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Brussels

Federal region of Belgium

Top 10 Brussels related articles

Brussels

  • Brussels-Capital Region
  • Région de Bruxelles-Capitale  (French)
  • Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest  (Dutch)
A collage with several views of Brussels, Top: View of the Northern Quarter business district, 2nd left: Floral carpet event in the Grand Place, 2nd right: Town Hall and Mont des Arts area, 3rd: Cinquantenaire Park, 4th left: Manneken Pis, 4th middle: St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, 4th right: Congress Column, Bottom: Royal Palace of Brussels
Nicknames: 
Capital of Europe,[1] Comic City[2]
Brussels
Location of Brussels in Belgium
Brussels
Brussels (Europe)
Coordinates: 50°51′N 4°21′E / 50.850°N 4.350°E / 50.850; 4.350Coordinates: 50°51′N 4°21′E / 50.850°N 4.350°E / 50.850; 4.350
Country  Belgium
Community French Community
Flemish Community
Settledc. 580
Founded979
Region18 June 1989
CapitalCity of Brussels
Municipalities
Government
 • ExecutiveGovernment of the Brussels-Capital Region
 • Governing parties (2014–19)PS, FDF, cdH; Open Vld, sp.a, CD&V
 • Minister-PresidentRudi Vervoort (PS)
 • LegislatureParliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
 • SpeakerCharles Picqué (PS)
Area
 • Region/City162.4 km2 (62.7 sq mi)
Elevation
13 m (43 ft)
Population
 (1 January 2019)[4]
 • Region/City1,208,542
 • Estimate 
(1 January 2020)
1,212,352
 • Density7,400/km2 (19,000/sq mi)
 • Metro
2,500,000
Demonym(s)fr Bruxellois(e), nl Brusselaar/Brusselse
Demographics
 • LanguagesFrench
Dutch
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166
BE-BRU
Postal code(s)
Area code(s)02
GDP (nominal)[5]2019
 - Total€87 billion
($99B)
 - Per capita€71,100
($81210)
GeoTLD.brussels
HDI (2018)0.946[6]
very high · 1st
Websitebe.brussels

Brussels (French: Bruxelles [bʁysɛl] ( listen) or [bʁyksɛl] ( listen); Dutch: Brussel [ˈbrʏsəl] ( listen)), officially the Brussels-Capital Region[7][8] (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale;[a] Dutch: Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest),[b] is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium.[9] The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium[10] and the Flemish Community,[11] but is separate from the Flemish Region (within which it forms an enclave) and the Walloon Region.[12][13] Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita.[14] It covers 162 km2 (63 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of over 1.2 million.[15] The five times larger metropolitan area of Brussels comprises over 2.5 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium.[16][17][18] It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.[19]

Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major centre for international politics and home to numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.[20] Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches (though the judicial branch is located in Luxembourg, and the European Parliament meets for a minority of the year in Strasbourg)[21][22][c]. Its name is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions.[23][24] The secretariat of the Benelux and headquarters of NATO are also located in Brussels.[25][26] As the economic capital of Belgium and one of the top financial centres of Western Europe with Euronext Brussels, it is classified as an Alpha global city.[27] Brussels is a hub for rail, road and air traffic,[28] sometimes earning the moniker "Crossroads of Europe".[29] The Brussels metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the largest and busiest in the country.[30][31]

Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century.[32] The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch,[33][34] even though French is now the lingua franca with over 90% of the inhabitants being able to speak it.[35][36] Brussels is also increasingly becoming multilingual. English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population and many migrants and expatriates speak other languages as well.[35][37]

Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomy,[38] as well as its historical and architectural landmarks; some of them are registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.[39] Main attractions include its historic Grand Place, Manneken Pis, Atomium, and cultural institutions such as La Monnaie/De Munt and the Museums of Art and History. Due to its long tradition of Belgian comics, Brussels is also hailed as a capital of the comic strip.[2][40]

Brussels Intro articles: 39

Toponymy

Etymology

The most common theory of the origin of the name Brussels is that it derives from the Old Dutch Bruocsella, Broekzele or Broeksel, meaning "marsh" (bruoc / broek) and "home" (sella / zele / sel) or "home in the marsh".[41] Saint Vindicianus, the Bishop of Cambrai, made the first recorded reference to the place Brosella in 695,[42] when it was still a hamlet. The names of all the municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region are also of Dutch origin, except for Evere, which is Celtic.

