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Beer, waffles and festivals - if this is what you're looking for you will find them in abundance when you visit the Belgium’s capital city (pop: 1 000 000). Brussels is the major gateway for the country: it is on the main route heading inland from the Channel ports via the Flemish art towns, and it is also a convenient stopover on the train between France and the Netherlands.

Brussels took its name from “Broekzele”, or “city of the marsh”, which developed in the sixth century on the trade route between Cologne and Bruges / Ghent. Under the Habsburgs the town flourished, eventually becoming capital of the Spanish Netherlands. In the 19th century it became the capital of the newly-independent Belgium. Although nowadays, the city is often primarily regarded as a destination for businesspeople or diplomats — it is the headquarters for the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) — there is plenty to see and do for other travelers. Manneken Pis, plenty of impressive museums, delicious chocolate and a city centre divided into the upper and the lower town with a beautiful cathedral and the Grote Markt where you can enjoy your Belgian beers. Brussels requires a minimum of two nights to get a feeling for the city but an even longer stay should be planned if there is a festival in town.

While Brussels is a safe city, some areas are prone to crime, especially at night. Be careful when walking near the westward arc between North and Midi railway stations and Rogier and De Brouckere Metro stations.

Note: Brussels is an international city, and there is a parity between the French and Flemish-speaking Belgians. As a result, every instance of the written word, from road signs to the yellow pages, appears in both languages.

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Text credits:
May 05, 2005 new by travellingmap (1 point)
February 23, 2007 change by rfujitani (1 point)
May 16, 2006 change by spoeli
May 05, 2005 change by giorgio
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