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The Palais Royal is open to the public

Enjoy the splendor at Palais Royal

Find splendid boutiques in the St Hubert Galleries

Especially the Grote Markt is beautifully lit at night

Brussels is a great place to go beer tasting

The amazing Atomium, representing a blown up iron molecule

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Brussels: the heart of Europe


Buzzing Brussels is a great place to get a real feel for what Europe is like. Since the European Parliament and the European Committee are based in Brussels, the city is by many considered to be the capital of the European Union. The European institutions and the headquarters of the NATO have brought people from all over the continent to Belgium’s capital, which gives the city a very international and dynamic buzz. Most so-called ‘eurocrats’ (people working for the European institutions) are to be found in the European Quarter, where the European Parliament is found. 

Brussels has a lot more to offer than just politics. Just like in many Belgian cities, life revolves around the Grote Markt, the main square. The Grote Markt features the beautiful 15th century city hall. Inside, you will find amazing 17th and 18th century art works. Around the square, there are many great shops and bars, offering Belgian delights like chocolate, beer, mussels and waffles. It is worth going to the Grote Markt at night, when the detailed renaissance façades are beautifully lit.

Just around the corner from the square is the famous statue “Manneken Pis”. The bronze little fellow dates back from 1619, and is often dressed up in accordance with the news or the season. Also close to the Grote Markt, shoppers and architecture lovers should also visit the Saint Hubert Galleries, the first mall in Europe. Built in 1837, its splendid high arches are loved by many, just like its chic boutiques, galleries and restaurants.   

The Brussels metro system provides you with an easy way to get around the city. It can take you to metro station Heizel, your stop for the Royal Palace and the famous buildings of the 1958 World Expo. In this massive park, you will find Mini Europe, a miniature city with important European buildings. Right next door is the World Expo’s eyecatcher, the Atomium. This building portrays an iron molecule blown up 165 billion times. With the elevator you can reach the top of the Atomium, where you will have an amazing view. And don’t miss out on the World Expo’s Chinese pavilion, which is very close to the Atomium. It is an absolute must-go for porcelain lovers.

If you continue through the park, you will see the palace of the current king of Belgium, Albert II. His son and crown prince Philippe lives across the road with his wife Mathilde. If you would like to see a palace from the inside, go to Palais Royal. It is one of Albert’s residences that is open to the public.