Pronunciation

In French, Bruxelles is pronounced [bʁysɛl] (the x is pronounced /s/, like in English, and the final s is silent) and in Dutch, Brussel is pronounced [ˈbrʏsəl]. Inhabitants of Brussels are known in French as Bruxellois (pronounced [bʁysɛlwa] ( listen)) and in Dutch as Brusselaars (pronounced [ˈbrʏsəlaːrs]). In the Brabantian dialect of Brussels (known as Brussels, and also sometimes called Marols),[43] they are called Brusseleers[44] or Brusseleirs.

Originally, the written x noted the group /ks/. In the Belgian French pronunciation as well as in Dutch, the k eventually disappeared and z became s, as reflected in the current Dutch spelling, whereas in the more conservative French form, the spelling remained.[45] The pronunciation /ks/ in French only dates from the 18th century, but this modification did not affect the traditional Brussels usage. In France, the pronunciations [bʁyksɛl] and [bʁyksɛlwa] (for bruxellois) are often heard, but are rather rare in Belgium.[46]

Brussels Toponymy articles: 14

History

Historical affiliations
County of Leuven c. 1000–1183

Duchy of Brabant 1183–1430
 Burgundian Netherlands 1430–1482
Habsburg Netherlands 1482–1556
Spanish Netherlands 1556–1714
 Austrian Netherlands 1714–1746
 Kingdom of France 1746–1749
 Austrian Netherlands 1749–1794
 French First Republic 1795–1804
 First French Empire 1804–1815
 United Kingdom of the Netherlands 1815–1830

 Kingdom of Belgium 1830–present

Early history

Charles of Lorraine founded what would become Brussels, c. 979.

The history of Brussels is closely linked to that of Western Europe. Traces of human settlement go back to the Stone Age, with vestiges and place-names related to the civilisation of megaliths, dolmens and standing stones (Plattesteen in the City of Brussels and Tomberg in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, for example). During late antiquity, the region was home to Roman occupation, as attested by archaeological evidence discovered on the current site of Tour & Taxis.[47][48] Following the decline of the Western Roman Empire, it was incorporated into the Frankish Empire.

The origin of the settlement which was to become Brussels lies in Saint Gaugericus' construction of a chapel on an island in the river Senne around 580.[49] The official founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, when Duke Charles of Lower Lotharingia transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel (located in today's province of East Flanders) to Saint Gaugericus' chapel. Charles would construct the first permanent fortification in the city, doing so on that same island.

Middle Ages

Lambert I of Leuven, Count of Leuven, gained the County of Brussels around 1000, by marrying Charles' daughter. Because of its location on the shores of the Senne, on an important trade route between Bruges and Ghent, and Cologne, Brussels became a commercial centre specialised in the textile trade. The town grew quite rapidly and extended towards the upper town (Treurenberg, Coudenberg and Sablon/Zavel areas), where there was a smaller risk of floods. As it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. Around this time, work began on what is now the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula (1225), replacing an older Romanesque church. In 1183, the Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant. Brabant, unlike the county of Flanders, was not fief of the king of France but was incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire. In the early 13th century, the first Fortifications of Brussels were built,[50] and after this, the city grew significantly. To let the city expand, a second set of walls was erected between 1356 and 1383. Traces of these walls can still be seen, although the small ring, a series of roadways bounding the historic city centre, follows their former course.

