Community and the Flemish Community in the Brussels-Capital Region.

  • The French Community Commission has also another capacity: some legislative competencies of the French Community have been devolved to the Walloon Region (for the French language area of Belgium) and to the French Community Commission (for the bilingual language area). The Flemish Community, however, did the opposite; it merged the Flemish Region into the Flemish Community. 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 decree
    Decree
    A decree is a rule of law issued by a head of state , according to certain procedures . It has the force of law...

    s, which are legislative acts.

In international politics


Brussels has since World War II become the administrative centre of many international organizations. Notably the 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 Western European Union
Western European Union
The Western European Union was an international organisation tasked with implementing the Modified Treaty of Brussels , an amended version of the original 1948 Treaty of Brussels...

, World Customs Organization
World Customs Organization
The World Customs Organization is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the global customs community...

 and EUROCONTROL as well as international corporations. Brussels is third in the number of international conferences it hosts also becoming one of the largest convention centres in the world. The presence of the EU and the other international bodies has for example led to there being more ambassadors and journalists in Brussels than in Washington D.C. International schools have also been established to serve this presence. The "international community" in Brussels numbers at least 70,000 people. In 2009, there were an estimated 286 lobbying consultancies known to work in Brussels.

European Union



Brussels serves as capital of the European Union, hosting the major political institutions of the Union
Institutions of the European Union
The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

. The EU has not declared a capital formally, though the Treaty of Amsterdam formally gives Brussels the seat of the European Commission
European Commission
The European Commission is the executive body of the European Union. The body is responsible for proposing legislation, implementing decisions, upholding the Union's treaties and the general day-to-day running of the Union....

 (the executive/government branch) and the Council of the European Union
Council of the European Union
The Council of the European Union is the institution in the legislature of the European Union representing the executives of member states, the other legislative body being the European Parliament. The Council is composed of twenty-seven national ministers...

 (a legislative institution made up from leaders of member states). It locates the formal seat of European Parliament
European Parliament
The European Parliament is the directly elected parliamentary institution of the European Union . Together with the Council of the European Union and the Commission, it exercises the legislative function of the EU and it has been described as one of the most powerful legislatures in the world...

 in the French city of Strasbourg
Strasbourg
Strasbourg is the capital and principal city of the Alsace region in eastern France and is the official seat of the European Parliament. Located close to the border with Germany, it is the capital of the Bas-Rhin département. The city and the region of Alsace are historically German-speaking,...

, 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 now takes place at its Brussels hemicycle
Espace Léopold
The Espace Léopold or is the complex of parliament buildings in Brussels housing the European Parliament, a legislative chamber of the European Union ....

. Between 2002 and 2004, the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

 also fixed its seat in the city.
Brussels, along with Luxembourg
Luxembourg (city)
The city of Luxembourg , also known as Luxembourg City , is a commune with city status, and the capital of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It is located at the confluence of the Alzette and Pétrusse Rivers in southern Luxembourg...

 and Strasbourg, began to host institutions in 1957, soon becoming the centre of activities as the Commission and Council based their activities in what has become the "European Quarter
Brussels and the European Union
Brussels is considered to be the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter...

". Early building in Brussels was sporadic and uncontrolled with little planning, the current major buildings are the Berlaymont building
Berlaymont building
The Berlaymont is an office building in Brussels, Belgium that houses the headquarters of the European Commission, which is the executive of the European Union...

 of the Commission, symbolic of the quarter as a whole, the Justus Lipsius building
Justus Lipsius building
The Justus Lipsius building is a building in Brussels that has been the headquarters of the Council of the European Union since 1995. Unlike the European Parliament, visiting is restricted...

 of the Council and the Espace Léopold
Espace Léopold
The Espace Léopold or is the complex of parliament buildings in Brussels housing the European Parliament, a legislative chamber of the European Union ....

 of Parliament. Today the presence has increased considerably with the Commission alone occupying 865,000 m2 within the "European Quarter" in the east of the city (a quarter of the total office space in Brussels). The concentration and density has caused concern that the presence of the institutions has caused a "ghetto
Ghetto
A ghetto is a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group who live there, especially because of social, economic, or legal issues.The term was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. The term now refers to an overcrowded urban area often associated...

 effect" in that part of the city. However the presence has contributed significantly to the importance of Brussels as an international centre.

Demographics


On 1 May 2008, the region had a population of 1,070,841 and an area of 161,382 km2 which gives the region a population density of 6,635 inhabitants per km2.
People of Muslim background account for 25.5% of Brussels.
{| class="wikitable"
|-
! Regions of Belgium (01/01/2005) !! Total population !! People of Muslim origin !! % of Muslims
|-
| Belgium || 10,445,852 || 628,751 || 6.0%
|-
| Brussels-Capital Region|| 1,006,749 || 256,220 || 25.5%
|-
| Wallonia || 3,395,942 || 136,596 || 4.0%
|-
| Flanders || 6,043,161 || 235,935 ||3.9%

|}

At the last Belgian census in 1991, there were 63.7% inhabitants in Brussels-Capital Region who answered they were Belgian citizens, born as such in Belgium. However, there have been numerous individual or familial migrations towards Brussels since the end of the 18th century, including political refugees (Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

, Victor Hugo
Victor Hugo
Victor-Marie Hugo was a Frenchpoet, playwright, novelist, essayist, visual artist, statesman, human rights activist and exponent of the Romantic movement in France....

