TravelFrom one Capital to Another: Brussels

From one Capital to Another: Brussels

From one Capital to Another: Brussels

Brussels, the bureaucratized capital of the European Union (EU) and the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), is a political hub that continues to attract young professionals from around the world. It is both classically European with its gothic architecture and folklore, and global with its charged public agenda. Much like Ottawa, it mixes administrative business, and the funkiness of its people; the two cities are both alike and different, and Ottawa Life Magazine has all the details to make your trip an unforgettable one!

Politics and the City

Brussels is the home of the EU -- a political and economic union of 28 countries -- and its institutions, like the European parliament. Easy to find, the glass structure stands tall in the center of Brussels. Swing by Place Luxembourg for happy hour and head over to Parc du Cinquantenaire where there is a charming museum and exhibitions.

Brussels also serves as the headquarters for NATO, a military and political Alliance composed of 29 member states from Europe and North America. Although the headquarters is closer to the airport than the actual city center, the Alliance recently moved to a new building where they will host leaders from around the world for the 2018 Summit this upcoming July.

What to See  

One of the most beautiful squares in Europe, the Grande-Place or Grote Markt, is surrounded by the guild houses, the City Hall and the Maison du Roi. Its construction began in the 15th Century, but because of the bombardment by the French troops in 1695, it had to be reconstructed. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a historic place where numerous protests have taken place. It continues to be the heart of Brussels as many social events are held in the central square. Don’t forget to pass by the boutiques in the elegant Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert to bring back souvenirs.

The Musical Instruments Museum is also a fun place to go on a rainy day (which are all too common in Brussels). It has one of the most beautiful and rich collections in the world. Put on your headset and stroll through the museum while listening to the melodies of all their wonderful instruments.

You should also try to spot as many comic strip walls as you can in the city! Beloved cartoon characters, from Lucky Luke to Tintin have taken over the streets in Brussels. 

Food and Drinks 

In Brussels, you’ll find the perfect kind of gold: fries. Grab a scone at Frites Flagey stand or Maison d’Antoine, which was first established in 1948, and enjoy them paired with one of the local beers. Not a fan of the taste of beer? Go to the well-known La Mort Subite, and try the peach-flavored Belgian beer, La pêcheresse.

For brunch with a view, climb to the top of the Musical Instruments Museum.

What really enriches Brussels is the mix of the old and the new, the politics and the social scene. Even with the gray clouds of political weight that sometimes hover over the city, we still see Brussels as golden.

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