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5 Things To Know About Brussels

Welcome to the world of waffles, chocolates, beers, and French fries. Encounter all sorts of things in diversified ways from people to architecture to food to festivals, fashion, and more!

Brussels, Belgium–located at the heart of Western Europe, it is the capital of Belgium and also of the state of Flanders, the headquarters of most of the known Belgian and international Europe-based companies, not to mention that it is the home to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Brussels has over a century of history that gives too many interesting sights to visit and see the city and the immediate area. Brussels has the most fabulous market square and the largest concentration of restaurants around the world.

Brussels has many attractions for the whole family – business people, families, nature lovers, devotees of culture and historians alike.

The central market square in Brussels is known as the Grand Place, which is above all the most beautiful in the world. A 15th century Town Hall dominates the Grand Place, with hundreds of small statues and an elegant tower is surrounded by 17th century buildings with golden inlays which surround the whole square.

There are a variety of things to do in Brussels, regardless of age or fantasies.For those who like to eat, you can spend a lifetime sampling all the wonderful restaurants and places to eat in Brussels, which boasts the largest concentration of restaurants in the world. Restaurants in Brussels features a wide variety of food types and styles for all tastes.

Throughout this historic beautiful city, restaurants, eateries and quaint cafes abound, offering a plate of enlightening flavor to satisfy every palate. Visiting Brussels means to enjoy good food in a beautiful environment. Brussels is known worldwide for its high class restaurants and cozy little restaurants that are colorful and classy.

For those who want to enjoy the rich history of Brussels, there is a surplus of museums that have wonderful and flavorful richness of a millennium in Brussels.

Sightseeing is abundant in Brussels. With beautiful boulevards, picturesque squares, parks and a very active cultural life in every sense of the word, there is something for everyone in Brussels. You can take in a movie or a play in a theater, dine at one of the many restaurants, and visit the monuments and places of interest abound in this beautiful city.

Fun for the whole family is offered in the heart of Belgium’s capital Brussels. Cinemas, shopping malls, parks, forests, museums, cultural centers and places of interest abound in this beautiful city. Boredom is impossible in Brussels – there is always something to do or see in this beautiful city. A rich social life is just around the corner in Brussels, all you have to do is see what they have to offer during your visit.

History

Brussels has been a place for settlement since prehistoric times, but became a remarkable agreement after Saint Gery built a chapel on the river Senne in 695, now called Place St. Gery. The city of Brussels was officially founded in 979 by Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine, who scored the first city charter of Brussels. Brussels has seen many rulers, revivals and revolutions.

Middle Ages 979 – 1500
After the beginning of charter, Brussels developed rapidly from a village into a city. It was the center of trade between the cities of Bruges, Ghent and Cologne, where the river Senne met the economic path that stretched from east to west. The first set of city walls were completed in the 11th century and with greater protection, it precipitated the growth of its population. A second wall was built shortly after protecting the citizens and industry, that spill out of the walls.

At the level of economic development, Brussels exported luxury items such as fabrics and tapestries from Paris and Venice. Tapestries can still be seen on display in European museums such as the Louvre.

Renaissance and Revolution 1500 – 1830
The next period of the 15th century was marked by rebellions and uprisings. In late 15th century, Brussels temporarily lost favor and its title of capital after an uprising against the Roman Emperor Maximilian I.

Regained its status after Charles V had reigned between 1519 and 1559. Ruled by the Calvinists in the mid 1500s and then ruled by Archduke Albert I (1698-1633), the city had grown to a population of 50,000 in the mid-16th century.

In 1695, the bombardment of Brussels by King Louis XIV of France, left the Grand Place that ruins life and thousands of buildings across the city were destroyed on the ground. Brussels reconstruction was carried out by several craftmen guilds, left their mark historical construction of the guild houses that gave the Grand Place, a rectangular shaped.

Modern history 1830 – present
Last great revolt of Belgium was in 1830 when they protested against King William of the Netherlands to gain independence. King Leopold I, who was the uncle of Queen Victoria, became the first King of the Kingdom of Belgium on 21 July 1831.

The city walls were taken during this period (1810-1840) and replaced by a set of streets as a pentagon following the original outline of the old city of Brussels, called the Inner Ring Road.

The Universal Exhibition in Brussels in 1958 and in 1970 the construction of the Berlaymont building, home of the European Governments, began. The European Union and NATO moved their headquarters to Brussels, becoming the city in an International meeting point for the XXI century.

