|French name||Dutch name|
The 19 "municipalities (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 throughout its history including "Laeken, "Haren, and "Neder-Over-Heembeek, 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 with 18,541 inhabitants, while the smallest in area is "Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, which is only 1.1 square kilometres (0.4 sq mi). Despite being the smallest municipality, Saint-Josse-ten-Noode has the highest population density of the 19 with 20,822 inhabitants per square kilometre (53,930/sq mi).
A lot of controversy exists concerning the division of 19 municipalities for a highly urbanized region which is considered as (half of) one city by most people. Some politicians mock the '19 baronies' and want to merge the municipalities under one city council and one mayor. This would lower the number of politicians needed to govern Brussels, and centralise the power over the city to make decisions easier. Thus reduce the overall running costs. The current municipalities could be transformed into districts with limited responsibilities, similar to the current structure of "Antwerp or to structures of other capitals like the boroughs in "London or arrondissements in "Paris, to keep politics close enough to the citizen.
The commune of "Molenbeek has gained a reputation as a safe haven for "Jihadists in relation to the support shown by some residents towards the bombers who carried out the Paris and Brussels attacks.
The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three federated regions of Belgium, alongside "Wallonia and the "Flemish Region. 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 Community or the "Flemish Community for matters such as culture and education.
The Brussels-Capital Region is governed by a parliament of 89 members (72 French-speaking, 17 Dutch-speaking, parties are organised on a linguistic basis) and an eight-member regional cabinet consisting of a minister-president, four ministers and three state secretaries. By law, the cabinet must comprise two French-speaking and two Dutch-speaking ministers, one Dutch-speaking secretary of state and two French-speaking secretaries of state. The minister-president does not count against the language quota, but in practice every minister-president has been a bilingual francophone. The regional parliament can enact ordinances (French: ordonnances, Dutch: ordonnanties), which have equal status as a national legislative act.
19 of the 72 French-speaking members of the Brussels 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. Now, people voting for a Flemish party have to vote separately for 6 directly elected members of the Flemish Parliament.
The Brussels Region is the only one that is not subdivided into provinces, nor is it a province itself. Within the Region, 99% of the areas of provincial jurisdiction are assumed by the Brussels regional institutions. Remaining is only the "governor of Brussels-Capital and some aides. Its status is roughly akin to that of a "federal district.
Agglomeration of Brussels
Before the creation of the Brussels-Capital Region, regional competences in the 19 municipalities were performed by the Brussels Agglomeration. The Brussels Agglomeration was an administrative division that was established in 1971. This decentralised administrative public body also assumed jurisdiction over areas that elsewhere in Belgium were exercised by municipalities or provinces.
The Brussels Agglomeration had a separate legislative council, but the by-laws enacted by it did not have the status of a legislative act. The only election of the council took place on 21 November 1971. The working of the council was subject to many difficulties caused by the linguistic and socio-economic tensions between the two communities.
After the creation of the Brussels-Capital Region, the Brussels Agglomeration was never formally abolished, although it no longer has a purpose.
French and Flemish communities
The "French Community and the "Flemish Community exercise their powers in Brussels through two community-specific public authorities: the "French Community Commission (French: Commission communautaire française or COCOF) and the "Flemish Community Commission (Dutch: Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie or VGC). These two bodies each have an assembly composed of the members of each linguistic group of the "Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region. They also have a board composed of the ministers and secretaries of state of each linguistic group in the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region.
The French Community Commission has also another capacity: some legislative powers 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 "decrees, which are legislative acts.
Common Community Commission
A bi-communitarian public authority, the "Common Community Commission (French: Commission communautaire commune, COCOM, Dutch: Gemeenschappelijke Gemeenschapscommissie, GGC) also exists. Its assembly is composed of the members of the regional parliament, and its board are the ministers – not the secretaries of state – of the region, with the minister-president not having the right to vote. This Commission has two capacities: it is a decentralised administrative public body, responsible for implementing cultural policies of common interest. It can give subsidies and enact by-laws. In another capacity it can also enact ordinances, which have equal status as a national legislative act, in the field of the welfare powers of the communities: in the Brussels-Capital Region, both the French Community and the Flemish Community can exercise powers in the field of welfare, but only in regard to institutions that are unilingual (for example, a private French-speaking retirement home or the Dutch-speaking hospital of the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel). The Common Community Commission is responsible 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.
Brussels has, since "World War II, become the administrative centre of many international organizations. 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 "World Customs Organization 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.
