Brussels

Coordinates: 50°50′48″N 04°21′09″E / 50.84667°N 4.35250°E / 50.84667; 4.35250
Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Brussels
  • Bruxelles (
    Basilica of Koekelberg
Region
18 June 1989
Founded byCharles, Duke of Lower Lorraine
CapitalCity of Brussels
Municipalities
List
  • Woluwe-Saint-Pierre / Sint-Pieters-Woluwe
Government
 • Executive
HDI (2021)
0.953[11]
very high · 1st of 11
Websitebe.brussels

Brussels (

language shift to French from the late 19th century.[19] Nowadays, the Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch,[20][21] although French is the majority language and lingua franca.[22] Brussels is also increasingly becoming multilingual. English is spoken widely and many migrants and expatriates speak other languages as well.[22][23]

Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river

headquarters of NATO are also located in Brussels.[28][29]

Brussels is the most densely populated region in Belgium, and although it has the highest

Euronext Brussels, Brussels is classified as an Alpha global city.[37] It is also a national and international hub for rail, road and air traffic,[38] and is sometimes considered, together with Belgium, as Europe's geographic, economic and cultural crossroads.[39][40][41] The Brussels Metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the largest and busiest in the country.[42][43]

Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomic offer (including its local

La Monnaie/De Munt and the Museums of Art and History. Due to its long tradition of Belgian comics, Brussels is also hailed as a capital of the comic strip.[3][46]

Toponymy

Etymology

The most common theory of the origin of the name Brussels is that it derives from the

Old Frankish.[50]

Pronunciation

In French, Bruxelles is pronounced [bʁysɛl] (the x is pronounced /s/, like in English, and the final s is silent) and in Dutch, Brussel is pronounced [ˈbrʏsəl] . Inhabitants of Brussels are known in French as Bruxellois (pronounced [bʁysɛlwa] ) and in Dutch as Brusselaars (pronounced [ˈbrʏsəlaːrs]). In the Brabantian dialect of Brussels (known as Brusselian, and also sometimes referred to as Marols or Marollien),[51] they are called Brusseleers or Brusseleirs.[52]

Originally, the written x noted the group

Dutch spelling, whereas in the more conservative French form, the spelling remained.[53] The pronunciation /ks/ in French only dates from the 18th century, but this modification did not affect the traditional Brussels usage. In France, the pronunciations [bʁyksɛl] and [bʁyksɛlwa] (for bruxellois) are often heard, but are rather rare in Belgium.[54]

History

Early history

Charles of Lorraine, traditionally considered the founder of what would become Brussels, c. 979

The history of Brussels is closely linked to that of

Frankish Empire
.

According to local legend, the origin of the settlement which was to become Brussels lies in

Otto II appointed the same Charles to become Duke of Lower Lotharingia in 977,[58]
Charles ordered the construction of the city's first permanent fortification, doing so on that same island.

Middle Ages

Dukes of Brabant. Brabant, unlike the county of Flanders, was not fief of the king of France but was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire
.

In the early 13th century, the

a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Traces of these walls can still be seen, although the Small Ring
, a series of boulevards bounding the historical city centre, follows their former course.

Early modern

View of Brussels, c. 1610

In the 14th century, the marriage between heiress

Philip the Handsome
succeeded as Duke of Burgundy and Brabant.

Philip died in 1506, and he was succeeded by his son

King Philip II of Spain.[65] This 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.[66][67]

the 1695 bombardment
by the French army

In the 16th and 17th centuries, Brussels was a centre for the

bombard Brussels with artillery. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand-Place was destroyed, along with 4,000 buildings—a third of all the buildings in the city. The reconstruction of the city centre, effected during subsequent years, profoundly changed its appearance and left numerous traces still visible today.[70]

Following the

Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Spanish sovereignty over the Southern Netherlands was transferred to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg. This event started the era of the Austrian Netherlands. Brussels was captured by France in 1746, during the War of the Austrian Succession,[71] but was handed back to Austria three years later. It remained with Austria until 1795, when the Southern Netherlands were captured and annexed by France, and the city became the capital of the department of the Dyle.[72][73] The French rule ended in 1815, with the defeat of Napoleon on the battlefield of Waterloo, located south of today's Brussels-Capital Region.[74] With the Congress of Vienna, the Southern Netherlands joined the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, under King William I of Orange. The former Dyle department became the province of South Brabant
, with Brussels as its capital.

Late modern

Gustaf Wappers
, 1834

In 1830, the

King of the Belgians, ascended the throne,[76]
undertaking the destruction of the city walls and the construction of many buildings.

Following independence, Brussels underwent many more changes. It became a financial centre, thanks to the dozens of companies launched by the Société Générale de Belgique. The Industrial Revolution and the opening of the Brussels–Charleroi Canal in 1832 brought prosperity to the city through commerce and manufacturing.[77] The Free University of Brussels was established in 1834 and Saint-Louis University in 1858. In 1835, the first passenger railway built outside England linked the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean with Mechelen.[78]

The Place Royale/Koningsplein in the late 19th century

During the 19th century, the population of Brussels grew considerably; from about 80,000 to more than 625,000 people for the city and its surroundings. The Senne had become a serious

King Leopold II. The International Exposition of 1897 contributed to the promotion of the infrastructure.[81] Among other things, the Palace of the Colonies, present-day Royal Museum for Central Africa, in the suburb of Tervuren, was connected to the capital by the construction of an 11 km-long (6.8 mi) grand alley
.

Brussels became one of the major European cities for the development of the Art Nouveau style in the 1890s and early 1900s.[82] The architects Victor Horta, Paul Hankar, and Henry van de Velde, among others, were known for their designs, many of which survive today.[83]

20th century

The 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels was the fifth world physics conference.

