Best of the best
- 1MEININGER Hotel Brussels City Center
- 2Hotel Renaissance Brussels
- 3Hotel Aloft Brussels Schuman
- 4Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europe
- 5Hotel Thon EU
- 6Radisson Blu Royal Hotel
- 7Hotel Metropole
- 8Radisson Blu EU Hotel
- 11Hotel Bloom
- 12Hotel NH Grand Place Arenberg
Holiday facts and information about Brussels
Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the seat of the administration of the European Union. It is home to both French speaking and Flemish speaking communities. In total, about 1.8 million people live in its wider urban area.
By plane Brussels Airport is located in the Flemish municipality of Zaventem which lies right next to the capital. Brussels South Charleroi Airport, a smaller alternative to Brussels Airport, is about 30 miles away from the city itself.
The city has been associated with the Flemish and Dutch speaking community to a higher degree than with the French community throughout its long history. Since Belgian reached independence in 1830, however, there has been a development towards French culture. The city is officially bilingual today. Road signs and street names are displayed in both French and Flemish. There is still some tension between French and Flemish speakers concerning the question of how Brussels should be administered.
Country and People
Brussels' official date of foundation is usually accepted as 979, though there were settlements on the site for at least four hundred years prior to that. The city grew during the Middle Ages and its resident built the first city walls in the 1200s. The governments of Spain, Austria and France ruled over the city during its history. It was an important location during the Belgian Revolution of 1830. After the Belgian Revolution, Germans occupied Brussels in both World War I and World War II, but it suffered little damage.
Traditions and Culture
The city has remained a center for arts, including the performing arts, and culture over the years. One of the well-known artists who lived there was René Magritte. He studied in Brussels and became an influential surrealist painter. The Magritte Museum hosts the world's largest collection of works by René Magritte.
Although the majority of the population of Brussels consider themselves to be Roman Catholic, strict religious observance remains much rarer than it does in southern European countries such as Spain. There is also a significant Muslim minority in the city. It comprises of an estimated 25% of the population.
There are three main railway stations in Brussels. Moreover, there are several minor railway stations as well as the Brussels Metro underground railway. A comprehensive bus and tram network takes visitors to almost anywhere in the city and further destinations in the Flanders region.
It is possible to hire a car in Brussels, of course. Visitors can stay at a hotel in the city and easily explore the whole of Flanders. Many of Belgium's National Roads, designated by the letter 'N' and a number, pass through and around the city. The European Routes E19, E40 and E411 skirt the city's suburbs, linking Brussels to major cities elsewhere in Europe.
Discover and Enjoy
The Manneken Pis is a renowned fountain which features a bronze sculpture of a naked urinating boy. It is one of the city's most iconic sights. Almost every visitor to Brussels makes a point of seeing the Manneken Pis. Many buildings in the city center were designed by Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta. The Town Hall includes a Gothic style tower, and is one of Belgium's more famous civic buildings. Brussels' architecture is characteristic of its past as a center for politics and as a cultural meeting point. The Grand Place, for example, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site which attracts many tourists. Referred to as ‘Grote Markt’ in Dutch, the Grand Place is surrounded by a number of attractions, such as the town's guild hall and the Breadhouse. The Atomium is a 337 ft high sculpture of an iron crystal, with its nine steel spheres connected by tubes. The Atomium was built in 1958 for the Brussels World's Fair.
RSC Anderlecht, with their distinctive purple kit, remains one of Europe's most reputable soccer clubs. Unfortunately, they recently enjoy less fame and success outside Belgium than they used to. Sports fans should not only visit Anderlecht, but also go to the King Badouin Stadium. It is located on the site of the former Heysel Stadium which holds 50,000 people. International soccer matches take place there as well as other sporting and cultural events.
When it comes to food and drinks, Belgium is famous for a number of hearty treats. Beer is one of Belgium's major contributions to world cuisine. The local cherry beer, or Kriek, is very popular, for example. A famous item of the Belgian cuisine is the Brussels waffle, a delicious dessert. French fries, mussels and chocolate also have a long association with the Belgian cuisine.