Brussels serves as capital of the "European Union, hosting the major political "institutions of the Union. The EU has not declared a capital formally, though the "Treaty of Amsterdam formally gives Brussels the seat of the "European Commission (the executive/government branch) and the "Council of the European Union (a legislative institution made up from executives of member states). It locates the formal seat of "European Parliament in the French city of "Strasbourg, where votes take place with the Council on the proposals made by the Commission. However meetings of political groups and committee groups are formally given to Brussels along with a set number of plenary sessions. Three quarters of Parliament now takes place at its "Brussels hemicycle. Between 2002 and 2004, the "European Council also fixed its seat in the city. In 2014, the Union hosted a "G7 summit in the city.
Brussels, along with "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". Early building in Brussels was sporadic and uncontrolled with little planning. The current major buildings are the "Berlaymont building of the Commission, symbolic of the quarter as a whole, the "Justus Lipsius building of the Council and the "Espace Léopold 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 effect" in that part of the city. However the presence has contributed significantly to the importance of Brussels as an international centre.
The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol, is an "international organisation which is tasked to monitor the European aviation by flight. Eurocontrol coordinates and plans "air traffic control across European "airspace. The corporation was founded in 1960 and currently has 41 member states. Its headquarters are located in "Haren, on the northeast perimeter of the "City of Brussels.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
The "Treaty of Brussels which was signed on 17 March 1948 between Belgium, "France, "Luxembourg, the "Netherlands and the "United Kingdom, was a prelude to the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), an "intergovernmental "military alliance, and was a preview of the western European defense against "communism["citation needed].
Today, the alliance consists of 28 independent member countries across "North America and Europe. Several countries also have diplomatic missions to NATO "through embassies in Belgium. Since 1949, a number of "NATO Summits have been held in the city. The next NATO summit will take place in Brussels in May 2017.
The organisation's headquarters are located on Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan in "Haren, Brussels. A new €750 million headquarters building begun in 2010 and is due for completion by 2017.
Under the "Köppen climate classification, Brussels experiences an "oceanic climate (Cfb). Brussels' proximity to coastal areas influences the area's climate by sending marine air masses from the "Atlantic Ocean. Nearby wetlands also ensure a maritime temperate climate. On average (based on measurements over the last 100 years), there are approximately 200 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region, the highest amount of any European capital. Snowfall is infrequent, averaging 24 days per year. In Brussels there are often violent thunderstorms.
|Climate data for Brussels|
|Record high °C (°F)||15.3
|Average high °C (°F)||5.7
|Daily mean °C (°F)||3.3
|Average low °C (°F)||0.7
|Record low °C (°F)||−21.1
|Average "precipitation mm (inches)||76.1
|Average precipitation days||19.2||16.3||17.8||15.9||16.2||15.0||14.3||14.5||15.7||16.6||18.8||19.3||199|
|Average snowy days||5.2||5.9||3.2||2.4||0||0||0||0||0||0||2.4||4.6||24.1|
|Average "relative humidity (%)||86.6||82.5||78.5||72.5||73.2||74.1||74.3||75.5||80.9||84.6||88.2||88.8||80|
|Mean monthly "sunshine hours||59||77||114||159||191||188||201||190||143||113||66||45||1,546|
Brussels is located in one of the most "urbanised regions of Europe, between "Paris, "London, "Rhine-Ruhr, and the "Randstad. The Brussels-Capital Region has a population of around 1.2 million and has witnessed in recent years a remarkable increase in its population. In general, the population of Brussels is younger than the national average and the gap between rich and poor is wider.
|-- of which foreigners||262.943||268.009||277.682||295.043||385.381|
|Largest groups of foreign residents|
|"Democratic Republic of the Congo||8,846|
Brussels is home to a large number of immigrants. At the last Belgian census in 1991, 63.7% of inhabitants in Brussels-Capital Region answered that they were Belgian citizens, born as such in Belgium. However, there have been numerous individual or familial migrations towards Brussels since the end of the 18th century, including "political refugees ("Karl Marx, "Victor Hugo, "Pierre Joseph Proudhon, "Léon Daudet for example), from neighbouring or more distant countries as well as labour migrants, former foreign students or expatriates, and many Belgian families in Brussels can claim at least one foreign grandparent.
Brussels has a large concentration of immigrants and their children from other countries, including many of Turkish and Moroccan ancestry, together with French-speaking black Africans from the "Democratic Republic of the Congo, "Rwanda and "Burundi.
People of foreign origin make up nearly 70% of the population of Brussels, most of whom have been "naturalized following the great 1991 reform of the naturalization process. About 32% of city residents are of non-Belgian "European origin, and 36% are of another background, mostly from "Morocco, "Turkey and Sub-Saharan "Africa. Among all major migrant groups from outside the EU, a majority of the permanent residents have acquired Belgian nationality.
