Brussels is one of the places you should visit while you are in Europe. Its amazing architecture, rich cuisine and a variety of places of interest are making this city a great tourist destination. On top of that, this is an absolutely unique place and this article will tell you why!
Brussel is one of the most international cities in the world
In point of fact, Brussel is a rather small capital as its population is below two millions of people. At the same time, the population of the city is highly international. It might be difficult to imagine this but actually the Belgian capital is the second most diverse cities of the world when it comes to the nationalities of people living here. You will find here over 120 governmental organisations working globally and over 1400 organisations of a non-governmental type operating here as well as over 180 embassies. There is only single place in the world which has more diplomatic missions than Brussels and it is New York. Actually, one third of the population of the Belgian capital is international and the total number of different nationalities present in this city is over 180.
Because of such a diversity of nationalities in Brussels as well as the fact a number of crucial European organisations are located here, Brussels is often referred to as a European capital.
Some of the most crucial organisations of the European Union such as the European Commission, the European Parliament as well as the Council of the EU are residing in the capital of Belgium. The growth of Brussels in the world started after the Second World War when the city which used to be a rural settlement started hosting the headquarters of the most crucial economic and political organisations including Benelux and NATO.
Pay your attention to fact the population of Brussels is quite young with the average age of a citizen being around 37.5 years. Actually, the average age of the citizens of Brussels is lower than in the rest of the country. By the way, almost 20% of the entire population of Belgium lives in its capital. As you can imagine, this is largest Belgian city.
As you can imagine, such a variety of nationalities influences the number of languages spoken by the residents of Brussels. The locals of this city speak over 110 languages, whereas there are two official languages only which are Flemish Dutch and French. When it come to the official languages of Brussels, French is more popular here as it is widely used as an official language of international organisations working in this city.
Brussels is one of the most congested European cities
If you are planning to visit the capital of Belgium by car, you should be aware of the fact, it is one of the most congested cities not only in Belgium but also in entire Europe. Actually, another equally congested city is Antwerp which is also located in Belgium. Just imagine, the average time spent by commuters while navigating this city is over 80 hours per year! Needless to say, the residents of the Belgian capital should really find a way of utilising the time spent on the road.
One of the major reasons for such intensive congestion on the roads of Brussels is the an extremely small size of this city. Actually, the entire area of the city is 161 square kilometres which definitely causes frequent traffic jams.
At the same time, such a small size is making the city easily walkable which is also good for both citizens and tourists. You can find a lot of tours around Brussels which are totally based on walking.
Brussels is close to other important European capitals
Needless to say, Brussels’ geographical position is great for business and travelling. The city is located in an almost equal proximity to such European capitals as Amsterdam, Paris and London. The road will take only two hours to each pf this place if you travel by a high-speed train. In all likelihood, this was one of the reasons for European Union to choose this city as the host of the greatest number of its organisations.
The world’s biggest courthouse is situated in the capital of Belgium
You might not be aware of the fact that Palais de Justice or The Justice Palace located in Brussels is actually the largest courthouse in the entire world. You have already learnt about the small size of Belgium and Brussels. Now, imagine that the courthouse located in such a small city has a total surface area equal to 26000 square metres. Just imagine this is several times larger than the Vatican’s St. Petr’s Basilica.
When the government started the construction of this building in the 19th century it was regarded as the largest building in the entire world. Today, it is certainly not the largest one, however, there is still no other courthouse as large as Palais de Justice in Brussels.