The People

Brussels is a cosmopolitan city that the locals are accustomed to meet people from many different cultures and generally are open-minded and friendly. Belgians are funny people, kind and hip with a great sense of humor.

Language
In Brussels, the most common language is French. This is spoken in most service establishments such as restaurants, supermarkets, shops and airports,etc. English is also widely accepted and many waiters do not mind talking in French and English depending on the guest’s native language. Business is usually conducted in English.

The population of 951,580 numbers in Brussels, most of them speak French. While the Walloons in the south are French-speaking peoples, while the northern Flemish peoples speak Dutch.

Most of the inhabitants of Brussels are Roman Catholics, however, there is also an active Jewish community, and Turkish migrant workers, who are Muslim, are also an important community.

Remember that Brussels is a bi-cultural and bilingual society. French business culture tends to be a little more formal, openness and informality are most prized among the Dutch-speakers.

The Belgians in Brussels love the visual arts and performing arts. The National Orchestra and National Opera are internationally renowned and the city is home to more than 30 independent theaters.

In addition, the urban landscape of Brussels is an artwork itself. Alternative rock music seems to have caught the heat among the city young people. Brussels the ‘media rivals Paris’, as the most uninhibited. It would not be surprising to see a posted ads next to the tallest building in town with a woman shows with her completely.

Greetings and Small Talk
When greeting someone hello or goodbye, usually a kiss on the cheek is normal. If you know a person from Belgium for the first time it is unusual to talk about “what you do for a living.” However, since many Belgians working in International Environments, do not be surprised if they ask you. Other issues are about to minimize the politics, language and bad reviews about Belgium.

On the Street
Things you can see in the streets, which are perfectly normal are standing on one side of the escalator, dogs, kissing and cars cutting in front of pedestrians in crosswalks.  Other ways to stand out are the dogs, which is a common sight everywhere and is not illegal to bring them into restaurants, cafes and public transport. Public displays of affection such as kissing in public is also quite normal, just try not to look!

And finally, if you are crossing a pedestrian make eye contact and wave politely to the driver to cross with care. Many drivers are in a hurry and will not stop if they think there is a chance to beat you through the crossing.

In general, the Belgians love to have a fun and tend to do so often and publicly. They do however, have a refined sense of appropriate public behavior that seems to be self-regulation. This results in the police kept a fairly low profile, except disorderly conduct and being too drunk. As a rule, enjoy yourself, but do it with a sense of self-control, discretion and respect. It is also important to remember that by law everyone is required to carry identification always.

Government

Belgium became independent in 1830 and Brussels became the capital of Belgium, under a new king and parliament.

Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is an independent congress, the mayor and administration, all whom are elected by the people.

On June 18, 1989, the citizens of Brussels elected their regional representatives directly for the first time because of the Brussels-Capital Region is considered an autonomous region in the rest of the country of Belgium, which is a constitutional monarchy.

On July 14, 1993, the Belgian Parliament approved the creation of a federal state of Belgium, which amended the Constitution and Devolution acts to give back to the regions (including Brussels) more political power.

Local Governments
Brussels Region has about 1 million inhabitants in 19 municipalities. Each of these municipalities has its own government as well. There is a mayor and a cabinet for each municipality that are responsible for local schools, some roads, town planning, fire services, water supply and social work.

When residents move from one municipality to another, they must enroll in the new community to receive a new resident card – these are not equivalent to identity cards, which are published separately.

Although it may seem the city is divided, you will not be able to see many differences between the communities because they are linked by a transport system and a host of other shared services.

Local laws of Brussels
Tipping – which is not customary to tip in restaurants because the bills already include a service charge. Taxi drivers, hairdressers and other services also do not need advice service tips.

Drinking age – the legal drinking age is 16 in any bars but 18 years of age in alcoholic beverages with more than 22% alcohol.

Taxi stands – usually taxis waiting at taxi stands, you will not find many taxis running around waiting for people to flag them. You can wave a taxi if it is over 100 meters from a taxi stand.

Driving – driving rules in Brussels may differ from your country. The rule to turn right of priority, for example, is universal on all roads except those marked with special signs.

Cycling – bike lanes are not as abundant, but they are there. Keep right and at least 1 meter away from parked cars.

The Government Building
Opposite the palace is the “Palace of the Nation” or the Belgian Parliament. During the reconstruction of the royal quarter in 1777, the city authorities decided to build a new building for the Council of Brabant.