Since the founding of the "Kingdom of Belgium in 1830, Brussels has transformed from being almost entirely "Dutch-speaking ("Brabantian dialect to be exact), to being a multilingual city with French (specifically "Belgian French) as the majority language and "lingua franca. This language shift, the "Francization of Brussels, is rooted in the 18th century and accelerated after "Belgium became "independent and Brussels expanded past its original boundaries.
French-speaking immigration contributed to the Frenchification of Brussels; both Walloons and expatriates from other countries, mainly France, came to Brussels in great numbers. However, a more important cause for the Frenchification was the language change over several generations from Dutch to French that was performed in Brussels by the "Flemish people 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; this made French the only language of administration, law, politics and education in Belgium and thus necessary for social mobility. From 1880 on, faced with the necessity of using French in dealing with such institutions, more and more Dutch-speakers became bilingual, and a rise in the number of monolingual French-speakers was seen after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers surpassed the number of mostly bilingual Flemish inhabitants.
Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian "language border, and after 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 Brussels 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, the administration of the entire Brussels-Capital Region is fully bilingual, including its subdivisions and public services. Nevertheless, some communautarian issues remain. Flemish political parties demanded for decades that the Flemish part of "Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde arrondissement be separated from the Brussels Region (which made Halle-Vilvoorde a monolingual Flemish arrondissement). BHV was divided mid 2012. The French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial 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.
The original Dutch dialect of Brussels (Brussels) is a form of "Brabantic (the variant of Dutch spoken in the ancient "Duchy of Brabant) with a significant number of loanwords from French, and still survives among a minority of inhabitants called Brusseleers, many of them quite bi- and multilingual, or educated in French and not writing in Dutch. Brussels and its suburbs have evolved from a Dutch-dialect–speaking town to a mainly French-speaking town. The ethnic and national self-identification of the inhabitants is quite different along ethnic lines.
For their French-speaking Bruxellois, it can vary from Belgian, Francophone Belgian, Bruxellois (like the Memellanders in interwar ethnic censuses in "Memel), "Walloon (for people who migrated from the Wallonia 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. 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 recent decades, owing to migration and the city's international role, Brussels is home to a growing number of foreign language speakers. In 2013, figures cited in the Marnix Plan show that 63.2% of Brussels inhabitants are native speakers of French, while less than 20% are native Dutch speakers. Just 2.5% speak English as their mother tongue, but 29.7% of people living in the city claim to speak English well or very well. Even though some people want English to be used as an unofficial compromise language between Dutch and French, French remains the lingua franca. And laws still require Dutch and French translations in most cases. The acceptance of English as a language for communication with the city's public servants depends entirely on the knowledge of this language by the public servants, though they must accept questions in French and Dutch.
The migrant communities, as well as rapidly growing communities of EU-nationals from other EU-member states, speak many languages like French, "Turkish, "Arabic, "Berber, "Spanish, "Italian, "Portuguese, "Polish, "German, and (increasingly) "English. The degree of linguistic integration varies widely within each migrant group.
Although historically majority "Roman Catholic, especially since the expulsion of Protestants in the 16th century, most residents of Brussels are nonreligious, with only about 10% of Catholics regularly attending church services. In reflection of its multicultural makeup, it hosts a variety of religious communities, as well as large numbers of "atheists and "agnostics. Minority faiths include "Islam, "Anglicanism, "Eastern Orthodoxy, "Judaism, and "Buddhism.
Recognized religions and "Laïcité 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.["citation needed]
Brussels has a large concentration of "Muslims, mostly of Turkish and Moroccan ancestry. Belgium does not collect statistics by ethnic background, so exact figures are unknown. It was estimated that in 2005 people of Muslim background living in the Brussels Region numbered 256,220 and accounted for 25.5% of the city's population, a much higher concentration than those of the other regions of Belgium.["better source needed]
|Regions of Belgium (1 January 2005)||Total population||People of Muslim origin||% of Muslims|
|Brussels-Capital Region||1 180 531||306,938||25%|
The architecture in Brussels is diverse, and spans from the clashing combination of "Gothic, "Baroque and Louis XIV styles on the "Grand Place to the "postmodern buildings of the "EU institutions.
The "Grand Place is the main attraction in the city centre and is a "UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998. The square is dominated by the "Flamboyant "Town Hall, the "Neo-Gothic "Breadhouse (French: Maison du Roi, Dutch: Broodhuis) and the "Baroque "guildhalls of the "Guilds of Brussels. The "Manneken Pis, a fountain containing a small bronze sculpture of a urinating youth, is a tourist attraction and "symbol of the city. Other landmarks in the centre include the "St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral, the "Royal Palace and the "Palace of Justice, reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century. The "Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert are one of the oldest covered shopping arcades in Europe.