During the 20th century, the city hosted various fairs and conferences, including the

Brussels International Exposition of 1935 and the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo 58).[81] During World War I, Brussels was an occupied city, but German troops did not cause much damage. During World War II, it was again occupied by German forces, and spared major damage, before it was liberated by the British Guards Armoured Division on 3 September 1944. Brussels Airport, in the suburb of Zaventem
, dates from the occupation.

British tanks arrive in Brussels on 4 September 1944, ending the German occupation

After World War II, Brussels underwent extensive modernisation. The construction of the

Brusselisation.[86][87]

Contemporary

The Brussels-Capital Region was formed on 18 June 1989, after a constitutional reform in 1988.

yellow iris is the emblem of the region (referring to the presence of these flowers on the city's original site) and a stylised version is featured on its official flag.[89]

In recent years, Brussels has become an important venue for international events. In 2000, it was named European Capital of Culture alongside eight other European cities.[90] In 2013, the city was the site of the Brussels Agreement.[91] In 2014, it hosted the 40th G7 summit,[92] and in 2017, 2018 and 2021 respectively the 28th, 29th and 31st NATO Summits.[93][94][95]

suicide bombers killed, and 330 people were injured. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium.[96][97][98][99]

Geography

Location and topography

A 2020 satellite image of the Greater Brussels area

Brussels lies in the north-central part of Belgium, about 110 km (68 mi) from the Belgian coast and about 180 km (110 mi) from Belgium's southern tip. It is located in the heartland of the Brabantian Plateau, about 45 km (28 mi) south of Antwerp (Flanders), and 50 km (31 mi) north of Charleroi (Wallonia). Its average elevation is 57 m (187 ft) above sea level, varying from a low point in the valley of the almost completely covered Senne, which cuts the Brussels-Capital Region from east to west, up to high points in the Sonian Forest, on its southeastern side. In addition to the Senne, tributary streams such as the Maalbeek and the Woluwe, to the east of the region, account for significant elevation differences. Brussels' central boulevards are 15 m (49 ft) above sea level.[100] Contrary to popular belief, the highest point (at 127.5 m (418 ft)) is not near the Place de l'Altitude Cent/Hoogte Honderdplein in Forest, but at the Drève des Deux Montages/Tweebergendreef in the Sonian Forest.[101]

Climate

Brussels experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) with warm summers and cool winters.[102] 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 in the period 1981–2010), there are approximately 135 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region. Snowfall is infrequent, averaging 24 days per year. The city also often experiences violent thunderstorms in summer months.

Climate data for Uccle (Brussels-Capital Region) 1991–2020
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.3
(59.5)
20.0
(68.0)
24.2
(75.6)
28.7
(83.7)
34.1
(93.4)
38.8
(101.8)
39.7
(103.5)
36.5
(97.7)
34.9
(94.8)
27.8
(82.0)
20.6
(69.1)
16.7
(62.1)
39.7
(103.5)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 6.1
(43.0)
7.1
(44.8)
10.9
(51.6)
15.0
(59.0)
18.4
(65.1)
21.2
(70.2)
23.2
(73.8)
23.0
(73.4)
19.5
(67.1)
14.9
(58.8)
9.9
(49.8)
6.6
(43.9)
14.7
(58.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.7
(38.7)
4.2
(39.6)
7.1
(44.8)
10.4
(50.7)
13.9
(57.0)
16.7
(62.1)
18.7
(65.7)
18.4
(65.1)
15.2
(59.4)
11.3
(52.3)
7.2
(45.0)
4.3
(39.7)
10.9
(51.7)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
1.5
(34.7)
3.5
(38.3)
6.0
(42.8)
9.2
(48.6)
12.0
(53.6)
14.1
(57.4)
13.9
(57.0)
11.3
(52.3)
8.1
(46.6)
4.6
(40.3)
2.1
(35.8)
7.3
(45.2)
Record low °C (°F) −21.1
(−6.0)
−18.3
(−0.9)
−13.6
(7.5)
−5.7
(21.7)
−2.2
(28.0)
0.3
(32.5)
4.4
(39.9)
3.9
(39.0)
0.0
(32.0)
−6.8
(19.8)
−12.8
(9.0)
−17.7
(0.1)
−21.1
(−6.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 75.5
(2.97)
65.1
(2.56)
59.3
(2.33)
46.7
(1.84)
59.7
(2.35)
70.8
(2.79)
76.9
(3.03)
86.5
(3.41)
65.3
(2.57)
67.8
(2.67)
76.2
(3.00)
87.4
(3.44)
837.2
(32.96)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 18.9 16.9 15.7 13.1 14.7 14.1 14.3 14.3 14.1 16.1 18.3 19.4 189.9
Average snowy days 3.8 4.9 2.7 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.2 3.7 17
Average
relative humidity
(%)
84.1 80.6 74.8 69.2 70.2 71.3 71.5 72.4 76.8 81.5 85.1 86.6 77.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 59.1 72.9 125.8 171.3 198.3 199.3 203.2 192.4 154.4 112.6 65.8 48.6 1,603.7
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 3 4 6 7 6 6 4 2 1 1 4
Source 1: Royal Meteorological Institute[103][104]
Source 2: Weather Atlas;
VRT Nieuws[106]

Brussels as a capital

Despite its name, the Brussels-Capital Region is not the capital of

Belgian Constitution establishes that the capital of Belgium is the City of Brussels, the municipality in the region that is the city's core.[14]

The City of Brussels is the location of many national institutions. The

.

The City of Brussels is also the capital of both the French Community of Belgium[15] and the Flemish Community.[17] The Flemish Parliament and Flemish Government have their seats in Brussels,[107] and so do the Parliament of the French Community and the Government of the French Community.

