The City of Brussels is the largest municipality and historical centre of the Brussels-Capital Region, and the de jure capital of Belgium. Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch, even though French is now the de facto main language with over 90% of the population speaking it. Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomy, as well as its historical and architectural landmarks; some of them are registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites. Main attractions include its historic Grand Place, Manneken Pis and the Atomium. It is also a capital of the comic strip.
The Grand Place
The Grand Place or “Grand Square” is the central square of Brussels. It is surrounded by opulent guildhalls and two larger edifices, the city’s Town Hall, and the King’s House or Breadhouse building containing the Museum of the City of Brussels. The square is the most important tourist destination and most memorable landmark in Brussels. It is also considered as one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998.
St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is a Roman Catholic church in Brussels, Belgium. The church was given cathedral status in 1962 and has since been the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, together with St. Rumbold’s Cathedral in Mechelen. The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is located on Place Sint Gudulaplein, east of Boulevard de Keizerinlaan.
Parc du Cinquantenaire
The Parc du Cinquantenaire or Jubelpark is not only a park but a national landmark in Brussels. The name means ‘Park of the fiftieth anniversary’ and it was built during the reign of Leopold II to commemorate fifty years of Belgian independence. Symbolically, the Cinquantenaire Park in Brussels is built in the shape of a pentagon, like the inner and outer rings of the city. Cinquantenaire sits just outside the inner circle, and is close to the European Quarter.
Try Belgium Waffles
Best waffles ever! In Brussels, you pass so many waffle shops. Once you have tasted one, do you want even more. They may also be served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert. You must try one!
The Atomium is a landmark building in Brussels, originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. It is located on the Heysel Plateau, where the exhibition took place. It is now a museum. The Atomium represents a single unit of iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. There are 9 spheres representing atoms which are connected by tubes with escalators and lifts. Each sphere is about the size of a large apartment (18m diameter). Designed by the engineer André Waterkeyn and architects André and Jean Polak, it stands 102 m tall.
The Famous Manneken Pis is a landmark small bronze sculpture in the centre of Brussels, depicting a naked little boy urinating into a fountain’s basin. Manneken Pis is the best-known symbol of the people of Brussels. It also embodies their sense of humour and their independence of mind. Manneken Pis is located only five minutes’ walk from the Grand Place.