The "neo-classical style of the 18th and 19th centuries is represented in the Royal Quarter/Coudenberg area, around the "Brussels Park and "Royal Square. Examples include the "Church of Saint Jacques-sur-Coudenberg, the "Palace of the Nation (parliament building), the "Academy Palace, the "Palace of Charles of Lorraine, etc. Other uniform neoclassical ensembles can been found around "Martyrs' Square and Barricades' Square.
Also particularly striking are the buildings in the "Art Nouveau style, most famously by the Belgian architects "Victor Horta, "Paul Hankar and "Henry Van de Velde. Some of Brussels' districts were developed during the heyday of Art Nouveau, and many buildings are in this style. Good examples can be found in "Schaerbeek, "Etterbeek, "Ixelles, and "Saint-Gilles. The "Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor Horta – "Hotel Tassel (1893), "Hotel Solvay (1894), "Hotel van Eetvelde (1895) and the "Horta Museum (1901) – have been listed as a "UNESCO "World Heritage Site since 2000. Another example of Brussels Art Nouveau is the "Stoclet Palace (1911), by the Viennese architect "Josef Hoffmann which was designated as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in June 2009.
Hôtel Ciamberlani by "Paul Hankar (1897)
Former Old England department store by "Paul Saintenoy (1899)
Saint Cyr house by "Gustave Strauven (1903)
Cauchie house, with "sgraffiti by Paul Cauchie (1905)
"Art Deco structures include the "Centre for Fine Arts (1928), the "Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg, the Saint-Augustine Church in Forest (1935), the former House of the Radio building on "Flagey Square (1935-1938), the "Villa Empain in Ixelles (1934) and the exhibition halls of Brussels Expo, built for the "1935 World Fair.
Since the second half of the 20th century, modern office towers have been built in Brussels ("Madou Tower, "Rogier Tower, "Proximus Towers, "Finance Tower, the "World Trade Center, among others). Thirty towers, the majority of which are concentrated in the city's main business district: the "Northern Quarter (also called Little Manhattan), near the "Brussels-North railway station. The "South Tower, standing adjacent to the "Brussels-South railway station, is the "tallest building in Belgium. The modern buildings of the "Espace Leopold complete the picture. Located outside the centre in a more green environment are the "Cinquantenaire park with its triumphal arch and nearby museums, the "Royal Palace of Laeken with its large "greenhouses and the "Museums of the Far East in Laeken.
The "Atomium is a symbolic 103-metre (338 ft) tall structure located on the "Heysel Plateau that was originally built for the "1958 World's Fair (Expo '58). It consists of nine steel spheres connected by tubes, and forms a model of an iron crystal (specifically, a "unit cell), magnified 165 billion times. The architect "A. Waterkeyn devoted the building to science. It is now considered a "landmark of Brussels. Next to the Atomium is the "Mini-Europe park with 1:25 scale "maquettes of famous buildings from across Europe.
Brussels "contains over 80 museums. The "Royal Museums of Fine Arts has an extensive collection of various painters, such as "Flemish painters like "Bruegel, "Rogier van der Weyden, "Robert Campin, "Anthony van Dyck, and "Jacob Jordaens. The "Magritte Museum houses the world's largest collection of the works of the surrealist "René Magritte. Museums dedicated to the national history of Belgium include the "BELvue Museum, the "Royal Museums of Art and History, and the "Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. The "Musical Instruments Museum (MIM) is part of the "Royal Museums for Art and History and is internationally renowned for its collection of over 8,000 instruments.
The city has had a renowned artist scene for many years. The famous Belgian surrealist "René Magritte, for instance, studied and lived in Brussels, as did the avant-garde dramatist "Michel de Ghelderode. The city was also home of the Impressionist painter "Anna Boch from the Artist Group "Les XX and includes others famous Belgian painters such as "Léon Spilliaert and Guy Huygens. The city is also a capital of the comic strip; some treasured Belgian characters are "Tintin, "Lucky Luke, "The Smurfs, "Spirou, "Gaston, "Marsupilami, "Blake and Mortimer, "Boule et Bill and "Cubitus. Throughout the city, walls are painted with large motifs of comic book characters; these "murals taken together are known as the "Brussels' Comic Book Route. Also, the interiors of some Metro stations are designed by artists. The "Belgian Comic Strip Center combines two artistic leitmotifs of Brussels, being a museum devoted to Belgian comic strips, housed in the former Waucquez department store, designed by "Victor Horta in the "Art Nouveau style.