The Royal Palace of Brussels, the official palace of the King and Queen of the Belgians

Municipalities

French name Dutch name
Anderlecht Anderlecht Anderlecht
Auderghem Auderghem Oudergem
Berchem-Sainte-Agathe Berchem-Sainte-Agathe Sint-Agatha-Berchem
Brussels
Bruxelles-Ville
Stad Brussel
Etterbeek Etterbeek Etterbeek
Evere Evere Evere
Forest, Belgium Forest Vorst
Ganshoren Ganshoren Ganshoren
Ixelles Ixelles Elsene
Jette Jette Jette
Koekelberg Koekelberg Koekelberg
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean Molenbeek-Saint-Jean Sint-Jans-Molenbeek
Saint-Gilles, Belgium Saint-Gilles Sint-Gillis
Saint-Josse-ten-Noode Saint-Josse-ten-Noode Sint-Joost-ten-Node
Schaerbeek Schaerbeek Schaarbeek
Uccle Uccle Ukkel
Watermael-Boitsfort Watermael-Boitsfort Watermaal-Bosvoorde
Woluwe-Saint-Lambert Woluwe-Saint-Lambert Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe
Woluwe-Saint-Pierre Woluwe-Saint-Pierre Sint-Pieters-Woluwe

The 19

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.[108][109] Municipal administration is also conducted by a mayor, a council, and an executive.[109]

In 1831, Belgium was divided into 2,739 municipalities, including the 19 currently located in the Brussels-Capital Region.

(ULB)'s Solbosch campus is also part of the City of Brussels, partially accounting for the bulge in the south-eastern end.

The largest municipality in area and population is the City of Brussels, covering 32.6 km2 (12.6 sq mi) and with 145,917 inhabitants; the least populous is Koekelberg with 18,541 inhabitants. The smallest in area is Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, which is only 1.1 km2 (0.4 sq mi), but still has the highest population density in the region, with 20,822/km2 (53,930/sq mi). Watermael-Boitsfort has the lowest population density in the region, with 1,928/km2 (4,990/sq mi).

There is much controversy on the division of 19 municipalities for a highly urbanised 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.[112][113] That 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.[114]

In the 2010s,

Islamist terrorists who carried out attacks in both Paris and Brussels.[115][116][117][118][119]

Brussels-Capital Region

Walloon Region

Political status

The Brussels-Capital Region is one of the three federated regions of Belgium, alongside the

enclave in the monolingual 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, as well as a Common Community for competencies which do not belong exclusively to either Community, such as healthcare and social welfare
.

Since the split of

governor of Brussels-Capital and some aides, analogously to provinces. Its status is roughly akin to that of a federal district
.

Institutions

Brussels Regional Parliament

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.

Nineteen 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.

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 established in 1971. This decentralised administrative public body also assumed jurisdiction over areas which, elsewhere in Belgium, were exercised by municipalities or provinces.[120]

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

German-speaking Community
/ German language area

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 also has 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).[121] The Flemish Community, however, did the opposite; it merged the Flemish Region into the Flemish Community.[122] 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 centres 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 and the European Union

Aerial view of Brussels' European Quarter, hosting most of the European Union (EU)'s institutions

Brussels serves as de facto capital of the European Union (EU), hosting the major political institutions of the Union.[1] The EU has not declared a capital formally, though the Treaty of Amsterdam formally gives Brussels the seat of the European Commission (the executive branch of government) and the Council of the European Union (a legislative institution made up from executives of member states).[123][full citation needed][124][full citation needed] It locates the formal seat of European Parliament in 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 sessions now take place at its Brussels hemicycle.[125] Between 2002 and 2004, the European Council also fixed its seat in the city.[126] In 2014, the Union hosted a G7 summit in the city.[92]

The Place du Luxembourg/Luxemburgplein with the European Parliament in the background

Brussels, along with

Luxembourg and Strasbourg, began to host European institutions in 1957, soon becoming the centre of activities, as the Commission and Council based their activities in what has become the European Quarter, in the east of the city.[123] 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 Europa building of the Council and the Espace Léopold of the Parliament.[124] Nowadays, the presence has increased considerably, with the Commission alone occupying 865,000 m2 (9,310,000 sq ft) within the European Quarter (a quarter of the total office space in Brussels).[1] The concentration and density has caused concern that the presence of the institutions has created a ghetto effect in that part of the city.[127] However, the European presence has contributed significantly to the importance of Brussels as an international centre.[128]

International institutions

Brussels has, since

29 embassies and brings together over 4,500 staff from allied nations, their militaries, and civil service personnel. Many other international organisations such as the World Customs Organization and Eurocontrol, as well as international corporations, have their main institutions in the city. In addition, the main international trade union confederations have their headquarters there: the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour
(WCL).

Brussels is third in the number of international conferences it hosts,

North Atlantic Treaty Organization

Flags of NATO member states wave at the entrance of NATO's headquarters in Haren

The

through embassies in Belgium. Since 1949, a number of NATO Summits have been held in Brussels,[136] the most recent taking place in June 2021.[95] The organisation's political and administrative headquarters are located on the Boulevard Léopold III/Leopold III-laan in Haren, on the north-eastern perimeter of the City of Brussels.[137] A new €750 million headquarters building begun in 2010 and was completed in 2017.[138]

Eurocontrol

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation, commonly known as Eurocontrol, is an

international organisation which coordinates and plans air traffic control across European airspace. The corporation was founded in 1960 and has 41 member states.[139]
Its headquarters are located in Haren, Brussels.

Demographics

Population

Population density of Europe. Brussels is located between the largest urban centres.

