About Brussels

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel) is the capital city of Belgium and of Brussels Capital Region. It is entirely surrounded by Dutch-speaking Flanders and its constituent Flemish Brabant province. As headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union. Being 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. The population of the city of Brussels is 1 million and the population of Brussels metropolitan area is just over 2 million.


Climate

Brussels deservedly has a poor reputation for its weather. Weather in Brussels is very damp with a high and fairly evenly distributed annual average rainfall of 820 mm (32 in) and on average approximately 200 days of rainfall per year, both which are more than that of London and Paris. The dampness makes the weather feel much colder than it is. The daily and monthly temperature variations are quite small. Daily differences between average highs and average lows don't exceed 9oC (16oF).

In the summer, average daily maximum temperatures rarely exceed 22oC (72oF). The summer visitor should always be prepared for rain in Brussels. Warm and sunny weather is not constant during that season or even to be expected.

After October, temperatures drop off quite rapidly and winter months are damp and chilly. Snowfall is rare, and starts to melts fairly quickly, becoming slush on the ground. The winter visitor should be prepared for wet ground.


Grand Place-Grote Markt

Surrounded by the city tower and a range of beautiful 300 year old buildings. In the evening, surrounded by bright illumination, it is simply ravishing.

Some evenings a music and light show is provided with the buildings serving as a canvas. Have a "gaufre de Liege-Luikse wafel" here (Belgian waffle with caramelized sugar)—the best ones are available from the little shops off the northeast corner of the Grand Place-Grote Markt.


Manneken Pis

Just a short walk from the Grand Place-Grote Markt is the Manneken Pis, a small bronze statue thought to represent the "irreverent spirit" of Brussels. This is a statue of a child urinating into a pool. Belgians have created hundreds of outfits for this statue. There are many stories of the statue's origins. It is believed to have been inspired by a child who, while in a tree, found a special way to drive away invading troops.

Another story goes that a father was missing his child and made a declaration to the city that when he found him he would build a statue of him, doing whatever it was that he was doing. It has also been said a witch turned him to stone for peeing on her property.


Atomium

Unavoidable icon of Brussels and Belgium, important place for international tourism, unique creation in the history of architecture and emblematic vestige of the World Fair in Brussels (Expo 58) the Atomium continues to embody its ideas of the future and universality, half a century later.

In its cultural programme it carries on the debate of 1958: What kind of future do we want for tomorrow? Our happiness depends on what? Its recent renovation in 2006 gave its original brightness back, and the new equipment guarantees its durability. Five of the nine spheres are open to the public (so they say, but not really true)