Geography

The Geography of Brussels
Brussels is bordered by the Walloon and Flemish regions, surrounded by the Senne River Valley and is located approximately 60 miles (97 kilometers) away from the North Sea. The city of Brussels is more or less like a pentagon shape that surrounded by wide avenues (Ring Petit) built on the site of the ancient walls.

The capital of Belgium and the county of Brabant, on the Senne, Brussels has a population of over 1 million inhabitants. Let’s talk about the city of Brussels for the city and the Brussels Capital Region for the neighborhood. The regions are part of institutions in Belgium are very complex, the people of Brussels have to live and work along with inhabitants of Flanders and the French community. Brussels is also the capital of Flanders and the French Community Wallonia-Brussels.

“language frontier” divides Belgium along an imaginary line between the cities of Courtrai-Brussels-Maastricht in a north region of the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking south (Wallonia). The Flemish population represents between 15 and 18% of Brussels (but 60% of Belgium), the rest of the population (80%) is composed French-Speaking-Walloons.

Brussels city is divided into two segments – Lower Town and Upper Town.
The Lower Town is based on the Senne Valley and is the principal place of business and industries, and it includes the historical heritage of the city.
The Upper Town, on the eastern slopes of the valley, is mainly residential and Government holding the building of Parliament, Royal Palace and the offices of the Ministries.

Climate
Brussels has a temperate climate with four seasons spanning the whole year. Because of its proximity to the coast, Brussels has a temperate climate all year-round, which unfortunately results in a lot of gray skies and rainy weather with the average low at 1°C in winter and only 23°C in summer. The winds tend to be slightly stronger in winter, but the most consistent weather pattern would be the rain. Snow is possible, but it does not happen very often. The hottest months are July and August when the temperatures can reach 22 ° C (72 ° F), but can also be the wettest with heavy rainfall. There is also plenty of rain during the winter months and temperatures dropping to 4-7°C (39-45°F).

Prominent Places
The heart of Brussels, in the lower town, the Grand Place, a large square surrounded by medieval and Renaissance buildings. These include the ornate Hôtel de Ville (town hall) and a number of gold in the guild halls. In the upper town, in front of Brussels Park, is the parliament building, government ministries, and the royal palace with the king’s office. The royal residence, surrounded by an immense park, is situated in Laeken, a commune in the north.

Music

What is music? That brings color to the words, places, faces and things. Music is the best way to discover Wallonia and Brussels. Among the notes, rhythms and refrains that you can seamlessly discover which makes beating this country, their traditions, their moods, their influences and music mixes that have left a mark on the history of Belgium. Music can not wait for concert halls. It can be heard everywhere in the streets of Brussels. Not just the bands and celebrations that take place regularly in parks and on sidewalks, but also to the syncopated rhythms of jazz.

Live music
Live folk music has always been a particular strong point of Brussels and a half-dozen places that are well established in the acts of popularity on a regular basis and provide a forum for all musical styles, from jazz to reggae. Classical music also has stores in the capital, along with plays, tend to be housed in places of the city’s classiest.

It is easy to quench your thirst for music in Brussels. Le Grain d’Orge is a prime location in Elsene live music around town. From soothing blues and groovy jazz playing wonderful feet pounding rock and pop, music lovers can find their favorites here, depending on the night of the week.

Brussels Jazz Marathon
The Brussels Jazz Marathon, this musical and cultural event takes in every corner of the capital. The perfect opportunity for tourists and Brussels not only to enjoy Belgian chocolate, but also the sweetest melodies in all. It ensures that everyone can find their taste in music in the program. Jazz, Latin, funk, rock and blues, whatever your favorite flavor music that can satisfy your appetite in music.

Ars Musica
The contemporary music festival “Ars Musica” has built a reputation as a benchmark in Europe. Each year, it brings together of works by famous composers and those who are writing the sounds.

Klara Festival
The Klara Festival has very strong reputation, the Wallonia Festival. In Brussels, there are numerous events and concerts, covering all classical music, with special emphasis on symphonic music, baroque and chamber music.

The music is abound with landscapes, fields, villages, forests and cities of art in Wallonia and Brussels. Music brings joy to the hearts of the people and enabled them to build profane and religious temples. With them, the music opens the doors of monasteries, castles and opera houses. Moreover, the festivals bring people closer together.

Sandy

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