Brussels is located in one of the most

Rhine-Ruhr (Germany), and the Randstad (Netherlands). 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.[140]

Brussels is the core of a built-up area that extends well beyond the region's limits. Sometimes referred to as the urban area of Brussels (French: aire urbaine de Bruxelles, Dutch: stedelijk gebied van Brussel) or Greater Brussels (French: Grand-Bruxelles, Dutch: Groot-Brussel), this area extends over a large part of the two Brabant provinces, including much of the surrounding arrondissement of Halle-Vilvoorde and some small parts of the arrondissement of Leuven in Flemish Brabant, as well as the northern part of Walloon Brabant.

The metropolitan area of Brussels is divided into three levels. Firstly, the central agglomeration (within the regional borders), with a population of 1,218,255 inhabitants.

Brussels Regional Express Network (RER/GEN) area), the population is 2,676,701.[34][35] Brussels is also part of a wider diamond-shaped conurbation, with Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven, which has about 4.4 million inhabitants (a little more than 40% of the Belgium's total population).[36][141]

[verification needed] 01-07-2004[142] 01-07-2005[142] 01-07-2006[142] 01-01-2008[142] 01-01-2015[142] 01-01-2019[142] 01-01-2020[142]
Brussels-Capital Region[142][verification needed] 1.004.239 1.012.258 1.024.492 1.048.491 1.181.272 1.208.542 1.218.255
-- of which legal immigrants[142][verification needed] 262.943 268.009 277.682 295.043 385.381 450.000 ?

Nationalities

Largest groups of foreign residents (2022)[143]
 France 68,418
 Romania 45,243
 Italy 35,154
 Morocco 33,955
 Spain 30,609
 Poland 20,060
 Portugal 18,968
 Bulgaria 13,104
 Germany 10,927
 Greece 9,675
Other countries/territories
 Syria 9,555
 Turkey 8,494
 Netherlands 8,287
 Democratic Republic of the Congo 7,836
 India 7,273
 United Kingdom 5,322
 Guinea 5,231
 Brazil 4,834
 Cameroon 4,473
 Algeria 2,996

There have been numerous migrations towards Brussels since the end of the 18th century, when the city acted as a common destination for

Belgian provinces (mainly rural residents from Flanders)[146] and France, then from Southern European, and more recently from Eastern European and African
countries.

Nowadays, Brussels is home to a large number of immigrants and

Statbel (the Belgian Statistical Office), in 2020, taking into account the nationality of birth of the parents, 74.3% of the population of the Brussels-Capital Region was of foreign origin and 41.8% was of non-European origin (including 28.7% of African origin). Among those aged under 18, 88% were of foreign origin and 57% of non-European origin (including 42.4% of African origin).[7]

This large concentration of immigrants and their descendants includes many of

naturalised following the great 1991 reform of the naturalisation process. In 2012, about 32% of city residents were of non-Belgian European origin (mainly expatriates from France, Romania, Italy, Spain, Poland, and Portugal) and 36% were 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.[149]

Languages

Languages spoken at home in the Brussels-Capital Region (2013)[150]
  French
  French and Dutch
  Dutch
  French and other language
  Neither French nor Dutch

Brussels was historically

Belgian independence.[162][163] Dutch — of which standardisation in Belgium was still very weak[164][165][163] — could not compete with French, which was the exclusive language of the judiciary, the administration, the army, education, cultural life and the media, and thus necessary for social mobility.[166][167][152][168][154] The value and prestige of the French language was universally acknowledged[152][169][156][163][170][171] to such an extent that after 1880,[172][173][164] and more particularly after the turn of the 20th century,[163] proficiency in French among Dutch-speakers in Brussels increased spectacularly.[174]

Although a majority of the population remained bilingual until the second half of the 20th century,

Bilingual French and Dutch street signs in Brussels

Nowadays, the Brussels-Capital Region is legally bilingual, with both French and Dutch having official status,[188] as is the administration of the 19 municipalities.[181] The creation of this bilingual, full-fledged region, with its own competencies and jurisdiction, had long been hampered by different visions of Belgian federalism. Nevertheless, some communitarian issues remain.[189][190] Flemish political parties demanded, for decades, that the Flemish part of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde (BHV) arrondissement be separated from the Brussels Region (which made Halle-Vilvoorde a monolingual Flemish electoral and judicial district). BHV was divided mid-2012. The French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial[191] and demands the extension of the bilingual region to at least all six municipalities with language facilities in the surroundings of Brussels.[d] Flemish politicians have strongly rejected these proposals.[192][193][194]

The municipalities with language facilities (in red) near Brussels

Owing to migration and to its international role, Brussels is home to a large number of native speakers of languages other than French or Dutch. Currently, about half of the population speaks a home language other than these two.[195] In 2013, academic research showed that approximately 17% of families spoke none of the official languages in the home, while in a further 23% a foreign language was used alongside French. The share of unilingual French-speaking families had fallen to 38% and that of Dutch-speaking families to 5%, while the percentage of bilingual Dutch-French families reached 17%. At the same time, French remains widely spoken: in 2013, French was spoken "well to perfectly" by 88% of the population, while for Dutch this percentage was only 23% (down from 33% in 2000);[181] the other most commonly known languages were English (30%), Arabic (18%), Spanish (9%), German (7%) and Italian and Turkish (5% each).[150] Despite the rise of English as a second language in Brussels, including as an unofficial compromise language between French and Dutch, as well as the working language for some of its international businesses and institutions, French remains the lingua franca and all public services are conducted exclusively in French or Dutch.[181]