Early modern

View of Brussels, c. 1610

In the 15th century, the marriage between heiress Margaret III of Flanders and Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, produced a new Duke of Brabant of the House of Valois (namely Antoine, their son). In 1477, the Burgundian duke Charles the Bold perished in the Battle of Nancy. Through the marriage of his daughter Mary of Burgundy (who was born in Brussels) to Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, the Low Countries fell under Habsburg sovereignty. Brabant was integrated into this composite state, and Brussels flourished as the Princely Capital of the prosperous Burgundian Netherlands, also known as the Seventeen Provinces. After the death of Mary in 1482, her son Philip the Handsome succeeded as Duke of Burgundy and Brabant.

Philip died in 1506, and he was succeeded by his son Charles V who then also became King of Spain (crowned in the Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula) and even Holy Roman Emperor at the death of his grandfather Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor in 1519. Charles was now the ruler of a Habsburg Empire "on which the sun never sets" with Brussels serving as his main capital.[51][52] It was in the Palace complex at Coudenberg that Charles V was declared of age in 1515, and it was there in 1555 that he abdicated all of his possessions and passed the Habsburg Netherlands to Philip II of Spain. This impressive palace, famous all over Europe, had greatly expanded since it had first become the seat of the Dukes of Brabant, but it was destroyed by fire in 1731.

The Grand Place after the 1695 bombardment by the French army

In the 17th century, Brussels was a centre for the lace industry. In 1695, during the Nine Years' War, King Louis XIV of France sent troops to bombard Brussels with artillery. Together with the resulting fire, it was the most destructive event in the entire history of Brussels. The Grand Place was destroyed, along with 4,000 buildings—a third of all the buildings in the city. The reconstruction of the city centre, effected during subsequent years, profoundly changed its appearance and left numerous traces still visible today.

Following the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713, Spanish sovereignty over the Southern Netherlands was transferred to the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg. This event started the era of the Austrian Netherlands. Brussels was captured by France in 1746, during the War of the Austrian Succession, but was handed back to Austria three years later. It remained with Austria until 1795, when the Southern Netherlands were captured and annexed by France, and the city became the capital of the department of the Dyle. The French rule ended in 1815, with the defeat of Napoleon on the battlefield of Waterloo, located south of today's Brussels-Capital Region. With the Congress of Vienna, the Southern Netherlands joined the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, under William I of Orange. The former Dyle department became the province of South Brabant, with Brussels as its capital.

Late modern

Episode of the Belgian Revolution of 1830, Gustaf Wappers, 1834

In 1830, the Belgian revolution began in Brussels, after a performance of Auber's opera La Muette de Portici at the Royal Theatre of La Monnaie.[53] The city became the capital and seat of government of the new nation. South Brabant was renamed simply Brabant, with Brussels as its administrative centre. On 21 July 1831, Leopold I, the first King of the Belgians, ascended the throne, undertaking the destruction of the city walls and the construction of many buildings.

Following independence, Brussels underwent many more changes. It became a financial centre, thanks to the dozens of companies launched by the Société Générale de Belgique. The Industrial Revolution and the building of the Brussels-Charleroi Canal brought prosperity to the city through commerce and manufacturing. The Free University of Brussels was established in 1834 and Saint-Louis University in 1858. In 1835, the first passenger railway built outside England linked the municipality of Molenbeek with Mechelen.[54][55]

The Place Royale/Koningsplein in the late 19th century

During the 19th century, the population of Brussels grew considerably; from about 80,000 to more than 625,000 people for the city and its surroundings. The Senne had become a serious health hazard, and from 1867 to 1871, under the tenure of the city's then-mayor, Jules Anspach, its entire course through the urban area was completely covered over. This allowed urban renewal and the construction of modern buildings of hausmannien style along central boulevards, characteristic of downtown Brussels today. Buildings such as the Brussels Stock Exchange (1873), the Palace of Justice (1883) and Saint Mary's Royal Church (1885) date from this period. This development continued throughout the reign of King Leopold II. The International Exposition of 1897 contributed to the promotion of the infrastructure. Among other things, the Palace of the Colonies [fr] (today's Royal Museum for Central Africa), in the suburb of Tervuren, was connected to the capital by the construction of an 11-km long grand alley.

20th century

The 1927 Solvay Conference in Brussels was the fifth world physics conference.