, Pierre Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was a member of the French Parliament, and he was the first person to call himself an "anarchist". He is considered among the most influential theorists and organisers of anarchism...

, Léon Daudet
Léon Daudet
Léon Daudet was a French journalist, writer, an active monarchist, and a member of the Académie Goncourt.-Move to the right:...

 for example,) from neighbouring or more distanced countries as well as labour migrants, former foreign students or expatriates, and many Belgian families in Brussels can claim at least one foreign grandparent. And even among the Belgians, many became Belgian only recently.

The original Dutch dialect of Brussels (Brussels) is a form of Brabantic (the variant of Dutch spoken in the ancient Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

) 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 the Dutch language. Brussels and its suburbs 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 Memelländer in interwar ethnic censuses in Memel
Klaipeda
Klaipėda is a city in Lithuania situated at the mouth of the Nemunas River where it flows into the Baltic Sea. It is the third largest city in Lithuania and the capital of Klaipėda County....

), Walloon
Walloons
Walloons are a French-speaking people who live in Belgium, principally in Wallonia. Walloons are a distinctive community within Belgium, important historical and anthropological criteria bind Walloons to the French people. More generally, the term also refers to the inhabitants of the Walloon...

 (for people who migrated from the 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 and Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

. The first language of roughly half of the inhabitants is not an official one of the Capital Region. Nevertheless, about three out of four residents are Belgian nationals.
In general the population of Brussels is younger and the gap between rich and poor is wider. Brussels also has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan ancestry, and mainly French-speaking black Africans. Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background, so exact figures are unknown, but one estimate puts the number of Muslims in Brussels at 15%.

Both immigration and the status of Brussels status as the "capital" of the EU mark its status as a cosmopolitan world city. The migrant communities, as well as rapidly growing communities of EU-nationals from other EU-member states, speak many languages like French, Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

,
Arabic
Arabic languages
The Arabic language family consists of*Classical Arabic and its descendants, including** Modern Standard Arabic and colloquial varieties of Arabic **The various Judeo-Arabic languages **Maltese...

, Berber
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

, Spanish, Catalan
Catalan language
Catalan is a Romance language, the national and only official language of Andorra and a co-official language in the Spanish autonomous communities of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencian Community, where it is known as Valencian , as well as in the city of Alghero, on the Italian island...

, Basque
Basque language
Basque is the ancestral language of the Basque people, who inhabit the Basque Country, a region spanning an area in northeastern Spain and southwestern France. It is spoken by 25.7% of Basques in all territories...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

, Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

, Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

, German, and (increasingly) English. The degree of linguistic integration varies widely within each migrant group.

Among all major migrant groups from outside the EU, a majority of the permanent residents have acquired Belgian nationality.

Although historically (since the Counter-Reformation persecution and expulsion of Protestants by the Spanish in the 16th century) Roman Catholic, most people in Brussels are non-practising. About 10% of the population regularly attends church services. Among the religions, historically dominant Roman Catholicism prevailing mostly in a relaxed way, one finds large minorities of Muslims, atheists
Atheism
Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities. In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities...

, agnosticists
Agnosticism
Agnosticism is the view that the truth value of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, but also other religious and metaphysical claims—is unknown or unknowable....

, and of the philosophical school of humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

, the latter mainly as laïcité-vrijzinnig (an approximate translation would be secularists or free thinkers) or practicing Humanism as a life stance
Life stance
A person's life stance, or lifestance, is their relation with what they accept as being of ultimate importance, the presuppositions and theory of this, and the commitments and practice of working it out in living....

—Brussels houses several key organisations for both kinds. Other (recognised) religions (Protestantism, Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

, Orthodoxy
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and Judaism) are practised by much smaller groups in Brussels. Recognised religions and Laïcité
Laïcité
French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

enjoy public funding and school courses: every pupil in an official school from 6 years old to 18 must choose 2 hours per week of compulsory religion—or Laïcité—inspired morals.

Languages


Since the founding of the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830, Brussels has transformed from being almost entirely Dutch-speaking
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 (Brabantian
Brabantian
Brabantian or Brabantish, also Brabantic , is a dialect group of the Dutch language. It is named after the historical Duchy of Brabant which corresponded mainly to the Dutch province of North Brabant, the Belgian provinces of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant, as well as the institutional Region of...

 to be exact), to being a multilingual city with French (specifically Belgian French
Belgian French
Belgian French is the variety of French spoken mainly in the French Community of Belgium, alongside related minority regional languages such as Walloon, Picard, Champenois and Gaumais. The French spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi, which were formerly Belgian...

) as the majority language and lingua franca
Lingua franca
A lingua franca is a language systematically used to make communication possible between people not sharing a mother tongue, in particular when it is a third language, distinct from both mother tongues.-Characteristics:"Lingua franca" is a functionally defined term, independent of the linguistic...