Brussels is well known for its "performing arts scene, with the Kunstenfestivaldesarts, the Kaaitheater and "La Monnaie among the most notable institutions. The "King Baudouin Stadium is a concert and competition facility with a 50,000 seat capacity, the largest in Belgium. The site was formerly occupied by the "Heysel Stadium. Furthermore, the Bozar ("Center for Fine Arts), a multi-purpose centre for theatre, cinema, music, literature and art exhibitions is home to the "National Orchestra of Belgium and to the annual "Queen Elisabeth Competition for "classical singers and instrumentalists, one of the most challenging and prestigious competitions of the kind. The Studio 4 in "Flagey cultural centre hosts the "Brussels Philharmonic. Other concert venues include "Forest National/Vorst Nationaal, "Ancienne Belgique, the "Cirque Royal, the "Botanique and "Palais 12. Also worth mentioning is the Théâtre Royal de Toone, a folkloric "puppet theatre located near the Grand Place.
Cultural and folkloric events
- The Iris Festival, festival of the Brussels-Capital Region, is held every year in spring.
- The "Flower Carpet at the Grand Place, held every two years in August.
- The planting of the Meyboom on 9 August, the oldest folk tradition of Brussels, celebrating the May tree – in fact, a bad translation of the Dutch tree of joy – is recognised as an expression of "intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.
- The "Ommegang, a folkloric costumed procession commemorating the "Joyous Entry of "Emperor Charles V when he was enthroned in Brussels in 1549.
- The "Zinneke Parade, a parade throughout the city, has been held every two years since 2000.
- The "Saint-Verhaegen, a folkloric student procession celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the "Université libre de Bruxelles.
- The Brussels Summer Festival (BSF), a music festival held in August.
- The "Couleur Café Festival, a festival of "world and "urban music.
- The KunstenFESTIVALdesArts, a festival of international contemporary art.
- The International Fantastic Film Festival of Brussels (BIFFF), is held during the Easter holidays.
Brussels is known for its local "waffle, its "chocolate, its "French fries and its numerous types of "beers. The "Brussels sprout, which has long been popular in Brussels, and may have originated there, is also named after the city.
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 are a large number of "cafés, bistros, and the usual range of international "fast food chains. The cafés are similar to bars, and offer beer and light dishes; "coffee houses are called salons de thé. Also widespread are "brasseries, which usually offer a large number of beers and typical national dishes.
Belgian cuisine is characterised by the combination of "French cuisine 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, "Leonidas and "Godiva. Pralines were first introduced in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus II, a Belgian "chocolatier of Swiss origin, in the "Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in central Brussels. Numerous "friteries are spread throughout the city, and in tourist areas, fresh, hot, waffles are also sold on the street.
In addition to the regular selection of "Belgian beer, the famous "lambic style of beer is predominately brewed in and around Brussels, and the yeasts have their origin in the "Senne valley. "Kriek, a cherry lambic, enjoys outstanding popularity, as it does in the rest of Belgium. Kriek is available in almost every bar or restaurant.
Brussels is known as the birthplace of the "Belgian Endive (Dutch : witloof or witlof ("white leaf"), French : chicon). The technique for growing "blanched endives was accidentally discovered in the 1850s at the "Botanical Garden of Brussels in "Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Belgium.
Famous "shopping areas include the pedestrian-only "Rue Neuve (Dutch: Nieuwstraat), the second busiest shopping street in Belgium (after the "Meir in "Antwerp, with 290,000 visitors per week) with a weekly average of 230,000 visitors; Chaussée d’Ixelles in the Matonge district; "Avenue Louise lined with high-end fashion stores and boutiques; the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert and the neighbourhood around Antoine Dansaert Street, which has become in recent years a focal point for fashion and design. This main street and its side streets also feature Belgium’s young and most happening artistic talent.
In addition, Brussels ranks as one of Europe’s best capital cities for "flea market shopping. The Old Market (French: Vieux Marché, Dutch: Vlooienmarkt), on the Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein, in the "Marollen neighbourhood, is particularly renowned. The nearby "Sablon area is home to many of Brussels' "antique dealers.
The stadium now known as the "King Baudouin Stadium is the largest in the country and home to the national teams in "football and "rugby union. It hosted the final of the "1972 UEFA European Football Championship, and the opening game of "the 2000 edition. Several European club finals have been held at the ground, including the "1985 European Cup Final which saw 39 deaths due to hooliganism and structural collapse. The King Baudouin Stadium is also home of the annual "Memorial Van Damme athletics event, which is part of the "IAAF Diamond League. Other important athletics events are the "Brussels Marathon and the "20 km of Brussels.
The "Brussels Cycling Classic is one of the oldest "semi classic "bicycle races on the international calendar.