The original dialect of Brussels (known as

Brabantic (the variant of Dutch spoken in the ancient Duchy of Brabant) with a significant number of loanwords from French, still survives among a small minority of inhabitants called Brusseleers[52] (or Brusseleirs), many of them quite bi- and multilingual, or educated in French and not writing in Dutch.[196][51] The ethnic and national self-identification of Brussels' inhabitants is nonetheless sometimes quite distinct from the French and Dutch-speaking communities. For the French-speakers, it can vary from Francophone Belgian, Bruxellois[54] (French demonym for an inhabitant of Brussels), Walloon (for people who migrated from the Walloon Region at an adult age); for Flemings living in Brussels, it is mainly either Dutch-speaking Belgian, Flemish or Brusselaar (Dutch demonym for an inhabitant), and often both. For the Brusseleers, many simply consider themselves as belonging to Brussels.[51]

Religions

Religions in the Brussels-Capital Region (2016)[197]

  
Roman Catholicism (40%)
  Islam (23%)
(3%)

Historically, Brussels has been predominantly

The National Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg

In reflection of its multicultural makeup, Brussels hosts a variety of religious communities, as well as large numbers of

Protestants and 4% were of another religion.[197]

As guaranteed by Belgian law, recognised religions and non-religious philosophical organisations (French: organisations laïques, Dutch: vrijzinnige levensbeschouwelijke organisaties)

Belgian Constitutional Court ruled religious studies could no longer be required in the primary and secondary educational systems.[202]

The Great Mosque of Brussels, former seat of the Islamic and Cultural Centre of Belgium

Brussels has a large concentration of

better source needed
]

Regions of Belgium[205] (1 January 2016) Total population People of Muslim origin % of Muslims
Belgium 11,371,928 603,642 5.3%
Brussels-Capital Region 1,180,531 212,495 18%
Wallonia 3,395,942 149,421 4.4%
Flanders 6,043,161 241,726 4.0%

Architecture

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.[206]

Manneken Pis, a well-known public sculpture

Very little

Breadhouse and the Baroque guildhalls of the former Guilds of Brussels. Manneken Pis, a fountain containing a small bronze sculpture of a urinating youth, is a tourist attraction and symbol of the city.[208]

The Grand-Place of Brussels, a UNESCO World Heritage Site

The

Palace of Justice (1883). The latter, designed by Joseph Poelaert, in eclectic style, is reputed to be the largest building constructed in the 19th century.[209]

Located outside the historical centre, in a greener environment bordering the

Royal Palace of Laeken and the Royal Domain with its large greenhouses, as well as the Museums of the Far East
.

Also particularly striking are the buildings in the

Major Town Houses of the Architect Victor HortaHôtel Tassel (1893), Hôtel van Eetvelde (1898), Hôtel Solvay (1900) and the Horta Museum (1901)—have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000.[83] Another example of Brussels' Art Nouveau is the Stoclet Palace (1911), by the Viennese architect Josef Hoffmann, designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in June 2009.[212]

Flagey Building in Ixelles

largest churches by area in the world, and its cupola provides a panoramic view of Brussels and its outskirts. Another example are the exhibition halls of the Centenary Palace, built for the 1935 World's Fair on the Heysel/Heizel Plateau in northern Brussels, home to the Brussels Exhibition Centre (Brussels Expo).[213]

The Atomium

The Atomium is a symbolic 103 m-tall (338 ft) modernist structure, located on the Heysel Plateau, which 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 André Waterkeyn devoted the building to science. It is now considered a landmark of Brussels.[214][215] Next to the Atomium, is Mini-Europe miniature park, with 1:25 scale maquettes of famous buildings from across Europe.

Since the second half of the 20th century, modern office towers have been built in Brussels (

Northern Quarter (also called Little Manhattan), near Brussels-North railway station. The South Tower, standing adjacent to Brussels-South railway station, is the tallest building in Belgium, at 148 m (486 ft). Along the North–South connection, is the State Administrative City, an administrative complex in the International Style. The postmodern buildings of the Espace Léopold
complete the picture.

The city's embrace of modern architecture translated into an ambivalent approach towards historic preservation, leading to the destruction of notable architectural landmarks, most famously the

Culture

Visual arts and museums

Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark memorial arcade and museums

Brussels

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), housed in the Old England
building, is part of the Royal Museums of Art and History, and is internationally renowned for its collection of over 8,000 instruments.

The Brussels Museums Council is an independent body for all the museums in the Brussels-Capital Region, covering around 100 federal, private, municipal, and community museums.[217] It promotes member museums through the Brussels Card (giving access to public transport and 30 of the 100 museums), the Brussels Museums Nocturnes (every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. from mid-September to mid-December) and the Museum Night Fever (an event for and by young people on a Saturday night in late February or early March).[218]

Brussels has had a distinguished artist scene for many years. The famous Belgian surrealists

Spirou, Gaston, Marsupilami, Blake and Mortimer, Boule et Bill and Cubitus (see Belgian comics). Throughout the city, walls are painted with large motifs of comic book characters; these murals taken together are known as Brussels' Comic Book Route.[46] 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 Magasins Waucquez textile department store, designed by Victor Horta in the Art Nouveau style. In addition, street art is changing the landscape of this multicultural city.[219]

Performing arts venues and festivals

Royal Theatre of La Monnaie

Brussels is well known for its performing arts scene, with the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie, the Royal Park Theatre, the Théâtre Royal des Galeries, and the Kaaitheater among the most notable institutions.

The Kunstenfestivaldesarts, an international performing arts festival, is organised every year in May. Its main hub is the Kaaitheater, but performances and artworks are also hosted in around 30 venues throughout the city.[220][221]

The

Le Flagey cultural centre hosts the Brussels Philharmonic.[222][223]

Other concert venues include

Palais 12/Paleis 12. Furthermore, the Jazz Station in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is a museum and archive on jazz, and a venue for jazz concerts.[224]

Other cultural events and festivals

Brussels Summer Festival (BSF)

Many events are organised or hosted in Brussels throughout the year. In addition, many festivals animate the Brussels scene.