. This language shift, the Frenchification of Brussels
Frenchification of Brussels
The Frenchification of Brussels is the transformation of Brussels, Belgium, from a Dutch-speaking city to one that is bilingual or even multilingual, with French as both the majority language and lingua franca...

, is rooted in the 18th century and accelerated after Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 became independent
Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium....

 and Brussels expanded past its original boundaries.
Not only French-speaking immigration contributed to the Frenchification of Brussels; a more important cause was the language change over several generations from Dutch to French that was performed in Brussels by the Flemish people
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 themselves. The main reason for this was the political, administrative and social pressure, partly based on the low social prestige of the Dutch language in Belgium at the time. From 1880 on, more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over the mostly bilingual Flemish inhabitants.

Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border and the socio-economic development of Flanders was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use. Through immigration, a further number of formerly Dutch-speaking municipalities in surrounding Flanders became majority French-speaking in the second half of the 20th century. This phenomenon is, together with the future of Brussels, one of the most controversial topics in all of Belgian politics.

Given its Dutch-speaking origins and the role that Brussels plays as the capital city in a bilingual country, Flemish political parties demand that the entire Brussels-Capital Region be fully bilingual, including its subdivisions and public services. They also demand that the contested Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde
Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde
Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde is a Belgian electoral and judicial arrondissement in the center of the country, encompassing:* the officially bilingual Brussels-Capital Region, which coincides...

 arrondissement will be separated from the Brussels region. However, the French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial and demands the extension of the bilingual region to at least all six municipalities with language facilities in the surroundings of Brussels. Flemish politicians have strongly rejected these proposals.

Architecture



The architecture in Brussels is diverse, and spans from the medieval constructions on the Grand Place
Grand Place
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse . The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels, along with the Atomium and Manneken Pis...

 to the postmodern
Postmodernism
Postmodernism is a philosophical movement evolved in reaction to modernism, the tendency in contemporary culture to accept only objective truth and to be inherently suspicious towards a global cultural narrative or meta-narrative. Postmodernist thought is an intentional departure from the...

 buildings of the EU institutions
Brussels and the European Union
Brussels is considered to be the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter...

.

Main attractions include the Grand Place
Grand Place
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse . The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels, along with the Atomium and Manneken Pis...

, since 1988 a UNESCO World Heritage Site
World Heritage Site
A UNESCO World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by the UNESCO as of special cultural or physical significance...

, with the Gothic town hall in the old centre, the St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral
The St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church at the Treurenberg hill in Brussels, Belgium. In French, it is called Cathédrale Saints-Michel-et-Gudule and in Dutch Sint-Michiels- en Sint-Goedelekathedraal, usually shortened to "Sint-Goedele".In 1047, Lambert II, Count of...

 and the Laken Castle
Royal Castle of Laken
The Royal Castle of Laeken is the official residence of the King of the Belgians.-History:...

 with its large greenhouses. Another famous landmark is the Royal Palace.

The Atomium
Atomium
The Atomium is a monument in Brussels, originally built for Expo '58, the 1958 Brussels World's Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it stands 102 metres tall...

 is a symbolic 103 metres (338 ft) tall structure that was built for the 1958 World’s Fair
Expo '58
Expo 58, also known as the Brussels World’s Fair, Brusselse Wereldtentoonstelling or Exposition Universelle et Internationale de Bruxelles, was held from 17 April to 19 October 1958...

. It consists of nine steel spheres connected by tubes, and forms a model of an iron crystal (specifically, a unit cell). The architect A. Waterkeyn devoted the building to science. Next to the Atomium is the Mini-Europe
Mini-Europe
-See also:* Madurodam — Model village in Netherlands containing miniature famous Dutch landmarks* Catalunya en Miniatura — miniature park located 17 km away from Barcelona, with an exhibition area of 35.000 m2 including all major buildings of Catalonia and of Antoni Gaudí* Bekonscot...

 park with 1:25 scale maquette
Maquette
A maquette is a small scale model or rough draft of an unfinished architectural work or a sculpture...

s of famous buildings from across Europe.

The Manneken Pis
Manneken Pis
, is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619...

, a bronze sculpture and fountain of a youth urinating is a tourist attraction and symbol of the city.

Other landmarks include the Cinquantenaire park
Cinquantenaire
Parc du Cinquantenaire or Jubelpark is a large public, urban park in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium....

 with its triumphal arch and nearby museums, the Basilica of the Sacred Heart
Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Belgium
The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart is a Roman Catholic Minor Basilica and parish church in Brussels. The church was dedicated to the Sacred Heart, inspired by the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur in Paris. Symbolically King Leopold II laid the first stone of the basilica in 1905 during the...

, Brussels Stock Exchange
Brussels Stock Exchange
The Brussels Stock Exchange was founded in Brussels, Belgium, by Napoleonic decree in 1801. On September 22, 2000, the BSE merged with Paris Bourse, Lisbon Stock Exchange and the stock exchanges of Amsterdam, to form Euronext N.V., the first pan-European exchange for equities and derivatives,...

