I’ve been in Brussels at least 50 times, mostly for work, but sometimes purely for play. After finishing uni, I hung about Brussels for ages, partly because I wasn’t ready to begin a proper job right away, and partly because that’s where everyone was in those days. Later, when I did get around to finding a job, it was one that brought me to Brussels frequently. In fact, I was there for an EU committee meeting on the very day Norway had the referendum which rejected yet another invitation to join the union.
And that’s perhaps what first comes to mind when thinking of Brussels. Not Norway, specifically, in fact, not Norway at all – but the European Union.
flags outside the European Parliament
But Brussels is a city in its own right, beyond being the capital of Europe. There’s yummy chocolate, first-rate beer, fabulous architecture and groovy street art, and there’s TinTin. What more could one want? Here are a few Brussels Instagrams.
Brussels main square, La Grand-Place, is one of the prettiest in all of Europe, encircled by the 15th century town hall the 16th century King’s House and several 17th century guildhalls. I love how the various architectural styles – some are Baroque, some are Gothic and some Louis XIV – work so beautifully together.
Grand Place is surrounded by little streets and alleys full of quirky shops, bars and cafes. I always seem to pop into the TinTin boutique and adore the clever little Belgian journalist.
On my last visit, I was lucky enough to catch the International Festival of Ice Sculptures ‘Ice Magic’, dedicated to the world of comics – including (but not limited to) Smurfs, Thor, Asterix, Gaston Lagaffe, Thorgal, Lucky Luke and, of course, TinTin and his entourage.
The temperamental Captain Haddock
He is indeed a Brussels icon, and the subject of several works of art around town.
Even without TinTin, the street art scene of Brussels is dynamic and colourful.
The city’s architecture is world class, and not just La Grand-Place. This is the apartment (and museum) of Victor Horta, one of several gorgeous Art Nouveau town houses in Brussels he built in the late 1800s.
The Horta Museum is located in St Gilles, Brussels’ artistic neighbourhood, full of galleries, boutiques and pubs.
Another notable architectural feat is Stoclet House, designed by Josef Hoffman and an excellent example of the Vienna Secession movement.
But food….. isn’t there any food? From the country that has given us some of the world’s most famous beers, chocolates, frites (fries), and waffles, surely just one Brussels Instagram of food…
OK, since you asked: Here’s just a small selection of the ubiquitous Gaufre belge:
La Grand-Place, the townhouses of Victor Horta and Stoclet House are all UNESCO World Heritage sites – that’s three for one here in Brussels.
Here are more UNESCO World Heritage sites we have visited around the world.
Beautiful photos 🙂
Thank you; Brussels is a photogenic city.
Brussels is not my favorite city in Belgium, but I do love certain parts of it. I do love Belgian food, too. I love your instagram pics.
Thanks, Corinne. Many sweet towns and cities in Belgium… Brügge, Ghent, Dinant, Namur, Tongeren…
You’ve been in Brussels for at least 50 times? Either it is mostly for work or for play; You have an idea and exact knowledge sabot the place. Though Brisbane is my favorite place I love to travel anywhere and discover things.
I quite like Brisbane, too 🙂
Oh my, that photo of waffles is enough to convince anyone to travel to Brussels! I’d be willing to make the trip just for TinTin as well. Haven’t yet been anywhere in Belgium – but hopefully soon!!
Lots of fun things for kids to do and see, too – not just TinTin 🙂
Brussels looks very unique. I love the picture of the street art. Thanks for sharing!
Brussels – and Belgium – are in some ways similar to the neighbouring countries, but in other ways very unique. A few years ago, they even managed to run the country for almost 2 years without an elected government.
I love Brussels. It’s such an interesting combo of Paris and Amsterdam yet very much its own place.
And the location is great, too.
Lovely, You’ve shown me a different side of Brussels. We’ve been twice, but I have to admit I’ve never truly explored it other than the very touristy part of it.
With THAT Belgian waffles, I wouldn’t mind going back there 50 times!