Brussels, Belgium: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Brussels is the capital of Belgium with the population of approximately 1 million. Being the headquarters for many of the European Union’s offices it is considered to be the administrative center of the European Economic Community. Numerous museums, historic landmarks, well-maintained parks, regular festivals have assigned the city a stutus of European cultural capital.
Many international businesses established in Brussels in the middle of the 20th century resulted in the mix of the old and the new: modern glass constructions are integrated into well-preserved 17th-century quarters with cobbled narrow streets.
Brussels is a bilingual city with two official languages: French and Dutch (Flemish). All the streets have two names, all public transport announcements are said in two languages. English is also widespread because of the international organizations set in the city. One third of Brussels’ million population are expats and non-residents, so Arabic or Turkish languages are likely to be heard on the streets of the city.
Brussels consists of 19 municipalities, but most sightseings, chain hotels and cheap hostels, restaurants and street cafés are concentrated in the historical center which is divided into two main areas: Lower Town and Upper Town. The Lower Town features the Bourse and the quarters around Grand-Place while the smaller Upper Town includes Palais Royal, the medieval church of Notre Dame du Sablon, Palais de Justice and some outstanding museums.
Among the Brussels iconic monuments is Atomium, a symbol of the 1958 World’s Fair. It’s easy to explore the city from the deck of the hop-on hop-off buses covering all the main sightseeings.
Brussels is a top destination for chocolate and beer lovers. Brewery and chocolate making history dates from the 17th century. These industries attract many visitors and form a considerable part of the Belgian economy.