, the Palace of Justice
Law Courts of Brussels
The Law Courts of Brussels or Brussels Palace of Justice is the most important Court building in Belgium, and is a notable landmark of Brussels. It was built between 1866 and 1883 in the eclectic style by architect Joseph Poelaert...

 and the buildings of EU institutions in the European Quarter
Brussels and the European Union
Brussels is considered to be the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter...

.
Cultural facilities include the Brussels Theatre and the La Monnaie
La Monnaie
Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie , or the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg is a theatre in Brussels, Belgium....

 Theatre and opera house. There is a wide array of museums, from the Royal Museum of Fine Art
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium , is one of the most famous museums in Belgium.-The museum:...

 to the Museum of the Army
Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History
The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History The Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History (or simply the Royal Military Museum (RRM) is a museum that occupies the two northernmost halls of the historic complex in...

 and the Comic Museum. Brussels also has a lively music scene, with everything from opera houses and concert halls to music bars and techno clubs.

The city centre is notable for its Flemish town houses. Also particularly striking are the buildings in the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 style by the Brussels architect Victor Horta
Victor Horta
Victor, Baron Horta was a Belgian architect and designer. John Julius Norwich described him as "undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect." Indeed, Horta is one of the most important names in Art Nouveau architecture; the construction of his Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1892-3 means that...

. Some of Brussels' districts were developed during the heyday of Art Nouveau, and many buildings are in this style. Good examples include Schaerbeek, Etterbeek
Etterbeek
Etterbeek is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It neighbours the municipalities of the City of Brussels, Ixelles, Auderghem, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Schaerbeek....

, Ixelles, and Saint-Gilles
Saint-Gilles, Belgium
Saint-Gilles or Sint-Gillis is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.Saint-Gilles has a multicultural identity stemming from its diverse population...

. Another example of Brussels Art Nouveau is the Stoclet Palace, by the Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann
Josef Hoffmann was an Austrian architect and designer of consumer goods.- Biography :...

. The modern buildings of Espace Leopold
Espace Léopold
The Espace Léopold or is the complex of parliament buildings in Brussels housing the European Parliament, a legislative chamber of the European Union ....

 complete the picture.


Arts


The city has had a renowned artist scene for many years. The famous Belgian surrealist René Magritte
René Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte[p] was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images...

, for instance, studied in Brussels. The city was also home of Impressionist painters like Anna Boch
Anna Boch
Anna Rosalie Boch was a Belgian painter, born in Saint-Vaast, Hainaut. Anna Boch died in Ixelles in 1936 and is interred there in the Ixelles Cemetery, Brussels, Belgium.-Artistic style:...

 from the Artist Group Les XX
Les XX
Les XX was a group of twenty Belgian painters, designers and sculptors, formed in 1883 by the Brussels lawyer, publisher, and entrepreneur Octave Maus. For ten years 'Les Vingt' , as they called themselves, held an annual exhibition of their art; each year twenty international artists were also...

. The city is also a capital of the comic strip; some treasured Belgian characters are Lucky Luke
Lucky Luke
Lucky Luke is a Belgian comics series created by Belgian cartoonist, Maurice De Bevere better known as Morris, the original artist, and was for one period written by René Goscinny...

, Tintin
Tintin (character)
Tintin is a fictional character in The Adventures of Tintin, the series of classic Belgian comic books written and illustrated by Hergé. Tintin is the protagonist of the series, a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy....

, Cubitus
Cubitus
Cubitus is a Franco-Belgian comics series, and the basis for the Wowser cartoon series appearing in the United States. Cubitus was created by the cartoonist Dupa, and features Cubitus, a large anthropomorphic dog, who lives with his owner Semaphore...

, Gaston Lagaffe
Gaston Lagaffe
Gaston is a comic strip created in 1957 by the Belgian cartoonist André Franquin in the comic strip magazine, Spirou. The series focuses on the every-day life of Gaston Lagaffe, a lazy and accident-prone office junior...

 and Marsupilami
Marsupilami
Marsupilami is a fictional comic book species created by André Franquin, first published on 31 January 1952 in the magazine Spirou. Since then it appeared regularly in the popular Belgian comic book series Spirou et Fantasio until Franquin stopped working on the series in 1968 and the character...

. Throughout the city, walls are painted with large motifs of comic book characters. The totality of all these mural paintings is known as the Brussels' Comic Book Route
Brussels' Comic Book Route
The Brussels' Comic Book Route is a path composed by several comic strip murals which deck the walls of several buildings throughout the inner city of Brussels as well as the neighborhoods of Laeken and Auderghem...

. Also, the interiors of some Metro stations are designed by artists. The Belgian Comics Museum 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
Victor, Baron Horta was a Belgian architect and designer. John Julius Norwich described him as "undoubtedly the key European Art Nouveau architect." Indeed, Horta is one of the most important names in Art Nouveau architecture; the construction of his Hôtel Tassel in Brussels in 1892-3 means that...

 in the Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international philosophy and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that were most popular during 1890–1910. The name "Art Nouveau" is French for "new art"...

 style.

Brussels contains over 80 museums, including the Museum of Modern Art, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium , is one of the most famous museums in Belgium.-The museum:...

