The Kingdom of Belgium is a small country in terms of area. It borders Holland to the north, Germany and Luxembourg to the east, and France to the south. In terms of area, Germany is 12 times larger than Belgium. The kingdom has almost 11,6 million inhabitants. It is known and celebrated for its medieval towns.
Brussels at a glance
Brussels ranks fifth among the largest cities in Belgium. Approximately 189.000 people live permanently in Brussels. They live in less than 35 square kilometers. Brussels is a city of short distances. Most of the sights are in the city center. By the way: More than 1,2 million people live in the Région Bruxelles Capitale; every tenth Belgian lives in the metropolitan region, the cosmopolitan city in the heart of Europe.
Brussels - Boulevard Anspach
Brussels is the capital and residence of the Kingdom of Belgium. Brussels is also the headquarters of the EU and the seat of several international organizations and the NATO defense alliance.
Brussels - European Institution
Brussels – history in a nutshell
The town legend says that around the year 580 AD, Saint Gorik built a small chapel in what is now the town area. It was still a long time before a fortress was erected in 979. The construction of the fortress is considered the starting signal for the development of the city. Brussels subsequently blossomed into a commercial metropolis thanks to its strategic location on the Bruges-Ghent-Cologne trade route. Many of the historic buildings that are still admired today were built in the era that shaped the city.
Brussels - Arch of Triumph in the Jubilee Park
The splendor temporarily ended when the French King Louis XIV had the city bombed with cannons. More than 4.000 houses and the buildings of the Grand Place were destroyed by the war. After that, various foreign powers ruled over the city and the country. The last foreign ruler was the Dutch king. The Belgian Revolution put an end to heteronomy in 1830. A year later, Belgium gained its independence. A period of reconstruction began under King Leopold I. The damage suffered during the Second World War has also been forgotten. International organizations such as the European Union and NATO have made Brussels world famous.
Royal Residence - Palais de Bruxelles
Brussels - city of art and architecture
In its center, Brussels is home to an unprecedented UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Grand Place. The French writer and politician Victor Hugo celebrated the Grand Place as "the most beautiful square in Europe".
Brussels - Guild houses on the Grote Markt
Another UNESCO World Heritage Site are the Art Nouveau buildings by the Belgian architect Victor Horta. A visit to the Horta Museum, named after him, is particularly recommended.
The Atomium, built for Expo 58, also stands out among Brussels' outstanding buildings. The unusual building is now considered a design classic of the 20th century. For copyright reasons we do not show the Atomium.
The museum landscape of the Belgian capital is also worth mentioning. More than 80 museums offer visitors a lot of things worth seeing, from fine arts to comics, beer and chocolate.
Brussels - Belgian Comics Center
Brussels for day visitors
Cruise ship passengers docked in the Belgian ports of Antwerp, Oostende or Zeebrugge , can use a variety of excursion options there. In the foreground of the activities are the varied and worth seeing center of Antwerp, the historic city of Bruges and the Belgian coastal towns to the west and east of Oostende. Anyone who already knows these destinations is well advised to take a trip to Brussels. Especially from Antwerp, individual excursions to Brussels can be arranged without much effort. Trains and buses run frequently and on favorable terms. The time the cruise ship is in port alone is decisive for the duration of the excursion and the intensity of the impressions gained in Brussels.
Brussels is worth a multi-day visit for its sights and gastronomic delights. But even one-day visits are not wasted time. Under Brussels sights we present our top 10 sights of the Belgian metropolis. In addition, we present some popular highlights that are also close to our hearts.