Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and the seat of the EU. As a result, it is known as the Capital of Europe. Brussels is famous for Tintin, luxury chocolate, comics and brilliant beer. It is home to one of the most beautiful squares in Europe and the largest chocolate outlet in the world. In fact, Brussels is famous for its food, from sprouts to its thriving restaurant scene. Ready to learn more about this tasty destination? Here are some of the most interesting facts about Brussels.
7 Interesting Facts about Brussels
1. Brussels is a global city
Brussels is known as the Capital of Europe. It is the seat of the EU and is home to the NATO headquarters. Because of this, there are a lot of international workers and residents in the city. In fact, there are 179 different nationalities living in the city making Brussels a truly global city.
2. The Grand Palace is the heart of Brussels
Perhaps the most recognisable landmark in Brussels is the Grand Palace, which is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe. The Grand Palace is surrounded by opulent Baroque buildings, the resplendent Town Hall and the striking neo-Gothic King’s House, which is now home to the Brussels City Museum. The square is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered an architectural jewel. There is usually some sort of performance or festival taking place with the most spectacular being the carpet of flowers which is on display every August.
3. Brussels sprouts really do come from Brussels
Researchers traced the history of the small green vegetable back to the 13th-century in the Brussels area. However, it wasn’t until the 18th-century that the French coined the name choux de Bruxelles – cabbage of Brussels. Researchers believe Brussel sprouts to be descendants of wild Mediterranean kale.
4. Brussels has 138 restaurants per square mile
Brussels is a terrific city for food lovers as it has a wide range and a huge amount of restaurants from which to choose. Being such a multicultural city, this is reflected in the diverse restaurant scene. You can eat all kinds of international cuisines. However, if you want to keep it local, make sure you try moules frites (mussels and fries), praline chocolates and Boulets à la Liégeoise (meatballs). Don’t miss the hot gaufre (waffles) covered in syrup and cones of frites (fries) covered in mayonnaise.
5. Brussels is home to the largest chocolate outlet in the world
Belgian chocolate is famous the world over, so it is no surprise that Brussels Airport is the largest chocolate outlet in the world. Residents and tourists buy roughly 1.5 kg of chocolate per minute, which is about 2 tonnes per day and more than 800 tonnes per year. At the airport, you’ll find the Belgian Chocolate House, where you can stock up on the finest brands of Belgian chocolate, for instance, Neuhaus, Godiva, Leonidas, Corné Port-Royal and Marcolini, as well as most popular brands like Galler, Dandoy, Destrooper, Starbrook and Guylian.
6. The oldest shopping arcade in Europe is in Brussels
Europe’s oldest shopping arcade is the “Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert ” in Brussels. Architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer constructed the glazed shopping arcades in the centre of the city between the years 1846 and 1847. Today, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert includes luxurious shops, elegant cafés and restaurants.
7. Brussels has one of the world’s deepest swimming pools
Some 35 metres deep, the Nemo 33 in Brussels was, when it opened in May 2004, the deepest swimming pool in the world. The Y-40 pool in Italy took this title when it opened in 2014. Today, the Nemo 33 pool in Brussels is the fourth-deepest swimming pool in the world. The Neno 33 is a practice ground for scuba divers and features lots of simulated underwater caves that the divers can explore.