During the 20th century, the city hosted various fairs and conferences, including the Solvay Conference on Physics and on Chemistry, and three world fairs: the Brussels International Exposition of 1910, the Brussels International Exposition of 1935 and the 1958 Brussels World's Fair (Expo '58). During World War I, Brussels was an occupied city, but German troops did not cause much damage. During World War II, it was again occupied by German forces, and spared major damage, before it was liberated by the British Guards Armoured Division on 3 September 1944. The Brussels Airport, in the suburb of Zaventem, dates from the occupation.

British tanks arrive in Brussels on 4 September 1944, ending the German occupation

After the war, Brussels underwent extensive modernisation. The construction of the North–South connection, linking the main railway stations in the city, was completed in 1952, while the first premetro (underground tram) was finished in 1969,[56] and the first line of the metro was opened in 1976.[57] Starting from the early 1960s, Brussels became the de facto capital of what would become the European Union, and many modern offices were built. Development was allowed to proceed with little regard to the aesthetics of newer buildings, and numerous architectural landmarks were demolished to make way for newer buildings that often clashed with their surroundings, giving name to the process of Brusselisation.

Contemporary

The Brussels-Capital Region was formed on 18 June 1989, after a constitutional reform in 1988.[58] It is one of the three federal regions of Belgium, along with Flanders and Wallonia, and has bilingual status.[7][8] The yellow iris is the emblem of the region (referring to the presence of these flowers on the city's original site) and a stylised version is featured on its official flag.[59]

In recent years, Brussels has become an important venue for international events. In 2000, it and eight other European cities were named European Capital of Culture.[60] In 2014, the city hosted the 40th G7 summit.[61]

On 22 March 2016, three coordinated nail bombings were detonated by ISIL in Brussels—two at Brussels Airport in Zaventem and one at Maalbeek/Maelbeek metro station—resulting in 32 victims and three suicide bombers killed, and 330 people were injured. It was the deadliest act of terrorism in Belgium.

Brussels History articles: 128

Geography

Location and topography

Satellite picture of the Greater Brussels area

Brussels lies in the north-central part of Belgium, about 110 kilometres (68 mi) from the Belgian coast and about 180 km (110 mi) from Belgium's southern tip. It is located in the heartland of the Brabantian Plateau, about 45 km (28 mi) south of Antwerp (Flanders), and 50 km (31 mi) north of Charleroi (Wallonia). Its average elevation is 57 metres (187 ft) above sea level, varying from a low point in the valley of the almost completely covered Senne, which cuts the Brussels-Capital Region from east to west, up to high points in the Sonian Forest, on its southeastern side. In addition to the Senne, tributary streams such as the Maalbeek and the Woluwe, to the east of the region, account for significant elevation differences. Brussels' central boulevards are 15 metres (49 ft) above sea level.[62] Contrary to popular belief, the highest point (at 1,275 metres (4,183 ft)) is not near the Place de l'Altitude Cent/Hoogte Honderdplein in Forest, but at the Drève des Deux Montages/Tweebergendreef in the Sonian Forest.[63]

Climate

Brussels experiences an oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb) with warm summers and cool winters.[64] Proximity to coastal areas influences the area's climate by sending marine air masses from the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby wetlands also ensure a maritime temperate climate. On average (based on measurements in the period 1981–2010), there are approximately 135 days of rain per year in the Brussels-Capital Region. Snowfall is infrequent, averaging 24 days per year. The city also often experiences violent thunderstorms in summer months.

