Brussels is more than a 1000 years old. Today the name Brussels stands for an agglomeration of 19 communes forming one of the three Regions of the federal Belgian state; the capital of the Kingdom of Belgium; the headquarters of the French and Flemish Communities.
Brussels also has an important international vocation : as the European capital the city is home to the European Commission and to the Council of ministers of the European Union (EU).
Brussels is the bilingual capital of Belgium. This means that both French and Dutch are the official languages of the city. Street names and traffic sings are always in these two languages. Furthermore, it is a cosmopolitan city where many different cultures live together and where different languages can be heard on each street. This liveliness and international flair is, of course, intimately related to its role as a crossroads for all of Europe.
The same variety and contrast can also be found in the different architectural styles that can be found in Brussels, the former capital of the medieval Duchy of Brabant. Gothic cathedrals and churches are next to – and sometimes in stark contrast with – gracious classical facades like the buildings around the Royal Square (Place Royale – Koningsplein), or beautiful art nouveau and art deco houses.
The heart of Brussels and the place to start getting to know the city is the Grand’Place (Grote Markt). This historic market square with its splendid guild houses and the impressive Gothic beauty of the Town Hall, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe.
Brussels in Belgium is considered the de facto capital of the European Union, having a long history of hosting the institutions of the European Union within its European Quarter. The EU has no official capital, and no plans to declare one, but Brussels hosts the official seats of the European Commission, Council of the European Union, and European Council, as well as a seat (officially the second seat but de facto the most important one) of the European Parliament.
Considered the most beautiful place on earth, is an authentic masterpiece, a real museum at open sky. Here people like Karl Marx and Victor Hugo were discussing about the destinies of the people with a refreshing beer on table, people like the Counts of Egmont and Hornes were decapitated after fighting for the liberty of trade and religions. It’s the kind of place when you arrive you say “wow”, the first thing to do is to take a picture or a selfie because you are afraid the wind or the bombing of Louis XIV will destroy this marvelous lace forever.
The Atomium is a building in Brussels originally constructed for Expo 58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m (335 ft) tall. Its nine 18 m (59 ft) diameter stainless steel clad spheres are connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. It is a museum.
Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the centre. They enclose escalators and a lift to allow access to the five habitable spheres which contain exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. CNN named it Europe’s most bizarre building.
We can find a lot different building with the possibility to visit all of them: the Mini Europe, which represents all Europe’s buildings in mini size, the Océade where children can go to swim, the King Baldovin Stadium, a sad page for the international football because in 1985 39 people died during the final match of the Champions League.
Parc du Cinquantenaire (French for “Park of the Fiftieth Anniversary”) or Jubelpark (Dutch for “Jubilee Park”, pronounced) is a large public, urban park (30 hectares) in the easternmost part of the European Quarter in Brussels, Belgium.
Most buildings of the U-shaped complex which dominate the park were commissioned by the Belgian government under the patronage of King Leopold II for the 1880 National Exhibition commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of Belgian independence. During successive exhibitions in the same area, additional structures were added. The centerpiece triumphal arch was erected in 1905 replacing a previous temporary version of the arcade by Gédéon Bordiau. The structures were built in iron, glass and stone, symbolising the economic and industrial performance of Belgium. The surrounding 30-hectare park esplanade was full of picturesque gardens, ponds and waterfalls. It housed several trade fairs, exhibitions and festivals at the beginning of the century. In 1930 the government decided to reserve Cinquantenaire for use as a leisure park.
A large gamma of old fashioned car from the 50’s, 60’s and other times, with the best brands and marks like Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche and many others.
MUSEUM OF WAR
An incredible stock of fighting and civilian aircrafts and others weapons, here we can admire the F-16 Falcon Fighters sold from the USAF to the Belgian Air Army.
