Brussels is the capital of Belgium. But it is so much more than just a culture. In Belgium, the Flenders (Dutch speaking) and Wallonia (French speaking) who are divided in the country meet in their capital. I know there is a German enclave in the east but that is a bit further ;-). It is also the capital of the European Union (or, at least a lot of meetings happen here). The total city is home to 1,8 million people, including the suburbs. It is a mixed pot of different nationalities, making it a diverse city with a rich history. Perfect for a day trip!
Enjoy the historical city center
The city center of Brussels is amazingly beautiful. The Grote Markt (Big Market) is an UNESCO world heritage sight and will keep you gazed throughout. The city hall parades high in the square, making it a breathtaking view.
Be sure to walk around the different streets as well with interesting shops selling belgium beers, waffles and fries. Enjoy the street view and walk from one hotspot to another!
There are also squares with terrific views all over the city. Chilling in one of these is never a dull idea!
Or this square:
And every now and then you can also find the modern art blended in with the street art on different walls.
Hunt for the three pissing statues
Brussels is known for Manneke Pis, a legendary statue about which the internet is full with its tales. But did you know about the other two peeing statues in Brussels? Hunting for the collection is fun!
Let’s first start off with Manneke Pis, the most famous one of them all. The 58 centimeter big statue of Brussels is located just around the corner of the Grote Markt. It is one of the famous places in Belgium, and even a mascot for the city of Brussels. The original statue dates back to the 17th century (with stories of previous ones dating back to the 14th century even) to decorate a public fountain. In special occasions, the city let Manneke Pis pee wine or beer! The 17th century version got destroyed in 1817, but the current statue got moulded from the bronze remains of it. It has been stolen in war, and by joke, multiple times.
Manneke Pis his little sister is Jeanneke Pis. The statue dates back to 1987 (good year, my birth year ;-)) and was made by the entrepreneurs surrounding the area to attract more people. It is located in a side street of the busy Beenhouwersstraat, in the little dead end called Getrouwheidsgang.
“Het Zinneke” or “Zinneke Pis” is a statue of a peeing dog established in 1998. This statue is in relation to the Manneke Pis and Jeanneke Pis and illustrates the same theme as the previous statues. It is located on the corner of Kartuizersstraat and Oude Graanmarkt.
Enjoy the palaces
Brussels has a historical city center, that is something I already told you earlier in this blog. But be sure to enjoy the palaces scattered throughout the city as well who complement the beauty of the historical sight. Like the Royal Palace of Brussels for example. We only saw it from outside, but the square it was located on was already quite a sight!
Enjoy the mix of cultures
Brussels is a hotpot of different cultures. As an international city brings together not only a lot of different backgrounds in ethnicity, it also brings the best thing humans can do on this planet: food from every corner of the earth. Brussels has more to offer than waffles. We ate at Toukoul, a great Ethiopian restaurant with very tasty dishes!
Come on now, who does not associate Belgium with beer? From the Delirium café to the multiple bars with loads of special brews made within the country, ANY city in Belgium is actually good for this. Be sure to get the Westvleteren beers, praised as the best beer of the world, in Brussels. In the tourist shops they might cost you € 10,-, but hey, it is for the best beer in the world without a lot of hassle.