"R.S.C. Anderlecht, based in the "Constant Vanden Stock Stadium in the "Anderlecht municipality, is the most successful Belgian football club in the "Belgian Pro League with 33 titles. It has also won the most major European tournaments for a Belgian side. Brussels is also home to "Union Saint-Gilloise, the most successful Belgian club before World War II with 11 titles The club was founded in "Saint-Gilles but is based in the nearby "Forest municipality and currently plays in "Second Division. "White Star Bruxelles is another football club that plays in second division.
"Racing White Daring Molenbeek, based in the "Sint-Jans-Molenbeek municipality and often referred to as RWDM, was a very popular football club until it was dissolved in 2002. Since 2015, its reincarnation is back playing in the fourth division.["citation needed]
Serving as the centre of administration for Belgium and Europe, Brussels' economy is largely "service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of "multinationals, by European institutions, by various local and federal administrations, and by related services companies, though it does have a number of notable "craft industries, such as the "Cantillon Brewery, a "lambic brewery founded in 1900.
Brussels has a robust economy. The region contributes to one fifth of Belgium's "GDP and its 550,000 jobs account for 17.7% of Belgium’s employment. Its "GDP per capita is nearly double that of Belgium as a whole, and it has the highest GDP per capita of any "NUTS 1 region in the European Union, at €62,000 in 2011. That being said, the GDP is boosted by a massive inflow of "commuters from neighbouring regions; over half of those who work in Brussels live in Flanders or Wallonia, with 230,000 and 130,000 commuters per day respectively. Conversely, only 16.0% of people from Brussels work outside Brussels (68 827 (68.5%) of them in Flanders and 21 035 (31.5%) in Wallonia). Not all of the wealth generated in Brussels remains in Brussels itself, and as of December 2013, the unemployment among residents of Brussels is 20.4%.
There are approximately 50,000 "businesses in Brussels, of which around 2200 are foreign. This number is constantly increasing and can well explain the role of Brussels in the European subcontinent. The city’s "infrastructure is very favourable in terms of starting up a new business. House prices have also increased in recent years, especially with the increase of young "professionals settling down in Brussels, making it the most expensive city to live in Belgium.
In addition, Brussels holds more than 1,000 business conferences annually, making it the fourth most popular conference city in Europe. It is rated as the seventh most important financial centre in the world. The "Brussels Stock Exchange, abbreviated to BSE, now called Euronext Brussels, is part of the European "stock exchange "Euronext N.V., along with "Paris Bourse, "Lisbon Stock Exchange and "Amsterdam Stock Exchange. Its benchmark "stock market index is the "BEL20.
Many Belgian "newspapers have their headquarters in Brussels, such as "Le Soir, "La Libre, "De Morgen and the "news agency "Belga. The Belgian French-language "public broadcaster "RTBF, the Belgian Dutch-speaking public broadcaster "VRT, the two regional channels BX1 (formerly Télé Bruxelles) and Bruzz (formerly TV Brussel), the encrypted "BeTV channel and private channels "RTL-TVI and "VTM are also headquartered in the city.
There are several "universities in Brussels. The two main universities are the "Université Libre de Bruxelles, a French-speaking university with about 20,000 students in three campuses in the city (and two others outside), and the "Vrije Universiteit Brussel, a "Dutch-speaking 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 organization of higher education.
Other universities include the "Université Saint-Louis Bruxelles with 4,000 students, a campus of the "Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, (offering bachelor & master's degrees in economics & business, law, arts, and architecture, and counting a faculty in the city centre) the "Royal Military Academy, a military college established in 1834 by a French colonel and two drama schools founded in 1982: the French-speaking "Conservatoire Royal and the "Dutch-speaking "Koninklijk Conservatorium.
Still other universities have campuses in Brussels, such as the "Université Catholique de Louvain that has had its medical faculty in the city since 1973. In addition, the University of Kent's "Brussels School of International Studies is a specialised postgraduate school offering advanced international studies and "Boston University Brussels was established in 1972 and offers master's degrees in business administration and international relations.
Most Brussels pupils between 3 and 18 go to schools organized by the "Flemish Community and the "French-speaking Community, with roughly 20% going to the first (Flemish) and close to 80% for the French-speaking schools. Due to the post-war international presence in the city, there are also a number of international schools, including the "International School of Brussels with 1,450 pupils between 2½ and 18, the "British School of Brussels, and the four "European Schools, which provide free education for the children of those working in the "EU institutions. The combined student population of the four "European Schools in Brussels is currently around 10,000.
Science and technology
Science and technology in Brussels is well developed with the presence of several "universities and research institutes.
