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For other uses, see Brussels (disambiguation).

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, Dutch: Brussel, German: Brüssel) is a major city in Belgium and its capital.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 History
3 Universities
4 Transport
5 Conferences and world fairs
6 Brussels tourist attractions
7 See also
8 External links


Brussels is first a city located in the center of Belgium, but it sometimes refers to the main municipality of the Brussels-Capital Region. This municipality inside Brussels is correctly named The City of Brussels (Bruxelles-Ville or Ville de Bruxelles in French, de Stad Brussel in Dutch), which is one of 19 municipalities that make up the Brussels-Capital Region.

See also: Municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region.

The Brussels-Capital Region is a region of Belgium in its own right, alongside Flanders and Wallonia, and is geographically an enclave of Flanders. Regions are one component of Belgium's complex institutions, the three communities are another component: the Brussels people must deal with the either to the French (speaking) community or the Flemish community for matters such as culture and education.

Brussels is also the capital of the French Community of Belgium (Communauté française Wallonie-Bruxelles in French) and the Flemish Council is also established there.

Two of the three main institutions of the European Union, the European Commission and the Council of the European Union, have their headquarters in Brussels. The third main institution of the European Union, the European Parliament, also has parliamentary chambers in Brussels (its plenary sessions are held at its headquarters in Strasbourg). This leads to a another meaning, especially in British English, where the city is used as a metonym for some aspects of the Union. "Brussels is considering banning raunchy TV images"

Brussels is also the political seat of NATO, i.e. the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, and the Western European Union (WEU).

The language frontier divides Belgium into a northern, Dutch-speaking, region and a southern, French-speaking, region. The Brussels region is officially bilingual (see however the linguistic history of Brussels in this article's history section), but the majority of its population speaks French. Smaller immigrant communities still speak the mothertongue of their country of origin, being Berber, Arabic, Italian, Spanish and others, but a lot of them are also French-speakers.


The name Brussels comes from Bruocsella ou Brucsella, which means "marsh home" or "home in the marsh". A small castle was built around 979 C.E. near the Senne.

The Heysel Stadium disaster took place in Brussels on May 29, 1985.

Brussels's linguistic history

The Brussels Capital Region is currently home for both French- and Dutch-speakers. French was for several centuries only spoken by the haute-bourgeoisie and the nobility. It started becoming only a popular language under the French regime, and especially after 1830, by the immigration of many French (revolutionaries and others) and many Walloons, attracted by the new Belgian authorities. As in 1830, only the haute-bourgeoisie and the nobility (less than 1% of the population) had voting rights, these groups wanted to fashion the new state along their personal preferences. As a result, they had to attract many French-speaking Walloons to man the public services.

The area, which is geographically situated in the south of Flanders, was still mostly Dutch-speaking until the middle of the 20th century. During the 19th and 20th century, more and more French-speaking civil servants coming from Wallonia settled in Brussels and persistent social, administrative, cultural and political pressure made many Flemings switch their vernacular to French.

The Brussels-Capital region nowadays is officially French-Dutch bilingual and some municipalities in Flanders around Brussels have special linguistic facilities to protect the right of the French-speaking minorities. However, there are reports and claims of discrimination both inside the Brussels-Capital region against Dutch-speakers and outside Brussels against French-speakers. "Both the Walloons and the Flemish treat people of their own group in the same way as anonymous individuals while discriminating against individuals of the other group" [1], [1]. There are also reports of discriminations against foreigners [1].

On the one hand, some claim that there is a strong pressure from French-speakers against the bilingual status inside the Brussels-Capital region. There are reports and claims of discriminations against Dutch-speakers. In the early 90's, an official declaration from the regional government claimed that social housing was reserved entirely for those applying in French. As late as 2003, Rudy Demotte, the federal minister of Public Health and a French-speaking socialist, is reported to have acknowledged that urgent medical services discriminated against Dutch-speakers, in the sense that the Dutch-speakers could not use their own language.

On the other hand, there are reports and claims of discriminations against French-speakers in the outskirt of Brussels regarding access to health care, using their own language, and social housing [1].


Brussels has several universities, two of them being the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).


Brussels is served by Brussels International Airport, located in the municipality of Zaventem, and by Brussels South Airport, located near Charleroi.

Brussels metro dates back to 1976.

Conferences and world fairs

Brussels hosted the third Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne; in 1930.

Two world fairs took place in Brussels, the Exposition universelle et internationale (1935) and the Expo '58 in 1958. The Atomium, a 103 meter representation of an iron crystal was built for the Expo '58, and is still there.

Brussels tourist attractions

See also

External links

Regions and provinces of Belgium'''
Flanders: Antwerp | East Flanders | Flemish Brabant | Limburg | West Flanders
Wallonia: Hainaut | Liège | Luxembourg | Namur | Walloon Brabant

Brussels-Capital Region | Brussels
Municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region : Anderlecht | Auderghem (Oudergem) | Berchem-Sainte-Agathe (Sint-Agatha-Berchem) | The City of Brussels | Etterbeek | Evere | Forest (Vorst) | Ganshoren | Ixelles (Elsene) | Jette | Koekelberg | Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (Sint-Jans-Molenbeek) | Saint-Gilles (Sint-Gillis) | Saint-Josse-ten-Noode (Sint-Joost-ten-Node) | Schaerbeek (Schaarbeek) | Uccle (Ukkel) | Watermael-Boitsfort (Watermaal-Bosvoorde) | Woluwe-Saint-Lambert (Sint-Lambrechts-Woluwe) | Woluwe-Saint-Pierre (Sint-Pieters-Woluwe)
Minister-President of the Brussels-Capital Region | Brussels Parliament | Governor of Brussels-Capital