Climate data for Brussels-Capital Region (1981–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.9
(42.6)
6.8
(44.2)
10.5
(50.9)
14.2
(57.6)
18.3
(64.9)
20.9
(69.6)
23.3
(73.9)
23.0
(73.4)
19.5
(67.1)
15.1
(59.2)
9.8
(49.6)
6.3
(43.3)
14.5
(58.1)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.2
(37.8)
3.5
(38.3)
6.5
(43.7)
9.5
(49.1)
13.5
(56.3)
16.1
(61.0)
18.4
(65.1)
18.0
(64.4)
14.9
(58.8)
11.1
(52.0)
6.8
(44.2)
3.8
(38.8)
10.4
(50.7)
Average low °C (°F) 0.7
(33.3)
0.6
(33.1)
2.9
(37.2)
4.9
(40.8)
8.7
(47.7)
11.5
(52.7)
13.6
(56.5)
13.0
(55.4)
10.5
(50.9)
7.5
(45.5)
4.5
(40.1)
1.5
(34.7)
6.7
(44.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 75.2
(2.96)
61.6
(2.43)
69.5
(2.74)
51.0
(2.01)
65.1
(2.56)
72.1
(2.84)
73.6
(2.90)
76.8
(3.02)
69.6
(2.74)
75.0
(2.95)
77.0
(3.03)
81.4
(3.20)
848.0
(33.39)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1 mm) 12.8 11.1 12.7 9.9 11.3 10.5 10.1 10.1 10.4 11.2 12.6 13.0 135.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 58 75 119 168 199 193 205 194 143 117 65 47 1,583
Source: KMI/IRM[65]
Climate data for Uccle (Brussels-Capital Region) 1991–2020
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 15.3
(59.5)
20.0
(68.0)
24.2
(75.6)
28.7
(83.7)
34.1
(93.4)
38.8
(101.8)
39.7
(103.5)
36.5
(97.7)
34.9
(94.8)
27.8
(82.0)
20.6
(69.1)
16.7
(62.1)
39.7
(103.5)
Average high °C (°F) 6.1
(43.0)
7.1
(44.8)
10.9
(51.6)
15.0
(59.0)
18.4
(65.1)
21.2
(70.2)
23.2
(73.8)
23.0
(73.4)
19.5
(67.1)
14.9
(58.8)
9.9
(49.8)
6.6
(43.9)
14.7
(58.4)
Daily mean °C (°F) 3.7
(38.7)
4.2
(39.6)
7.1
(44.8)
10.4
(50.7)
13.9
(57.0)
16.7
(62.1)
18.7
(65.7)
18.4
(65.1)
15.2
(59.4)
11.3
(52.3)
7.2
(45.0)
4.3
(39.7)
10.9
(51.7)
Average low °C (°F) 1.4
(34.5)
1.5
(34.7)
3.5
(38.3)
6.0
(42.8)
9.2
(48.6)
12.0
(53.6)
14.1
(57.4)
13.9
(57.0)
11.3
(52.3)
8.1
(46.6)
4.6
(40.3)
2.1
(35.8)
7.3
(45.2)
Record low °C (°F) −21.1
(−6.0)
−18.3
(−0.9)
−13.6
(7.5)
−5.7
(21.7)
−2.2
(28.0)
0.3
(32.5)
4.4
(39.9)
3.9
(39.0)
0.0
(32.0)
−6.8
(19.8)
−12.8
(9.0)
−17.7
(0.1)
−21.1
(−6.0)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 75.5
(2.97)
65.1
(2.56)
59.3
(2.33)
46.7
(1.84)
59.7
(2.35)
70.8
(2.79)
76.9
(3.03)
86.5
(3.41)
65.3
(2.57)
67.8
(2.67)
76.2
(3.00)
87.4
(3.44)
837.2
(32.96)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.1 mm) 18.9 16.9 15.7 13.1 14.7 14.1 14.3 14.3 14.1 16.1 18.3 19.4 189.9
Average snowy days 3.8 4.9 2.7 0.6 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1 1.2 3.7 17
Average relative humidity (%) 84.1 80.6 74.8 69.2 70.2 71.3 71.5 72.4 76.8 81.5 85.1 86.6 77.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 59.1 72.9 125.8 171.3 198.3 199.3 203.2 192.4 154.4 112.6 65.8 48.6 1,603.7
Average ultraviolet index 1 1 3 4 6 7 6 6 4 2 1 1 4
Source 1: Royal Meteorological Institute[66][67]
Source 2: Weather Atlas;[68] 2019 July record high from VRT Nieuws[69]

Brussels Geography articles: 16