Brussels, the capital of Belgium, is a cosmopolitan city where many different cultures live together and where different languages can be heard on each street. As headquarters of many European institutions, it’s a capital for the European Union. Being at the crossroads it’s playing an important role in Europe and fits the definition of the archetypal “melting pot”, but still retains its own unique character.
Representing The Norwegian Computer Society, I quite often go to Brussels e.g. in CEPIS meetings; Council of European Professional Informatics Societies, representing over 300,000 informatics professionals in 33 countries. As a network evangelist, it’s a thrill talking with and making friends with people from all over Europe – a great way to get new insight in the diversity and similarity of our cultures, traditions and habits. Further more, when I have the chance, I love to explore the same variety and contrast in the different architectural styles that can be found in the city; the former capital of the medieval Duchy of Brabant. Last week, I had some extra hours and walked around with my Nikon camera and you’re welcome to join me. Let’s start with a waterhole where they serve my favourite Belgium beer: Stella Artois:
Grand’Place or Grote Market:
Just around the corner, you’ll find the heart of Brussels and the place to start getting to know the city. This historic market square with its splendid guild houses and the impressive Gothic beauty of the Town Hall, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe:
The Town Hall and the square starts to get decorated for Christmas.
Once there, you know it from the size of the square, the breath taking architecture and because there are tourists with world wide languages taking pictures and posing:
The square attracts special occasions or celebrations too. When I was there the 20th of November, Students of l’Université libre de Bruxelles were honouring The Free University of Brussels. Founded in 1834, it was a reaction against the catholic domination in higher education. Its name refers to the complete freedom of inquiry which is the founding principle of the university, and to the freedom of domination by either state or religious authorities. Like almost every institution in the bilingual Belgium, the Brussels University has been split up into French and a Dutch-speaking part:
Just a short walk from the Grand Place Market is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the “irreverent spirit” of Brussels:
Another popular place to pose as a tourist :-)
This statue of a child performing one of Nature’s most basic functions is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue and this day of course it was Students of l’Université libre de Bruxelles :-)
Brussels and Belgium is famous for a lot – let’s explore through window shopping and I’ll let the photos speaks for themselves:
Left above: Chocolates – Right above: Sweets, biscuits and more yummy
Left below: Beer – Right below: Belgium lace
The Fish Market:
Just to the north of Grand Place. Brussels’ restaurant gauntlet can be found in Rue des Bouchers – Beenhouwerstraat, and side streets. You find all kinds of Belgian cuisine of course, but as a Norwegian I look for seafood and find a lot – that’s why I call it a Fish Market (read my post from a previous for more details):
Left: Seafood stand – Right: The narrow and cosy restaurant street.
This again shows one reason why I love my hobby, blogging. It adds a new dimension to my love of travelling. In my travels I am always thinking of my blog, and its contents which I like to be informative. In this way I pay more attention and learn more about the places I visit so I can share it with my favourite readers. That’s one reason why I would like to invite others to have the same experience in Oslo, and I would love to show you around you know. Click to see the constant improving program of The Oslo Blog Gathering 2010!