Brussels is the capital of Belgium and is known as a “city of diplomats”. The city is the headquarters for NATO and the European Union and its diplomatic skills are constantly tested, having to cater to the bilingual tensions between the French and Flemish-speaking residents. While Brussels does not offer much in the way of historic sightseeing, it allures via its beers, waffles, chocolate, seafood, and festivals.
There are plenty of things to do for visitors. Shopaholics should visit the world’s first shopping mall, the Galeries Saint Hubert-Sint Hubertusgalerijen, which opened back in 1847. The mall is a triple gallery full of boutique shops, bookstores, cafes, and restaurants, and includes a theater and a cinema. For Chocolate lovers, the Marcolini offers the best Belgian chocolates in the world. Beer guzzlers might check out Beer Mania, a beer store with more than 400 different kinds of beer. Art-lovers can visit the Royal Museum of the Fine Arts of Belgium, which comprises the most complete collection of Belgium’s fine arts with works by Rubens, Pieter Bruegel, and Paul Delvaux, among its collection.
Visitors can also check out the landmark Manneken Pis. This is the famous bronze statute of a child urinating. It is supposed to represent the “irreverent spirit” of the city. The statute is located at the Grand Place-Grote Markt, which is one of the few remnants of Brussel’s Old Town that has been left intact. This beautiful market square is the pride of Brussels. It is enclosed by ornate, Baroque guild houses and a 15th century Town Hall that is 96-meter high and Gothic in style.
The Royal Palace of Belgium is also worth checking out. It was the official palace of the King of the Belgians but was not used by King who actually lived at the Royal Castle of Laeken just outside Brussels. Another important site is the Atomium, a monument representing the unit cell of an iron crystal. The monument stands at 103 meters and was built for the 1958 World’s Fair.