. The museum has an extensive collection of various painters, such as the Flemish painters
Flemish painting
Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence...

 like Bruegel, Rogier van der Weyden, Robert Campin
Robert Campin
Robert Campin , now usually identified as the artist known as the Master of Flémalle, is usually considered the first great master of Early Netherlandish painting...

, Anthony van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

, and Jacob Jordaens
Jacob Jordaens
Jacob Jordaens was one of three Flemish Baroque painters, along with Peter Paul Rubens and Anthony van Dyck, to bring prestige to the Antwerp school of painting. Unlike those contemporaries he never traveled abroad to study Italian painting, and his career is marked by an indifference to their...

. The recently opened Magritte Museum houses the world's largest collection of the works of the surrealist René Magritte
René Magritte
René François Ghislain Magritte[p] was a Belgian surrealist artist. He became well known for a number of witty and thought-provoking images...

.

The King Baudouin Stadium
King Baudouin Stadium
The King Baudouin Stadium is a sports ground in north-west Brussels, Belgium. It was inaugurated on 23 August 1930 as the Stade du Jubilé or Jubelstadion in the presence of Prince Leopold. It was built to embellish the Heysel plateau in view of the Brussels International Exposition...

 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.

Brussels is well known for its performing arts scene, with the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Kaaitheater and La Monnaie
La Monnaie
Le Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie , or the Koninklijke Muntschouwburg is a theatre in Brussels, Belgium....

 among the most notable institutions.

Gastronomy



Brussels is known for its local waffle
Waffle
A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used....

, its chocolate, its French fries
French fries
French fries , chips, fries, or French-fried potatoes are strips of deep-fried potato. North Americans tend to refer to any pieces of deep-fried potatoes as fries or French fries, while in the United Kingdom, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand, long, thinly cut slices of deep-fried potatoes are...

 and its numerous types of beers. The Brussels sprout
Brussels sprout
The Brussels sprout is a cultivar of wild cabbage grown for its edible buds. The leafy green vegetables are typically 2.5–4 cm in diameter and look like miniature cabbages. The sprout is Brassica oleracea, in the "gemmifera" group of the family Brassicaceae...

 was first cultivated in Brussels, hence its name.

The gastronomic offer includes approximately 1,800 restaurants, and a number of high quality bars. Belgian cuisine is known among connoisseurs as one of the best in Europe. In addition to the traditional restaurants, there is 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 the Salons de Thé. Also widespread are brasseries, which usually offer a large number of beers and typical national dishes.

Belgian cuisine is characterised by the combination of French cuisine
French cuisine
French cuisine is a style of food preparation originating from France that has developed from centuries of social change. In the Middle Ages, Guillaume Tirel , a court chef, authored Le Viandier, one of the earliest recipe collections of Medieval France...

 with the more hearty Flemish fare. Notable specialities include 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
Chocolatier Neuhaus
Neuhaus is a manufacturer of luxury Belgian chocolates, biscuits and ice cream. The company was founded in Brussels in 1857 by Jean Neuhaus, a Swiss immigrant, who opened the first store in the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert. In 1912, his grandson, Jean Neuhaus II, invented the chocolate bonbon or...

, Leonidas
Leonidas (chocolate maker)
Leonidas Confiserie SA is a chocolate producer with an international presence, based in Belgium. The company's focus is pralines ; it also sells marzipan, solid chocolates, and other confections...

 and Godiva. 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
Belgian beer
Beer in Belgium varies from pale lager to lambic beer and Flemish red. There are approximately 178 breweries in the country, ranging from international giants to microbreweries..-History:...

, the famous lambic
Lambic
Lambic is a very distinctive type of beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery and museum...

 style of beer is only brewed in and around Brussels, and the yeasts have their origin in the Senne
Senné
Senné is a village and municipality in the Veľký Krtíš District of the Banská Bystrica Region of southern Slovakia.-External links:*http://www.statistics.sk/mosmis/eng/run.html...

 valley. In mild contrast to the other versions, Kriek
Kriek
Kriek is a style of Belgian beer, made by fermenting lambic with sour Morello cherries. The name is derived from the Dutch word for this type of cherry . Traditionally "Schaarbeekse krieken" from the area around Brussels are used...

 (cherry beer) enjoys outstanding popularity, as it does in the rest of Belgium. Kriek is available in almost every bar or restaurant.

Economy




Serving as the centre of administration for Europe, Brussels' economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various administrations, and by related services, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery
Cantillon Brewery
Cantillon Brewery is a small Belgian traditional family brewery based in Brussels and founded in 1900. Although it has been managed by the Van Roy family after the last Cantillon left it to his son-in-law Jean-Pierre Van Roy, the name Cantillon has been kept.- Overview :Cantillon Brewery brews...

, a lambic
Lambic
Lambic is a very distinctive type of beer brewed only in the Pajottenland region of Belgium and in Brussels itself at the Cantillon Brewery and museum...

 brewery founded in 1900.

