"Brussels, a bilingual capital ?" Brussels by tompt

Brussels Travel Guide: 5,764 reviews and 12,331 photos

Brussels is an agglomeration of 19 communes forming one of the three Regions of Belgium.
It is the capital of Belgium and as the European capital the city is home to the European
Commission and to the Council of ministers of the European Union (EU).

Brussels is the bilingual capital of Belgium. This means that both French and Dutch are the official
languages of the city. Street names and traffic sings are always in these two languages. But we
dicovered most people only speak french......

Brussels was founded in the year 979. But it is said the origin of the city has to be situated at the end of the 6th century. It was then that the Preacher St Gorik built a little chapel on a small island in the Zenne, the river that still is part of Brussels. In 977 Carl of France decides to build a fortress on this place. In the middle of the 11th century the building the first city walls starts.

Brussels becomes a thriving city until the end of the 14th century. An recession takes place for a period of 50 years. Brussels survives and starts producing luxury goods.
Half 16th century Philip II reigns and starts quarrelling with William of Orange, supervisor over Holland, Zeeland and Utrecht. William of Orange is a liberal thinking person.
Brussels however suffers under the Duke of Alva, official representative of Philip II. With the help of William of Orange Brussels starts a revolution and chases Alva away.
In 1695 Brussels is attacked by the French king Louis XIV. The result is disastrous: more than 4000 houses and the Grand Place were completely destroyed.
In the beginning of the 18th century the Austrian emperors take over Brussels. The citizens of
Brussels revolt once more, but they have to surrender.

The last foreign emperor over Brussels and the present Belgium was the Dutch William I.
He has to leave the Belgian country in 1830, when the independence struggle bursts out in Brussels.
At July 21st 1831 the first Belgian king, Leopold I, ascends the throne. Brussels becomes the capital
of the new kingdom Belgium. A long period of rebuilding the city of Brussels starts.
The Great War (1914-1918) and WorldWar II (1940-1945) were to stop the further development of
Brussels for a short while.

After WWII Belgium is divided in two regions, Flanders and the Walloon Provinces. Brussels becomes
a district with its own government. Brussels becomes also the capital of the European Union.
NATO decides to plant his headquarters nearby Brussels (Evere).

We have visited Brussels only once. But that was a great day. Norali guided us, Ralph and Dannie through her city in the morning. And in the afternoon we met even more VT members.

Do check the travelogues to get an impression of the fun we had.

More info:
http://www.opt.be/Langue/en/bxl/index.htm, tourism office.

  • Last visit to Brussels: Nov 2003
  • Intro Updated Jan 8, 2004
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Reviews (17)

Comments (4)

  • Maurizioago's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2007 at 3:15 AM

    I have to go there on day. Ciao!

  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo
    Aug 14, 2004 at 5:28 AM

    This is a wonderful page of on of my favourite cities. Your Grand'Place photos are stupendous, and your texts are really well researched and readable :-) Many thanks

  • Mahieu's Profile Photo
    Jan 11, 2004 at 11:59 AM

    How did you manage to get a picture of Jeanneke Pis? Everytime I pass by, the fences are closed ;-)))) , nice travelogues!

  • irisbe's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2004 at 1:35 AM

    this looks like to be going to be a fantastic page! Loved the tlogues :-)


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