The

Festival of Europe, an open day and activities in and around the institutions of the European Union, is held on 9 May. On Belgian National Day, on 21 July, a military parade and celebrations take place on the Place des Palais/Paleizenplein and in Brussels Park
, ending with a display of fireworks in the evening.

Some summer festivities include

urban music, around the end of June or early July, the Brussels Summer Festival (BSF), a music festival in August,[227] the Midi Fair, the most important yearly fair in Brussels, lasting more than a month, in July and August,[228] and Brussels Beach, when the banks of the canal are turned into a temporary urban beach.[229] Other biennial events are the Zinneke Parade, a colourful, multicultural parade through the city, which has been held since 2000 in May, as well as the popular Flower Carpet at the Grand-Place in August. Heritage Days are organised on the third weekend of September (sometimes coinciding with the car-free day) and are a good opportunity to discover the wealth of buildings, institutions and real estate in Brussels. The "Winter Wonders" animate the heart of Brussels in December; these winter activities were launched in Brussels in 2001.[230][231]

Folklore

Intangible Cultural Heritage

Brussels' identity owes much to its rich folklore and traditions, among the liveliest in the country.[232][233]

The

Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO.[234]

The Meyboom, an even-older folk tradition of Brussels (1308), celebrating the "May tree"—in fact, a corruption of the Dutch tree of joy—takes place paradoxically on 9 August. After parading a young beech in the city, it is planted in a joyful spirit with lots of music, Brusseleir songs, and processional giants. It has also been recognised as an expression of intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO, as part of the bi-national inscription "Processional giants and dragons in Belgium and France".[235][236] The celebration is reminiscent of the town's long-standing (folkloric) feud with Leuven, which dates back to the Middle Ages.

The Saint-Verhaegen/Sint-Verhaegen (often shortened to St V), a folkloric student procession, celebrating the anniversary of the founding of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), is held on 20 November. Since 2019, it has also been listed as intangible cultural heritage of the Brussels-Capital Region.[237][238][239]

Another good introduction to the Brusseleir

Le Mariage de Mademoiselle Beulemans by Frantz Fonson and Fernand Wicheler, and Bossemans et Coppenolle by Joris d'Hanswyck and Paul Van Stalle, are still the subject of regular revivals.[241]

Cuisine

Brussels is known for its local waffles.

Brussels is well 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.[242]

Owing to Brussels' cosmopolitan population, almost every national cuisine in the world can be found there. The gastronomic offer includes approximately 1,800

coffee houses are called salons de thé (literally "tea salons"). Also widespread are brasseries
, which usually offer a variety of beers and typical national dishes.

friteries
are spread throughout the city, and in tourist areas, fresh hot waffles are also sold on the street.

As well as other

Kriek
, a cherry lambic, is available in almost every bar or restaurant in Brussels.

Brussels is known as the birthplace of the Belgian endive. The technique for growing blanched endives was accidentally discovered in the 1850s at the Botanical Garden of Brussels in Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.[246]

Shopping

Flea market on the Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein

Famous

Rue Neuve/Nieuwstraat, the second busiest shopping street in Belgium (after the Meir, in Antwerp) with a weekly average of 230,000 visitors,[247][248] home to popular international chains (H&M, C&A, Zara, Primark), as well as the City 2 and Anspach galleries.[249] The Royal Saint-Hubert Galleries hold a variety of luxury shops and some six million people stroll through them each year.[250] The neighbourhood around the Rue Antoine Dansaert/Antoine Dansaertstraat has become, in recent years, a focal point for fashion and design;[251] this main street and its side streets also feature Belgium's young and most happening artistic talent.[252]

In Ixelles, the Avenue de la Toison d'Or/Gulden-Vlieslaan and the

Avenue Louise/Louizalaan is lined with high-end fashion stores and boutiques, making it one of the most expensive streets in Belgium.[253]

There are shopping centres outside the inner ring: Basilix, Woluwe Shopping Center, Westland Shopping Center, and Docks Bruxsel, which opened in October 2017.

Brussels-South station and the Boulevard du Midi/Zuidlaan is reputed to be one of the largest markets in Europe.[256]

Sports

20 km of Brussels

Sport in Brussels is under the responsibility of the

BLOSO).[258]

The

1985 European Cup Final which saw 39 deaths due to hooliganism and structural collapse.[260] The King Baudouin Stadium is also home of the annual Memorial Van Damme athletics event, Belgium's foremost track and field competition, which is part of the Diamond League. Other important athletics events are the Brussels Marathon[261] and the 20 km of Brussels, an annual run with 30,000 participants.[262]

Football

R.S.C. Anderlecht fans at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium

Racing White Daring Molenbeek, based in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, and often referred to as RWDM, is a very popular football club that, since 2023, is back playing in the Belgian Pro League.[265][266]

Other Brussels clubs that played in the national series over the years were

Crossing Club de Schaerbeek
(born from a merger between RCS de Schaerbeek and Crossing Club Molenbeek), Scup Jette, RUS de Laeken, Racing Jet de Bruxelles, AS Auderghem, KV Wosjot Woluwe and FC Ganshoren.

Cycling

Brussels is home to notable

cycling races. The city is the arrival location of the Brussels Cycling Classic, formerly known as Paris–Brussels, which is one of the oldest semi classic bicycle races on the international calendar.[267] From World War I until the early 1970s, the Six Days of Brussels was organised regularly. In the last decades of the 20th century, the Grand Prix Eddy Merckx
was also held in Brussels.

