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Brussels, Belgium, Europe
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Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel;) is the capital city of Belgium. As headquarters of man...
Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel;) is the capital city of Belgium. As headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union. Lying at the crossroads of cultures (the Germanic in the North and the Romance in the South) and playing an important role in Europe Brussels fits the definition of the archetypal melting pot, but still retains its own unique character. Population of the Brussels metropolitan area is just over 2 million. Brussels encompasses many charming and beautiful attractions, with deeply ornate buildings on the Grand'Place (Grote Markt), and a fish-and-crustacean overdose of St. Catherine's Square (Place St-Catherine / Sint-Katelijneplein). Stroll along, (and stop in for a drink) at one of the many bars on Place St-Géry (Sint-Goriks), or max out your credit card on the trendy Rue Antoine Dansaert (Antoine Dansaertstraat). As Brussels became the capital city of a new country in the 19th century, the old town was destroyed to make way for brand new ministries, palaces, schools, army barracks and office blocks all built between 1880 and 1980. Unfortunately, that is why such a disappointingly small historic centre (one square and four adjacent streets) was preserved, and why most tourists only visit Brussels as an afterthought. Travellers concentrate on the classic top 4 of Bruges, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven of Belgium. Brussels operates as a bilingual city where both French and Dutch are official languages. Thus all the streets have two names, which can sound totally different. For example, the Main Square is called both la Grand Place and de Grote Markt. Although French is the lingua franca, the proportion of French and Dutch-speakers is different in different neigbourhoods and boroughs. English is also widely understood, but not always widely spoken. You can see what's going on in Brussels by picking up a copy of local free city rag Zone 02. Another good free listings paper is Agenda, which is distributed together with the dutch-language weekly Brussel Deze Week and has the notable advantage of being published in three languages (English, Dutch, French). Both of these are distributed in cafés and bars around the city. If you're looking for a good party, online listing Net Events (French and Dutch) and Ready2Move, are a good place to start. Brussels Agenda is the official cultural and entertainment agenda of the City of Brussels and the francophone Médiatheque have a website featuring the upcoming concerts in Brussels and the rest of Belgium. Be aware, however, that their listings page is specialised so it only features the concerts the Médiatheque staff are interested in. The most widely read English magazine is The Bulletin which, apart from covering Belgian and EU news, also offers arts and lifestyle stories, as well as in-depth events listings and a TV guide.

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