Brussels, a multicultural chameleon
A multicultural city with a thousand faces, Brussels has surprises in store at every street corner. A majestic historic centre, a unique ambiance, a huge array of activities for both younger and older people, and moderate prices… the capital of Belgium and Europe holds all the trump cards!
A little of everything
If you like diversity, Brussels won’t disappoint you, for this city is a veritable chameleon where you can slip directly from one universe to another! You only need to walk a few metres from the working-class Marolles to the aristocratic Sablon… in the same way you can pass from the mediaeval Grand’Place full of tourists to the very trendy St Géry district! In the same sort of contrasts, the sophisticated futurism of glass-fronted office buildings often sits next door to stylish Neo-Classical or Moderne-style houses!
History, a source of wealth
Multicultural Brussels has always known how to make the most of its many foreign influences: from foreign invaders and occupiers before it gained independence in 1830 to the present-day ebb and flow of economic migrants! Today around 300,000 of the 1 million residents of the city’s 19 communes are foreign citizens. There are many employees of the European institutions, of course, but also many other nationalities!
Conviviality, surrealism and “joie de vivre”
The cosmopolitan side of Brussels blends seamlessly with its warm-hearted, family-centred, working-class side. As you discover the “Brussels spirit” you will see that it is based on a self-mocking and surreal sense of humour, washed down with plenty of beer, not to mention chocolate, and a passion for good food! Should you want to talk about it, just sit down on any terrace and start talking to your neighbours!
From the Manneken-Pis to the Atomium
The history of Brussels can also be read through its architectural heritage, of which the masterpiece is the sumptuously mediaeval Grand’Place, not forgetting the Manneken-Pis and the Atomium. But that’s not all: Brussels also has many historic houses that have been proudly preserved, and it is also the home of Art Nouveau, Victor Horta and Art Deco! Today, the city’s Art Nouveau buildings are its visiting-card and their international fame has led to the renovation of Victor Horta’s house as the Horta Museum and the former Waucquez department store (also by Horta) as the Belgian Strip Cartoon Centre.
A city in strip cartoons
Have you ever heard of the “Ninth Art”? If you are from Brussels then the answer is undoubtedly yes! For you can’t avoid strip cartoons in the capital city, and their many characters all show aspects of the Belgian character in an unassuming way! For they are set apart from super-heroes by being human, imperfect and easily-recognisable…The Strip Cartoon Trail is an amusing way to discover the city in the company of Tintin, Astérix or Lucky Luke. The trail takes you past a collection of huge strip cartoon murals, painted by local artists on the city’s buildings damaged in the two world wars. In metro stations, on crowded squares and outside museums, you’ll find strip cartoons everywhere!
The city’s rich history has certainly not slowed down its modernisation! Artistic creativity is omnipresent in Brussels…designers, jewellers, hoteliers, bar-owners and restaurateurs have all worked together recently to give Brussels a new vibe! The result is a city which delights each visitor, be they an architecture fan, an art-lover, a gourmet or a night owl!