Economy

Former Brussels Stock Exchange building

Serving as the centre of administration for Belgium and Europe, Brussels' economy is largely

Cantillon Brewery, a lambic brewery founded in 1900.[268]

Northern Quarter
business district

Brussels has a robust economy. The region contributes to one fifth of Belgium's

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).[271] 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%.[272]

There are approximately 50,000 businesses in Brussels, of which around 2,200 are foreign. This number is constantly increasing and can well explain the role of Brussels in Europe. 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.[273] In addition, Brussels holds more than 1,000 business conferences annually, making it the ninth most popular conference city in Europe.[274]

Brussels is rated as the 34th most important financial centre in the world as of 2020, according to the

BEL20
.

Media

Brussels is a centre of both media and communications in Belgium, with many Belgian television stations, radio stations,

Telenet
are all located there.

As English is spoken widely,

multilingual pan-European news channel Euronews also maintains an office in Brussels.[277]

Education

Tertiary education

Main building on the Solbosch campus of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

There are several

universities in Brussels. Except for the Royal Military Academy, a federal military college established in 1834,[278] all universities in Brussels are private and autonomous. The Royal Military Academy also the only Belgian university organised on the boarding school model.[279]

The

Dutch-speaking sister university, has about 10,000 students.[281] 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.[282]

Catholic University of Louvain, in the context of a merger between both universities.[284]

Still other universities have campuses in Brussels, such as the French-speaking Catholic University of Louvain (UCLouvain), which has 10,000 students in the city with its medical faculties at

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven)[287] (offering bachelor's and master's degrees in economics & business, law, arts, and architecture; 4,400 students). In addition, the University of Kent's Brussels School of International Studies
is a specialised postgraduate school offering advanced international studies.

Also a dozen of university colleges are located in Brussels, including two drama schools, founded in 1832: the French-speaking

Primary and secondary education

Most of Brussels pupils between the ages of 3 and 18 go to schools organised by the

EU institutions. The combined student population of the four European Schools in Brussels is around 10,000.[291]

Libraries

Royal Library of Belgium (KBR)

Brussels has a number of public or private-owned

libraries on its territory.[292] Most public libraries in Brussels fall under the competence of the Communities and are usually separated between French-speaking and Dutch-speaking institutions, although some are mixed.[verification needed
]

The

There are several academic libraries and archives in Brussels. The libraries of the

Science and technology

Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium

Science and technology in Brussels is well developed with the presence of several universities and research institutes. The Brussels-Capital Region is home to several national science and technology institutes including the National Fund for Scientific Research (NFSR), the Institute for the Encouragement of Scientific Research and Innovation of Brussels (ISRIB), the Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium (RASAB) and the Belgian Academy Council of Applied Sciences (BACAS). Several science parks associated with the universities are also spread over the region.

The

Belgian Federal Science Policy Office), on the Heysel Plateau in Laeken, is one of the largest in Europe.[299]

Healthcare

Erasmus Hospital in Anderlecht

Brussels is home to a thriving

university hospitals, a military hospital and more than 40 general hospitals and specialist clinics.[300]

Due to

linguistic communities and are thus monolingual French or Dutch by law. Other hospitals managed by a public authority must be legally bilingual. Private hospitals are legally not bound to either language, but most cater to both. However, all hospital emergency services in the Capital Region (whether part of a public or private hospital) are required to be bilingual, since patients transported by emergency ambulance cannot choose the hospital they will be brought to.[301]

Transport

Brussels has an extensive network of both private or public transportation means. Public transportation includes

trams, and metro (all three operated by the Brussels Intercommunal Transport Company (STIB/MIVB)), as well as a set of railway lines (operated by Infrabel) and railway stations served by public trains (operated by the National Railway Company of Belgium (NMBS/SNCB)). Air transport is available via one of the city's two airports (Brussels Airport and Brussels South Charleroi Airport), and boat transport is available via the Port of Brussels
. Bicycle-sharing and car-sharing public systems are also available.

The complexity of the Belgian political landscape makes some transportation issues difficult to solve. The Brussels-Capital Region is surrounded by the Flemish and Walloon regions, which means that the airports, as well as many roads serving Brussels (most notably the Brussels Ring) are located in the other two Belgian regions. The city is relatively car-dependent by northern European standards and is considered to be the most congested city in the world according to the INRIX traffic survey.[302]

Air

Brussels Airlines Airbus A319 landing at Brussels Airport in Zaventem

The Brussels-Capital Region is served by two airports, both located outside of the administrative territory of the region. The most notable is Brussels Airport, located in the nearby Flemish municipality of Zaventem, 12 km (10 mi) east of the capital, which can be accessed by highway (A201), train and bus. The secondary airport is Brussels South Charleroi Airport, located in Gosselies, a part of the city of Charleroi (Wallonia), some 50 km (30 mi) south-west of Brussels, which can be accessed by highway (E19 then E420) or a private bus. There is also Melsbroek Air Base, located in Steenokkerzeel, a military airport which shares its infrastructure with Brussels Airport. The aforementioned airports are also the main airports of Belgium.[303]

Water

View along the Brussels–Charleroi Canal in Anderlecht

Since the 16th century, Brussels has had its own harbour, the Port of Brussels. It has been enlarged throughout the centuries to become the second Belgian inland port. Historically situated near the Place Sainte-Catherine/Sint-Katelijneplein, it lies today to the north-west of the region, on the Brussels–Scheldt Maritime Canal (commonly called Willebroek Canal), which connects Brussels to Antwerp via the Scheldt. Ships and large barges up to 4,500 t (9,900,000 lb) can penetrate deep into the country, avoiding break-ups and load transfers between Antwerp and the centre of Brussels, hence reducing the cost for companies using the canal, and thus offering a competitive advantage.

Moreover, the connection of the Willebroek Canal with the

Hainaut (Wallonia). There, navigation can access the network of French canals, thanks to the important inclined plane of Ronquières and the lifts of Strépy-Bracquegnies
.

