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Location Brussels, Belgium
  • Brussels launches permanent citizens’ assembly on climate, knoca.eu (Nov 17, 2022)

Brussels (French: Bruxelles [bʁysɛl] (listen) or [bʁyksɛl] (listen); Dutch: Brussel [ˈbrʏsəl] (listen)), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; Dutch: Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest), is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region (within which it forms an enclave) and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated region in Belgium, and although it has the highest GDP per capita, it has the lowest available income per household. It covers 162 km2 (63 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of over 1.2 million. The five times larger metropolitan area of Brussels comprises over 2.5 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major centre for international politics and home to numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches (though the judicial branch is located in Luxembourg, and the European Parliament meets for a minority of the year in Strasbourg). Because of this, its name is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions. The secretariat of the Benelux and the headquarters of NATO are also located in Brussels. As the economic capital of Belgium and a top financial centre of Western Europe with Euronext Brussels, it is classified as an Alpha global city. Brussels is a hub for rail, road and air traffic, and is sometimes considered, together with Belgium, as the geographic, economic and cultural crossroads of Europe. The Brussels Metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the largest and busiest in the country.

Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century. Nowadays, the Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch, even though French is the lingua franca with over 90% of the inhabitants being able to speak it. Brussels is also increasingly becoming multilingual. English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population and many migrants and expatriates speak other languages as well.

Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomic offer (including its local waffle, its chocolate, its French fries and its numerous types of beers), as well as its historical and architectural landmarks; some of them are registered as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Principal attractions include its historic Grand-Place/Grote Markt (main square), Manneken Pis, the Atomium, and cultural institutions such as La Monnaie/De Munt and the Museums of Art and History. Due to its long tradition of Belgian comics, Brussels is also hailed as a capital of the comic strip.

Networks and sustainability initiatives[edit | edit source]

Food activism[edit | edit source]

BEES coop supermarket
Authors: Quentin Crespel, Sep 29, 2015
  • BEES coop, social, not-for-profit co-operative, Brussels

Cycling[edit | edit source]

The Gordelroute is a permanent cycle route encircling Brussels, based on De Gordel. It does not follow the same route as that used in the event, mainly following quieter roads and cycle paths, but is approximately the same distance (100 km).

Villo! (a portmanteau of the French words "Ville" (City) and "Vélo" (Bicycle)) is a public bicycle rental programme in Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium.

It was launched on 19 May 2009 in cooperation between the Brussels-Capital region and the company JCDecaux as a replacement of the former scheme Cyclocity, launched in 2006.

The scheme is currently in its second phase of expansion which will see a system of 5,000 bikes in all of the municipalities of the Brussels region by 2013, making it one of the biggest in the world.

Resources[edit | edit source]

Community resources[edit | edit source]

Funding[edit | edit source]

BrusselsTogether, "lets you create a virtual association so that you can get started in no time and focus on what you want to do to improve Brussels"

Maps[edit | edit source]

Plasticfree options in Brussels, July 2015, Yes! my life is plasticless

Other resources[edit | edit source]

News and comment[edit | edit source]

2021

  • How Brussels residents are putting the ideas of Doughnut Economics into practice, doughnuteconomics.org (Jan 26, 2021)

2019

Citizen Spring: The new movement connecting social enterprises across Brussels and Antwerp, May 19 [1]

2018

Brussels to make public transport free on high air pollution days, Feb 26 [2]

2017

European Commission honours Malmö and Brussels as leaders in sustainable mobility, Mar [3]

2016

Car-free Belgium: why can't Brussels match Ghent's pedestrianised vision? Nov 28 [4]

In Brussels, online food couriers launch their own platform co-op, Oct 13 [5]

2015

Potager Alhambra, Brussels, Belgium. October 28 [6]

Brussels: a car-free sunday 13 times in a row [7]

2014

One-minute manifesto: give Brussels back its river – video, June 6 [8]

Brussels is one of the most 'passive' cities in Europe and soon to be the home of the two largest passive buildings in the continent, March 19 [9]

External links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

Page data
Type Location
Keywords cities, european cities
Published 2022
License CC-BY-SA-4.0
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