Education



There are several universities
University
A university is an institution of higher education and research, which grants academic degrees in a variety of subjects. A university is an organisation that provides both undergraduate education and postgraduate education...

 in Brussels. The two main universities are the Université Libre de Bruxelles
Université Libre de Bruxelles
The Université libre de Bruxelles is a French-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium. It has 21,000 students, 29% of whom come from abroad, and an equally cosmopolitan staff.-Name:...

, a French-speaking university with about 20,000 students in three campuses in the city (and two others outside), and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
The Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a Flemish university located in Brussels, Belgium. It has two campuses referred to as Etterbeek and Jette.The university's name is sometimes abbreviated by "VUB" or translated to "Free University of Brussels"...

, a Dutch-speaking
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 university with about 10,000 students. Both universities originate from a single ancestor university founded in 1834, namely the Free 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.

Other universities include the Facultés Universitaires Saint-Louis
Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis
The Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis in Brussels, Belgium is a public university in the French Community of Belgium. Its official language is French...

 with 2,000 students, the Hogeschool-Universiteit Brussel, the Royal Military Academy
Royal Military Academy (Belgium)
The Royal Military Academy is the military university of Belgium. The school is responsible for the education of the officers of the four components of the Belgian defence . The school is located in Brussels in a building construct by the architects Henri Maquet and Henri Van Dievoet...

, a military college established in 1834 by a French colonel and two drama schools founded in 1982: the French-speaking Conservatoire Royal and the Dutch-speaking
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 Koninklijk Conservatorium.

Still other universities have campuses in Brussels, such as the Université Catholique de Louvain
Université catholique de Louvain
The Université catholique de Louvain, sometimes known, especially in Belgium, as UCL, is Belgium's largest French-speaking university. It is located in Louvain-la-Neuve and in Brussels...

 that has had its medical faculty in the city since 1973. In addition, the University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies
Brussels School of International Studies
The University of Kent's The Brussels School of International Studies is a specialised postgraduate school offering international studies in Brussels, Belgium. Students benefit from the advantages of a degree from a British university offered by its location in the 'Capital of Europe'...

 is a specialised postgraduate school offering advanced international studies and Boston University Brussels
Boston University Brussels
Boston University Brussels, officially named the Boston University Brussels Graduate Center, and also known as BUB, is part of Boston University's Metropolitan College , one of seventeen degree granting colleges that make up Boston University...

 was established in 1972 and offers masters degrees in business administration and international relations. Due to the post-war international presence in the city, there are also a number of international schools, including the International School of Brussels
International School of Brussels
The International School of Brussels is an English-language international school that provides an international education to over 1500 students aged 2 ½ to 19 from 62 countries. The secure campus lies in the Brussels commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, about 9 kilometres southeast of the city...

 with 1,450 pupils between 2½ and 18, the British School of Brussels, and the four European School
European School
The European Schools are co-educational schools providing nursery, primary and secondary. They are established to provide free education for children of personnel of the European Institutions and leading to the European Baccalaureate. Other children may be admitted subject to the availability of...

s, which provide free education for the children of those working in the EU institutions
Institutions of the European Union
The European Union is governed by seven institutions. Article 13 of Treaty on European Union lists them in the following order: the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the Court of Justice of the European Union, the European...

. The combined student population of the four European School
European School
The European Schools are co-educational schools providing nursery, primary and secondary. They are established to provide free education for children of personnel of the European Institutions and leading to the European Baccalaureate. Other children may be admitted subject to the availability of...

s in Brussels is currently around 10 000.

Transport

main article: Transport in Brussels
Transport in Brussels
Transport in Brussels can be made by means of many private or public transportation means. Private transportation means include bicycle, car and taxi, which use the public network of roads in Brussels, as well as boat transport using the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal and the Brussels-Charleroi...


Air


Brussels is served by Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport
Brussels Airport is an international airport northeast of Brussels, Belgium. The airport is partially in Zaventem and partially in the Diegem area of Machelen, both located in the Flemish Region of Belgium.Brussels Airport currently consists of 54 contact gates, and a total of 109 gates...

, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of Zaventem
Zaventem
Zaventem is a municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. The municipality comprises the towns of Nossegem, Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, Sterrebeek and Zaventem proper. On January 1, 2006 Zaventem had a total population of 28,651...

, and by the smaller Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located near Charleroi
Charleroi
Charleroi is a city and a municipality of Wallonia, located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium. , the total population of Charleroi was 201,593. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of and had a total population of 522,522 as of 1 January 2008, ranking it as...

 (Wallonia), some 50 km (31.1 mi) from Brussels. Brussels is also served by direct high-speed rail links: to London by the Eurostar
Eurostar
Eurostar is a high-speed railway service connecting London with Paris and Brussels. All its trains traverse the Channel Tunnel between England and France, owned and operated separately by Eurotunnel....

 train via the Channel Tunnel (1hr 51 min); to Amsterdam, Paris (1hr 25 min) and Cologne by the Thalys
Thalys
Thalys is an international high-speed train operator originally built around the high-speed line between Paris and Brussels. This track is shared with Eurostar trains that go from Paris or Brussels to London via Lille and the Channel Tunnel and with French domestic TGV trains. Thalys reaches...

