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Despite their suggestive earnestness, due to its status as the seat of the European Parliament and the capital city of the European economy, Brussels also emits an atmosphere of childhood, carefreeness and humor, because it is also the hometown of beloved comic characters who have raised many generations of readers. A walk around the city will take you on a journey alongside Tintin, Snowy, Asterix, Obelix, Lucky Luke and other iconic heroes. Brussels is a city that is green, culturally diverse, historical and modern at the same time, capable of catering for all tastes from high-level gastronomy to tasty junk food. With over 100 museums for all interests, there won't be a single moment with nothing to do when you visit Brussels. Take a stroll down Grande Place and see how the locals go about their daily lives. Proceed to the futuristic Atomium and continue to Mini-Europe, where you will find miniature exhibits of major European monuments. Along the way, don't forget to stop in an outdoor market and eat the famous ultra-crunchy Belgian Fries! Naturally, sweet lovers shouldn't miss the soft buttery waffles and the famous Belgian chocolates. A trip to Brussels is a trip through gastronomy and European history, in a city that blends past, present and future in an amalgam of medieval elements and cosmopolitan wittiness – Brussels is waiting for you to explore it!
Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the largest urban center in the country. Although the area of the city is inhabited since prehistoric times, the oldest known mention of Brussels dates back to the 10th century A.D., when it had the Dutch name Broeksel, which translates as "house in the swamp". During that era, the town was part of Lower Lotharingia, or Lower Lorraine, which later became known as the Duchy of Brabant.
In the 12th, 13th and 14th centuries, Brussels grew and became one of the largest cities in the Duchy of Brabant. Its economy was based on the manufacture of luxury textiles, which were exported to markets in Paris, Venice, France and elsewhere.
After many crises, reforms, changes in kingships and battles from the 15th to the 18th centuries, Belgium gained its independence and Brussels became the country's capital city in 1830. Despite the fact that it was under German occupation in both World Wars, Brussels managed to recover and after the end of the 2nd World War, it further bloomed by becoming the seat of the European Communities. In the 21st century, Brussels is firmly established as one of the major cities of Europe, in both economic and political terms, and remains so to this day.
Being perhaps the greatest chapter in the modern history of Brussels, the European Parliament is the building that houses the heart of Europe itself, the place where all the most important decisions for the future of the European Union countries are made. It is worth visiting 3 important buildings which are part of the parliament: the Hemicycle, the Parlamentarium and the House of European History. The Hemicycle, the "beating heart" of Europe, is the place where all the important meetings and votes are held. The Parlamentarium is a digital multi-purpose venue that will place you right at the core of the European Parliament through a journey in the history and integration of Europe. Last but not least, don't miss the opportunity to take a trip around the history of Europe and visualise its future in the House of European History.
It wouldn't be appropriate to travel to Brussels and not taste the national snack of Belgium, which is none other than its well-known Belgian Fries! They are sold in outdoor markets, served in cones and dressed with mayonnaise or sauce. This is how, magically, with merely two ingredients, you can enjoy a comfort snack during your walk around the city. The secret that makes them so tasty and crispy is that they are double-fried – namely, they are fried once to be cooked and become just a little softer, and they are fried a second time before serving to take a golden color and become ultra crispy!
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Brussels Airport (BRU)
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