The terrorist attacks on 22 March last year were horrific but there is still plenty of reasons to visit Brussels. Here are 22 things to love about Brussels.
I have been living in Brussels for more than 15 years. I started my university studies here, started my first job here, met my husband in Brussels, we bought our first apartment together here, our baby boy was born in Brussels – Brussels is our home. Which is why the horrific terror attacks of 22 March in 2016 hit so close.
By no means does this post try to explain or analyse the events of that week. Far better informed professionals are busy doing that. My blog after all is light-hearted and about (foodie) discoveries in Brussels. So as we continue our lives in Brussels after the 22 March attacks, here are 22 things we love about Brussels. Would love to hear what you would add!
From amazing art nouveau houses to gritty (and frankly quite ugly) ’60s buildings, Brussels is a mix and match of the beautiful, the ugly and the weird. So much so that the architecture in Brussels even has its own name Bruxellisation.
There are more than 180 breweries in Belgium that brew beer for us people. I mean c’mon!
I ignored Belgium’s strong tradition for comics before coming here, but since moving to Brussels I have become a fan of TinTin, Gaston Lagaffe and Le Chat. Check them out on the comic book route throughout Brussels.
Not sure Belgian chocolate needs much introduction, but one chocolate a day keeps the doctor away. Tried and tested. Just saying.
The dance scene in Belgium is fantastic. I still remember seeing my first PARTS performance in Brussels and, while probably not getting the whole story, loving it. If you have not yet seen a dance performance in Brussels, don’t wait too long.
Quirky, a bit left field, a bit under the radar, but Belgians are making their mark on the fashion world. If there are no fashion exhibitions at the Bozar in Brussels, then head to MoMu in Antwerp for a serious fashion fix.
With moules. With steak. With carbonnades. With mayonnaise. Belgian frites with everything.
A landmark of Brussels, the Grand Place is one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. Granted I am biased, but it is a true gem. A UNESCO World heritage site since 1998, no Brussels visit can be complete without a stroll through the Grand Place.
The ‘mussels’ from Brussels! Jean Claude van Damme, with his own statue and all.
Surrealism at its best. From a museum dedicated entirely to his works of art to a clin d’oeuil on Twitter, Magritte is everywhere. Or is he?
Between Brel and Stromae, Brussels music was not high on the radar. We love discovering great Belgian music, and tend to keep an eye on the programme of Ancienne Belgique and Botanique – you’re always in for a surprise.
Oh, the debates I had over the years that Brussels is not a green city.
Brussels is a green city! Parc d’Egmont is one of my favourites, Parc Tenbosch was a welcome baby walking distraction and Park Cinquantanaire is a great running spot – do I need to go on?
What makes Brussels great are the people. On any given day – be it on the metro, in a meeting, at the market or indeed at home – I hear a multitude of languages being spoken. With languages come different cultures. With different cultures come different foods. Happy circle!
You know the standing joke that it is impossible to name 10 famous Belgians? Well Poirot always made it on the list – and yes, we do still love to watch old Poirot movies.
For a tiny country, Belgium counts an incredible number of Michelin-star restaurants. Brussels has its own starry restaurants, but honestly you can eat well in a range of places – from the corner fritkot, to the affordable brasserie, the hipster café or indeed the starred Villa Lorraine.
Take Eat Easy
A new entrepreneurial wave is taking over Brussels and I love it. Take Eat Easy. B2N. Air’B’Sit. So many Brussels start-ups worth discovering.
Belgian waffles any day, every day.
Oh the administration; the hassle; the missing paper. But what a joy to moan and share stories as expats about our Brussels administration adventures. I lived in five different communes so am pretty much an expat expert, however I now prefer to focus on discovering Belgium’s culinary offerings than sit around for papers.
Union St Gilloise
Our local football club which brings the passionate people of Saint Gilles together for a beer, a cheer or a moan. A royal team with some of the most dedicated supporters out there. And yes, you guessed it – I am not the football fan.
Not in Brussels as such but so much on the Brussels tourist guide that no visit from family or friends has been complete without going to see Waterloo. And since there is a special beer brewed to honour the name, our visits have become just that bit more interesting.
Yes, it rains – most of the time. But after rain comes sun. And then Brussels starts living outdoors again – cafes, terraces and parks come to life and we forget the rain. Until it rains again.