; and to Cologne and Frankfurt by the German ICE
InterCityExpress
The Intercity-Express or ICE is a system of high-speed trains predominantly running in Germany and neighbouring countries. It is the highest service category offered by DB Fernverkehr and is the flagship of Deutsche Bahn...

.

Water


Brussels also has its own port on the Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal
Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal
The Brussels–Scheldt Maritime Canal, also named the Willebroek Canal, is a canal in Belgium linking Brussels with the river Scheldt. The canal was known as the Brussels-Rupel Maritime Canal, prior to the establishment of a direct link with the Scheldt in 1997.The canal is one of the oldest...

 located in the northwest of the city. The Brussels-Charleroi Canal
Brussels-Charleroi Canal
The Brussels–Charleroi Canal, also known as the Charleroi Canal amongst other similar names, is an important canal in Belgium. The canal is quite large, with a Class IV Freycinet gauge, and its Wallonian portion is long. It runs from Charleroi in the south to Brussels in the north...

 connects Brussels with the industrial areas of Wallonia.

Public transport


The Brussels Metro
Brussels Metro
The Brussels Metro is a rapid transit system serving a large part of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It consists of a network with four metro line services with some shared sections. The metro has 49.9 km of network and 59 stations...

 dates back to 1976, but underground lines known as premetro have been serviced by tramways since 1968. A comprehensive bus and tram network
Brussels trams
The Brussels tram system is one of the ten largest in the world, carrying some 75.6 million passengers in 2009. Its development demonstrates many of the quandaries that face local public transport planners...

 also covers the city.

An interticketing system means that a STIB
Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company
The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company is the local public transport operator in Brussels, Belgium...

 ticket holder can use the train or long-distance buses inside the city. The commuter services operated by De Lijn
De Lijn
Vlaamse Vervoersmaatschappij De Lijn , usually known as simply De Lijn , is a company run by the Flemish government in Belgium to provide public transportation, similar to the way in which Belgian railroads or the postal system is run. It runs about 3650 buses and 359 trams...

, TEC
TEC (transport)
Société Régionale Wallonne du Transport , is responsible for the supervision, strategic planning and marketing of a group of five regional public transport companies branded as TEC or "Transport En Commun" in Wallonia, Belgium. It is primarily a bus operator, but also operates the Charleroi tram...

 and SNCB/NMBS will in the next few years be augmented by the Brussels RER
Brussels RER
The Brussels RER is a rapid transit system under construction in Belgium. It will offer fast connections and increased frequency within 30km of Brussels, covering a territory inhabited by 2.5 million people.-Overview:...

 network around the city.

Since 2003 Brussels has had a car-sharing service operated by the Bremen
Bremen
The City Municipality of Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany. A commercial and industrial city with a major port on the river Weser, Bremen is part of the Bremen-Oldenburg metropolitan area . Bremen is the second most populous city in North Germany and tenth in Germany.Bremen is...

 company Cambio in partnership with the STIB
Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company
The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company is the local public transport operator in Brussels, Belgium...

 and local ridesharing company taxi stop. In 2006 shared bicycles were also introduced.

Road network



In medieval times 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
Grand Place
The Grand Place or Grote Markt is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by guildhalls, the city's Town Hall, and the Breadhouse . The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels, along with the Atomium and Manneken Pis...

 in large part remains, but has been overlaid by boulevards built over the River Senne
Covering of the Senne
The covering of the Senne was one of the defining events in the history of Brussels. The Senne/Zenne was historically the main waterway of Brussels, but it became more polluted and less navigable as the city grew. By the second half of the 19th century, it had become a serious health hazard and...

, over the city walls
Small ring (Brussels)
The Brussels small ring or inner ring road is a series of roadways in central Brussels, Belgium, surrounding the historic city centre. It was built on the site of the Second walls of Brussels, built in the 16th century, after they were torn down....

 and over the railway connection between the North and South Stations.

As one expects of a capital city, Brussels is the hub of the fan of old national roads, the principal ones being clockwise the N1 (N to Breda
Breda
Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

), N2 (E to Maastricht
Maastricht
Maastricht is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border...

), N3 (E to Aachen
Aachen
Aachen has historically been a spa town in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen was a favoured residence of Charlemagne, and the place of coronation of the Kings of Germany. Geographically, Aachen is the westernmost town of Germany, located along its borders with Belgium and the Netherlands, ...

), N4 (SE to Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

) N5 (S to Rheims), N6 (SW to Maubeuge
Maubeuge
Maubeuge is a commune in the Nord department in northern France.It is situated on both banks of the Sambre , east of Valenciennes and about from the Belgian border.-History:...

), N8 (W to Koksijde
Koksijde
Koksijde is a municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders on the North Sea coast, at the southwest side. It comprises the towns of Koksijde proper, Oostduinkerke, St-Idesbald and Wulpen.-Statistics:...

) and N9 (NW to Ostend
Ostend
Ostend  is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. It comprises the boroughs of Mariakerke , Stene and Zandvoorde, and the city of Ostend proper – the largest on the Belgian coast....

). Usually named chaussées/steenwegen, these highways normally run in a straight line, but on occasion lose themselves in a maze of narrow shopping streets.