The importance of river traffic in Brussels makes it possible to avoid the road equivalent of 740,000 trucks per year—almost 2,000 per day—which, in addition to easing traffic problems, represents an estimated carbon dioxide saving of 51,545 t (113,637,000 lb) per year.[304]

Train

Main hall of Brussels-South railway station, home to the Eurostar train service to London

The Brussels-Capital Region has three main train stations:

Brussels-Central and Brussels-North, which are also the busiest of the country.[42] Brussels-South is also served by direct high-speed rail links: to London by Eurostar trains via the Channel Tunnel (1hr 51min); to Amsterdam[305] by Thalys and InterCity connections; to Amsterdam, Paris (1hr 50min and 1hr 25min respectively as of 6 April 2015), and Cologne by Thalys; and to Cologne (1hr 50min) and Frankfurt (2hr 57min) by the German ICE
.

The train rails in Brussels go underground, near the centre, through the North–South connection, with 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

Schaarbeek, Uccle-Calevoet, Uccle-Stalle, Vivier d'Oie-Diesdelle (Uccle), Merode and Watermael
.

Public transport

The

TEC network in Wallonia
.

Metro, trams and buses

Erasme/Erasmus metro station
Network map of the Brussels Metro

The

TEC
bus stops.

A comprehensive

tram network covers the region. As of 2017, the Brussels tram system consists of 17 tram lines (three of which – lines T3, T4 and T7 – qualify as premetro lines that partly travel over underground sections that were intended to be eventually converted into metro lines).[308] The total route length is 139 km (86 mi),[307] 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 (277 mi).[307]

Since April 2007, STIB/MIVB has also been operating a night bus network called Noctis on Friday and Saturday nights from midnight until 3 a.m.[309] The service consists of 11 routes (N04, N05, N06, N08, N09, N10, N11, N12, N13, N16 and N18).[310] The fare on these night buses is the same as during the day. All the lines leave from the Place de la Bourse/Beursplein in the city centre at 30 minutes intervals and cover all the main streets in the capital, as they radiate outwards to the suburbs.[311] Noctis services returned from 2 July 2021 after over a year of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic in Belgium.[309]

Ticketing

MoBIB is the STIB/MIVB electronic smart card, introduced in 2007, replacing the discontinued paper tickets. The hourly travel fare includes all means of transport (metro, tram and bus) operated by STIB/MIVB. Each trip has a different cost depending on the type of support purchased. Passengers can purchase monthly passes, yearly passes, 1 and 10-trip tickets and daily and 3-day passes. These can be bought over the Internet, but require customers to have a smart card reader. GO vending machines accept coins, local and international chip and PIN credit and debit cards.

Moreover, a complimentary interticketing system means that a combined STIB/MIVB ticket holder can, depending on the option, also use the train network operated by NMBS/SNCB and/or long-distance buses and commuter services operated by De Lijn or TEC. With this ticket, a single journey can include multiple stages across the different modes of transport and networks.

Other public transport

shared bicycles
in Brussels

Since 2003, Brussels has had a car-sharing service operated by the

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.[313] In 2012, the Zen Car electric car-sharing scheme was launched in the university and European areas, though it ceased operating in the city in 2020.[314]

Road network

The Rue de la Loi/Wetstraat is one of the city's main streets.

In medieval times, Brussels stood at the intersection of routes running north–south (the modern Rue Haute/Hoogstraat) and east–west (Chaussée de Gand/GentsesteenwegRue du Marché aux Herbes/GrasmarktRue 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. Nowadays, Brussels has the most congested traffic in North America and Europe, according to US traffic information platform INRIX.[315]

Brussels is the hub of a range of national roads, the main ones being clockwise: the

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

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.[317]

On the eastern side of the region, 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

Police

Policeman in Brussels

The Brussels local police, supported by the federal police, is responsible for law enforcement in Brussels. The 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region are divided into six police zones,[318] all bilingual (French and Dutch):

Fire department

The Brussels Fire and Emergency Medical Care Service, commonly known by its acronym SIAMU (DBDMH), operates in the 19 municipalities of Brussels.

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 greenest capitals in Europe, with over 8,000 hectares of green spaces.[320] Vegetation cover and natural areas are higher in the outskirts, where they have limited the peri-urbanisation of the capital, but they decrease sharply towards the centre of Brussels; 10% in the central Pentagon, 30% of the municipalities in the first ring, and 71% of the municipalities in the second ring are occupied by green spaces.

Many parks and gardens, both public and privately owned, are scattered throughout the city. In addition to this, the

Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and Other Regions of Europe'.[321]

Notable people

Twin towns – sister cities

Brussels is twinned with the following cities:[322]

See also

References

Footnotes

  1. ^ French pronunciation: [ʁeʒjɔ̃ bʁy(k)sɛl kapital] .
  2. ^ Dutch pronunciation: [ˈbrʏsəls ˌɦoːftˈsteːdələk xəˈʋɛst] . Gewest in isolation is pronounced [ɣəˈʋɛst] .
  3. ^ Brussels is not formally declared capital of the EU, though its position is spelled out in the Treaty of Amsterdam. See the section dedicated to this issue.
  4. ^ The six municipalities with language facilities around Brussels are Wemmel, Kraainem, Wezembeek-Oppem, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Linkebeek and Drogenbos.

Citations

  1. ^ a b c d Demey 2007.
  2. ^ a b "How Brussels became the capital of Europe 500 years ago". The Brussels Times. 21 April 2017. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  3. ^ a b c Herbez, Ariel (30 May 2009). "Bruxelles, capitale de la BD". Le Temps (in French). Switzerland. Retrieved 28 May 2010. Plus que jamais, Bruxelles mérite son statut de capitale de la bande dessinée.[dead link]
  4. ^ "be.STAT". bestat.statbel.fgov.be. Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 13 August 2020.
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Bibliography

External links