51 Facts About Brussels


Brussels is the most densely populated region in Belgium, and although it has the highest GDP per capita, it has the lowest available income per household.

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Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe.

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Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches.

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Brussels is a hub for rail, road and air traffic, and is sometimes considered, together with Belgium, as the geographic, economic and cultural crossroads of Europe.

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Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomic offer, as well as its historical and architectural landmarks; some of them are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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The official founding of Brussels is usually said to be around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lorraine transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to Saint Gaugericus' chapel.

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Brabant was integrated into this composite state, and Brussels flourished as the Princely Capital of the prosperous Burgundian Netherlands, known as the Seventeen Provinces.

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Brussels was captured by France in 1746, during the War of the Austrian Succession, but was handed back to Austria three years later.

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The Free University of Brussels was established in 1834 and Saint-Louis University in 1858.

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Brussels became one of the major European cities for the development of the Art Nouveau style in the 1890s and early 1900s.

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In recent years, Brussels has become an important venue for international events.

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City of Brussels is the capital of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community.

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The Brussels Agglomeration was an administrative division established in 1971.

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Brussels Agglomeration had a separate legislative council, but the by-laws enacted by it did not have the status of a legislative act.

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Brussels serves as de facto capital of the European Union, hosting the major political institutions of the Union.

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Early building in Brussels was sporadic and uncontrolled, with little planning.

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Brussels has, since World War II, become the administrative centre of many international organisations.

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Brussels is third in the number of international conferences it hosts, becoming one of the largest convention centres in the world.

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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 intergovernmental military alliance which later became the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

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Brussels is located in one of the most urbanised regions of Europe, between Paris, London, the Rhine-Ruhr, and the Randstad (Netherlands).

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In general, the population of Brussels is younger than the national average, and the gap between rich and poor is wider.

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Brussels is the core of a built-up area that extends well beyond the region's limits.

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Brussels is part of a wider diamond-shaped conurbation, with Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven, which has about 4.

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Nowadays, Brussels is home to a large number of immigrants and emigre communities, as well as labour migrants, former foreign students or expatriates, and many Belgian families in Brussels can claim at least one foreign grandparent.

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Brussels was historically Dutch-speaking, using the Brabantian dialect, but over the two past centuries French has become the predominant language of the city.

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The ethnic and national self-identification of Brussels' inhabitants is nonetheless sometimes quite distinct from the French and Dutch-speaking communities.

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The pre-eminent Catholic cathedral in Brussels is the Cathedral of St Michael and St Gudula, serving as the co-cathedral of the Archdiocese of Mechelen–Brussels.

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Brussels has a large concentration of Muslims, mostly of Moroccan, Turkish, Syrian and Guinean ancestry.

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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.

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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.

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Brussels has had a distinguished artist scene for many years.

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Brussels is 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.

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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.

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

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

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Brussels is known for its local waffle, its chocolate, its French fries and its numerous types of beers.

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Brussels is home to Union Saint-Gilloise, the most successful Belgian club before World War II, with 11 titles.

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House prices have 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.

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Brussels is rated as the 34th most important financial centre in the world as of 2020, according to the Global Financial Centres Index.

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Brussels is a centre of both media and communications in Belgium, with many Belgian television stations, radio stations, newspapers and telephone companies having their headquarters in the region.

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Saint-Louis University, Brussels was founded in 1858 and is specialised in social and human sciences, with 4, 000 students, and located on two campuses in the City of Brussels and Ixelles.

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Also a dozen of university colleges are located in Brussels, including two drama schools, founded in 1832: the French-speaking Conservatoire Royal and its Dutch-speaking equivalent, the Koninklijk Conservatorium.

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Brussels has a number of public or private-owned libraries on its territory.

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Science and technology in Brussels is well developed with the presence of several universities and research institutes.

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Brussels is home to a thriving pharmaceutical and health care industry which includes pioneering biotechnology research.

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

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Train rails in Brussels go underground, near the centre, through the North–South connection, with Brussels Central Station being largely underground.

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Today, Brussels has the most congested traffic in North America and Europe, according to US traffic information platform INRIX.

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Brussels is the hub of a range of national roads, the main ones being clockwise: the N1, 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).

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Brussels has an orbital motorway, numbered R0 and commonly referred to as the Ring.

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Brussels is one of the greenest capitals in Europe, with over 8, 000 hectares of green spaces.

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