The town is skirted by the European route E19
European route E19
European route E 19 is long European route. Its route begins in the Netherlands, and ends in France, via Belgium. Cities it passes en route include:* Netherlands: Amsterdam - Den Haag - Rijswijk - Rotterdam - Breda...

 (N-S) and the E40
European route E40
European route E 40 is the longest European route, more than long, connecting Calais in France via Belgium, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kyrgyzstan, with Ridder in Kazakhstan near the border to China....

 (E-W), while the E411 leads away to the SE. Brussels has an orbital motorway, numbered R0 (R-zero) and commonly referred to as the "ring" (French: ring Dutch: grote 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
Small ring (Brussels)
The Brussels small ring or inner ring road is a series of roadways in central Brussels, Belgium, surrounding the historic city centre. It was built on the site of the Second walls of Brussels, built in the 16th century, after they were torn down....

" (French: petite ceinture, Dutch: kleine ring ), a sequence of boulevards formally numbered R20. These were built upon the site of the second set of city walls
Second walls of Brussels
There were two stages of fortifications of Brussels, the first walls, built in the early 13th century, and the second walls, built in the late 14th century and later upgraded. Today, only a few sections of either remain.-First walls:...

 following their demolition. Metro line 2 runs under much of these.

On the eastern side of the city, the R21 (French: grande ceinture
Greater ring (Brussels)
The Greater Ring in Brussels, Belgium is a set of roads in the shape of a ring, intermediate between the small ring and the main Brussels ring...

, grote ring in Dutch) is formed by a string of boulevards that curves round from Laeken (Laken
Laken
Laeken or Laken is a residential suburb in north-west Brussels in Belgium...

) to Uccle (Ukkel). Some premetro stations (see Brussels Metro
Brussels Metro
The Brussels Metro is a rapid transit system serving a large part of the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It consists of a network with four metro line services with some shared sections. The metro has 49.9 km of network and 59 stations...

) were built on that route. A little further out, a stretch numbered R22 leads from Zaventem to Saint-Job.


Twin towns – Sister cities


Brussels is twinned
Town twinning
Twin towns and sister cities are two of many terms used to describe the cooperative agreements between towns, cities, and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas to promote cultural and commercial ties.- Terminology :...

 with the following cities:
Akhisar
Akhisar
Akhisar is a county district and its town center in Manisa Province in the Aegean region of Western Turkey...

, Turkey Atlanta, United States Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, China (since 1994) Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

, Germany Breda
Breda
Breda is a municipality and a city in the southern part of the Netherlands. The name Breda derived from brede Aa and refers to the confluence of the rivers Mark and Aa. As a fortified city, the city was of strategic military and political significance...

, Netherlands Kiev
Kiev
Kiev or Kyiv is the capital and the largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population as of the 2001 census was 2,611,300. However, higher numbers have been cited in the press....

, Ukraine Kinshasa
Kinshasa
Kinshasa is the capital and largest city of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The city is located on the Congo River....

, Democratic Republic of the Congo Ljubljana
Ljubljana
Ljubljana is the capital of Slovenia and its largest city. It is the centre of the City Municipality of Ljubljana. It is located in the centre of the country in the Ljubljana Basin, and is a mid-sized city of some 270,000 inhabitants...

, Slovenia
Macau
Macau
Macau , also spelled Macao , is, along with Hong Kong, one of the two special administrative regions of the People's Republic of China...

, China Madrid
Madrid
Madrid is the capital and largest city of Spain. The population of the city is roughly 3.3 million and the entire population of the Madrid metropolitan area is calculated to be 6.271 million. It is the third largest city in the European Union, after London and Berlin, and its metropolitan...

, Spain Montreal
Montreal
Montreal is a city in Canada. It is the largest city in the province of Quebec, the second-largest city in Canada and the seventh largest in North America...

, Canada Moscow
Moscow
Moscow is the capital, the most populous city, and the most populous federal subject of Russia. The city is a major political, economic, cultural, scientific, religious, financial, educational, and transportation centre of Russia and the continent...

, Russia Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

, Czech Republic Sofia
Sofia
Sofia is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria and the 12th largest city in the European Union with a population of 1.27 million people. It is located in western Bulgaria, at the foot of Mount Vitosha and approximately at the centre of the Balkan Peninsula.Prehistoric settlements were excavated...

, Bulgaria Tirana
Tirana
Tirana is the capital and the largest city of Albania. Modern Tirana was founded as an Ottoman town in 1614 by Sulejman Bargjini, a local ruler from Mullet, although the area has been continuously inhabited since antiquity. Tirana became Albania's capital city in 1920 and has a population of over...

, Albania Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, United States


See also


  • Outline of Belgium
    Outline of Belgium
    The Kingdom of Belgium is a sovereign country located in northwest Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts its headquarters, as well as those of other major international organizations, including NATO...

  • Brussels Regional Investment Company
    Brussels Regional Investment Company
    The Brussels Regional Investment Company was founded by the Brussels-Capital Region in 1984 to provide capital to the Brussels-Capital Region industry...



External links