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Brussels is the capital city of Belgium. Brussels is also the royal seat of the Kingdom and it is situated in the Brussels-Capital region. Important tasks are imposed on the city from within the EU and this renders its distinction as a cosmopolitan city, accurate. The European Union has its headquarters in Brussels and also NATO has its seat in Brussels, whereby the city is open for diplomats and politicians. However, we must also not forget that the old town constitutes a UNESCO World Heritage Site and thus it is very interesting for a city trip.
Brussels even has two airports, Brüssel-Zaventem is the largest in the country and it is located approx. 12 km outside the city centre. You can reach the centre by train or bus in 15 minutes. The airport Brüssel Charleroi is situated 45km away.
Travel by car is possible from all directions. Various motorways connect the city with the rest of the country, such as the A 12 which leads to Antwerp, the A 40 and the A 3 lead to Liege via Aachen and Cologne.
Brussels consists of 7 urban districts. These parts of the city are also called districts in Brussels. The district of Haren is very isolated from the other parts of the city. Various railways lines pass all the way around it. Until 1921, Haren was an independent village and this is still expressed today with their own individual post code. The seat of NATO and Eurocontrol are located in this district.
Laeken is a part of the city that was also incorporated into Brussels in 1921. It is the most northern district of Brussels and it was the venue for the universal exposition on two occasions. Two of the most important tourist attractions can be found in this district, the Royal Palace of Laeken and the Atomium.
Brussels historical market place is described time and again as the most beautiful in the world. It belongs to the UNESCO World Heritage Site and it was already the centre of the city in the 11th Century. The Grand-Place displays a diverse variety with its different building designs. The town hall, which is located in the market place, was built in the Gothic style. The construction began in 1401 and the Belfry, which can be seen from afar at 96 meters, was only built a few years later.
Maison du Roi/Broodhuis is also situated in the market place and it was constructed in the neo-Gothic style. Today the city museum can be found there. Additional guild houses which predominantly date back to the 17th Century, grace the marketplace. There is also a landmark of the city on the Grand-Place. The Manneken Pis. It is a bronze sculpture adorned with a fountain. The sculpture exhibits a urinating boy and it is only 61 centimeters high. It dates back to the year 1619 and it was stolen time and again. The contemporary statue is from 1965. On special occasions the statue is dressed up, the costumes can be seen in the city museum.
The Atomium is also a landmark of Brussels and it is certainly well-known worldwide. It is located in the district of Laeken. Its doors were opened for the occasion of the universal exposition in 1958. The structure demonstrates a ball-shaped iron molecule that was enlarged to be 165 billion times larger than its original size. The construction is 109 meters high and it consists of 9 balls. 6 of these balls are accessible. You can go up with an escalator or you can take the lift which transports you to the top in only 23 seconds.
Brussels also has a few cultural things to offer. The majority of museums are located on the Kunstberg, the Brussels Museum Mile. This is also the case for the Old Masters Museum. The museum of old works of art accommodates impressive collections from the 15th and 18th Century. Paintings, sculptures and drawings are displayed here. A major attraction are the paintings of important Dutch painters such as Rogier van der Weyden.
The Brussels Music Instrument Museum is also well worth visiting Music Instrument Museum. The collection traces back to 8,000 instruments, of which 1,200 are currently on display. The exhibition takes place on four levels and this invites you to take part in a time travel for musical instruments. You get a good view of the entire city from the roof terrace of the museum.
Around 2000 restaurants secure Brussels reputation as the capital of gastronomy. Belgian cuisine is well-known and popular above all for the Belgian chocolate and the traditional dish of mussels.
You can eat well at the Les Brassins, in the part of the city called Ixelles-Elsene. Many young guests and students come here. You can find more than 50 types of beer on the menu and there is also a good choice of high quality food with meat, fish, salads and pasta dishes. The lunch menu changes every day.
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