The 61 cm tall bronze statue on the corner of Rue de l’Etuve and Rue des Grands Carmes was made in 1619 by Brussels sculptor Hieronimus Duquesnoy the Elder, father of the more famous François Duquesnoy. The figure has been repeatedly stolen: the current statue dates from 1965. The original restored version is kept at the Maison du Roi/Broodhuis on the Grand Place. However, the one we can see in the square pissing it’s just a fake because the Nazis have stolen him already, so is inside the Maison du Roi in the Grand’Place.
It was commissioned by Denis-Adrien Debouvrie in 1985 and erected in 1987. The half-metre-high statue of blue-grey limestone depicts a little girl with her hair in short pigtails, squatting and urinating. Let’s say she’s the little sister of the Manneken!
LE CHIEN QUI PISSE
Yes, you are right, it’s a pissing city. As you can see even the dog couldn’t resist the temptation of the super refreshing beers the city offers to his citizens.
SAINT MICHAEL’S CATHEDRAL
A chapel dedicated to St. Michael was probably built on the Treurenberg hill as early as the 9th century. In the 11th century it was replaced by a Romanesque church. In 1047, Lambert II, Count of Leuven founded a chapter in this church and organized the transportation of the relics of the martyr St. Gudula, housed before then in Saint Gaugericus Church on Saint-Géry Island. The patron saints of the church, St. Michael and St. Gudula, are also the patron saints of the city of Brussels.
In the thirteenth century, Henry I, Duke of Brabant ordered two round towers to be added to the church. Henry II, Duke of Brabant instructed the building of a Gothic collegiate church in 1226. The choir was constructed between 1226 and 1276. It took about 300 years to complete the entire church. It was completed just before the reign of the emperor Charles V commenced in 1519.
It’s usually the place where kings and queens celebrates marriage and funerals.
The Art Nouveau Bing started in a art’s store in Paris, beginning 20th century, however before we had Arthur Lasemby Liberty, the one which with William Morris started to improve and modify house objects from Japan to become the new style of the new century. Of course the highest representation of Art Nouveau we have it with Victor Horta.
Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon Church (Dutch: Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ten Zavel, French: Église Notre-Dame du Sablon) is a Catholic church from the 15th century located in the Sablon district in the historic centre of Brussels, which was patronized by the nobility and wealthy citizens of Brussels. It is characterized by its late Brabantine Gothic exterior and rich interior decoration including two Baroque chapels.
Inside the Chapel of Saint Ursula we can find the tomb of one important family of the 16th century, The Princely House of Thurn and Taxis (German: das Fürstenhaus Thurn und Taxis) is a German noble family that was a key player in the postal services in Europe in the 16th century and is well known as owners of breweries and builders of many castles.
The Counts of Egmont and Horns, killed by The Duke of Dawn during the religions wars between the Spain and the Spanish Netherlands. They are represented as heroes which fought for freedom against the Spanish crown.
ESTAMINETS AND BRAWERIES
The word estaminet, it’s typical from Belgium (stam: family in dutch), these small bars/restaurants used to be a central place for farmers, mine or textile workers to meet and socialize. Alongside the usual beverages (beers and liquors), one could order basic regional dishes, as well as play various indoor games, the most famous are the Greenwich (where they used to play chess) and the Cirio (which invented the first canned tomato in the 19th century).
THE ROYAL GREENHOUSES
The Royal Greenhouses of Laeken (Dutch: Koninklijke Serres van Laken, French: Serres Royales de Laeken), are a vast complex of monumental heated greenhouses in the park of the Royal Palace of Laeken in the north of Brussels. It is one of the major tourist attractions of the city. The complex was commissioned by King Leopold II and designed by Alphonse Balat. Built between 1874 and 1895, the complex was finished with the completion of the so-called “Iron Church”, a domed greenhouse that would originally serve as the royal chapel. The total floor surface of this immense complex is 2.5 hectares (270,000 square feet). 800,000 liters (over 200,000 US gallons) of fuel oil are needed each year to heat the buildings. The complex can only be visited during a two-week period in April–May each year, when most flowers are in full bloom.