The "Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences houses the world's largest hall completely dedicated to "dinosaurs, with its collection of 30 "fossilized "Iguanodon skeletons. The "Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium is one of the largest in Europe.
Brussels is home to a thriving "pharmaceutical and "health care industry which includes pioneering "biotechnology research. The health sector employs 70,000 employees in 30,000 companies. There are 3,000 life sciences researchers in the city and two large "science parks: "Da Vinci Research Park and "Erasmus Research Park. There are five "university hospitals, a "military hospital and more than 40 general hospitals and specialist clinics.
Brussels is served by "Brussels Airport, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of "Zaventem, and by the smaller "Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located near "Charleroi (Wallonia), some 50 km (30 mi) from Brussels.
Brussels also has its own harbour, the "port of Brussels, on the "Brussels-Scheldt Maritime Canal located in the northwest of the city. The "Brussels-Charleroi Canal connects Brussels with the industrial areas of "Wallonia.
Brussels Capital-Region has three main train stations: "Brussels-South, "Central and "North, which are amongst the busiest of the country. Brussels-South is also served by direct high-speed rail links: to "London by the "Eurostar train via the "Channel Tunnel (1hr 51 min); to "Amsterdam by the "Thalys and InterCity-Plus connections; to Amsterdam, "Paris (1hr 50min, 1hr 25 min respectively) as of 6 April 2015, and "Cologne by the "Thalys; and to Cologne and "Frankfurt by the German "ICE (2hr 59 min–3hr 16min).
The train rails in Brussels go underground near the centre through the "North–South connection, with the Brussels-Central station also being largely underground. The tunnel itself is only six tracks wide at its narrowest point, which often causes congestion and delays due to heavy use of the route.
The City has minor railway stations at "Bockstael, "Brussels-Chapel, "Brussels-Congres, "Brussels-Luxembourg, "Brussels-Schuman, "Brussels-West, "Haren, "Haren-South, "Simonis.
In the Brussels Region there are also railways stations at "Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, "Boitsfort, "Boondael, "Bordet (Evere), "Etterbeek, "Evere, "Forest-East, "Forest-South, "Jette, "Meiser (Schaarbeek), "Moensberg (Uccle), "Saint-Job (Uccle), "Schaarbeek, "Uccle-Calevoet, "Uccle-Stalle, Vivier d'Oie-Diesdelle (Uccle), "Merode and "Watermael.
City public transport
The Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company "STIB/MIVB is the local "public transport operator in Brussels. It covers the 19 municipalities of the Brussels Capital-Region and some surface routes extend to the near suburbs in the other regions.
The "Brussels Metro dates back to 1976, but underground lines known as premetro have been serviced by tramways since 1968. The network consists of four conventional metro lines and three "premetro lines. The metro-grade lines are M1, M2, M5, and M6 with some shared sections, covering a total of 40 kilometres (24.8 mi). The metro is an important "means of transport, connecting with six "railway stations of the "National Railway Company of Belgium, and many tram and bus stops operated by STIB/MIVB, and with "Flemish "De Lijn and "Walloon "TEC bus stops.
Trams and buses
A comprehensive "bus and "tram network covers the city. In 2017, the Brussels tram system consists of 17 tram lines (three of which – lines T3, T4 and T7 – qualify as "premetro lines). The total route length is 139 km (86.3 mi), making it one of the largest tram networks in Europe. The Brussels bus network is complementary to the rail network. It consists of 50 bus routes and 11 night routes, spanning 445 km (276 mi). Since April 2007, STIB/MIVB has been operating a night bus network called Noctis. On Fridays and Saturdays, 11 bus routes operate from midnight until 3 a.m. They run from the centre of Brussels to the outer reaches of the Brussels-Capital Region.
An interticketing system means that a STIB/MIVB ticket holder can use the train or long-distance buses inside the city. A single journey can include multiple stages across the different modes of transport. The commuter services operated by "De Lijn, "TEC and "NMBS/SNCB will in the next few years["when?] be augmented by the "Brussels RER/GEN network which will connect the capital and surrounding towns. Since August 2016, paper tickets have been discontinued in favour of electronic MoBIB cards.
Other public transport
Since 2003, Brussels has had a car-sharing service operated by the "Bremen company Cambio, in partnership with the STIB/MIVB and local ridesharing company Taxi Stop. In 2006, a "public bicycle-sharing programme was introduced. The scheme was subsequently taken over by "Villo!. Since 2008, this night-time public transport service has been supplemented by Collecto, a shared taxi system, which operates on weekdays between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. In 2012, the Zen Car electric car-sharing scheme was launched in the university and European areas.
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 in large part remains, but has been overlaid by boulevards built "over the River Senne, "over the city walls and over the railway connection between the North and South Stations.
Today, Brussels has the most congested traffic in North America and Europe, according to US traffic information platform "INRIX.
As one expects of a capital city, Brussels is the hub of a range of old national roads, the main ones being clockwise: the N1 (N to "Breda), N2 (E to "Maastricht), N3 (E to "Aachen), N4 (SE to "Luxembourg) N5 (S to "Rheims), N6 (S to "Maubeuge), N7 (SW to "Lille), N8 (W to "Koksijde) and N9 (NW to "Ostend). Usually named chaussées/steenwegen, these highways normally run in a straight line but sometimes lose themselves in a maze of narrow shopping streets.
The town is skirted by the "European route E19 (N-S) and the "E40 (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. It is pear-shaped as the southern side was never built as originally conceived, owing to residents' objections.
The city centre, sometimes known as the pentagon, is surrounded by an inner ring road, the "Small Ring (French: Petite Ceinture, Dutch: Kleine Ring), a sequence of boulevards formally numbered R20 or N0. These were built upon the site of the "second set of city walls following their demolition. The "metro line 2 runs under much of these. Since June 2015, a number of central boulevards inside the pentagon have become car-free, limiting transit traffic through the old city.
On the eastern side of the city, the R21 or Greater Ring (French: "Grande Ceinture, Dutch: Grote Ring) is formed by a string of boulevards that curves round from "Laeken to "Uccle. Some premetro stations (see "Brussels Metro) were built on that route. A little further out, a stretch numbered R22 leads from Zaventem to "Saint-Job.
Security and emergency services
The Brussels police is responsible for the security in Brussels. The 19 municipalities of Brussels are divided into six "police zones, all bilingual (French / Dutch):
- 5339 Brussels Capital Ixelles: the "City of Brussels and "Ixelles
- 5340 Brussels West : "Ganshoren, "Jette, "Koekelberg, "Sint-Agatha-Berchem and "Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
- 5341 South : "Anderlecht, "Forest and "Saint-Gilles
- 5342 Uccle/Watermael-Boitsfort/Auderghem : "Auderghem, "Uccle and "Watermael-Boitsfort
- 5343 Montgomery : "Etterbeek, "Woluwe-Saint-Lambert et "Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
- 5344 Polbruno : "Evere, "Saint-Josse-ten-Noode et "Schaerbeek
The Brussels Fire and Emergency Medical Care Service, commonly know by its acronym SIAMU (DBDMH), operates in the 19 municipalities of Brussels. It is a class X department and the largest "fire service in Belgium, in terms of annual operations, equipment and personnel. It has 9 "fire stations spread over the entire Brussels-Capital Region and employs about 1,000 professional "firefighters. As well as preventing and fighting fires, SIAMU also provides emergency medical care services in Brussels via its centralised 100 number (and the single 112 emergency number for the 27 countries of the European Union). It is bilingual (French / Dutch).
Parks and green spaces
Brussels is one of the most green European capitals, with over 8,000 hectares of green spaces. A multitude of parks and gardens are scattered throughout the city. Examples include:
In the city of Brussels:
- "Brussels Park 11 ha (27 acres)
- "Mont des Arts/Kunstberg 1.4 ha (3.5 acres)
- Egmont Park 1.5 ha (3.7 acres)
- "Leopold Park 10 ha (25 acres)
- Osseghem Park 17 ha (42 acres)
- Laeken Park 30 ha (74 acres)
- "Cinquantenaire Park 30 ha (74 acres)
- "Bois de la Cambre 122 ha (301 acres)
In the Brussels Capital-Region:
- "Tenbosch 2 ha (2.5 acres) in Ixelles
- "Ixelles Ponds 5 ha (12.3 acres) in Ixelles
- "Forest Park 13 ha (32 acres) in Forest
- Elisabeth Park 21 ha (51 acres) in Koekelberg/Ganshoren
- "Duden Park 24 ha (59 acres) in Forest
- "Josaphat Park 30 ha (74 acres) in Schaerbeek
- Woluwe Park 69 ha (170 acres) in Woluwe-Saint-Pierre
- The "Sonian Forest 4.421 ha (10.920 acres), stretching out over the three "Belgian regions.
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Twin towns and sister cities
Brussels is "twinned with the following cities:
- " "Atlanta, United States
- " "Beijing, People's Republic of China (since 1994)
- " "Berlin, Germany
- " "Brasília, Brazil
- " "Ljubljana, Slovenia
- " "Madrid, Spain
- " "Montreal, Canada
- " "Moscow, Russia
- " "Prague, Czech Republic
- " "Washington, D.C., United States
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