The city of Brussels plays a very important role in Belgium. Aside from being regarded as the country’s capital, the place serves as the main gateway to the country. Since the city is one of the stop spots when you are heading towards the country’s inland, it often serves as an entry point where various products for exportation and importation from the Channel ports are transported. The place is also a prime spot for travelers as Brussels is also a convenient stop-over for those who are headed towards France or The Netherlands.
A Glimpse at the City’s History
What is now the splendid capital city of Belgium used to be an area with swamps and quagmires in its early years. In fact, its original physical landscape was the source of its name. Brussels was once referred to as Broekzele”, which means “city of the marsh”.
Development and industrialization struck the marshland during the sixth century. During that period, the trade between Cologne and Brugges prospered. Being a trade route, the humble town received its fair share of profits. According to historical narratives, the town rapidly achieved development under the Habsburgs. It then became the capital of the Spanish Netherlands. As Belgium achieved liberty during the nineteenth century, Brussels took the title of capital city as well.
What You Can Do in Brussels
For the businessmen, entrepreneurs and the diplomats, Brussels primarily serves as a splendid spot to do business and furnish sales agreements. Aside from the fact that it is the headquarters for the European Union (EU) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the place is also an area for relaxation and entertainment for the typical traveler who wants to do nothing but to have fun.
If you pay a visit to Brussels, expect a lot – not only in terms of the places that you need to visit but in terms of the activities that you can engage in. The city offers a number of notable museums that art and culture enthusiasts should pay attention to. If you’re after medieval structures, Brussels also has a large and beautiful cathedral that you can visit. And, if you want to shop and discover the life of an ordinary native at the heart of the city – visit the Grote Market.
Although Brussels is quite popular for its waffles, its culinary offers are not as limited as it appears. Restaurants – both in the upper and lower regions – offer a wide variety of cuisines from various countries in the European region. Another local specialty that you must try is the special Belgian chocolates that every body is talking about. Belgian beer is also an abundant commodity, not only in pubs and clubs in the area – but from restaurants, bistros, and café as well. Aside from indulging in foods and delicacies, you can also participate in various festivals in the area.
Some Precautions to the Traveler
In general, Brussels is safe for tourists. However, there are some areas that are prone to crime – especially theft – during the night. If you are a newbie and you are traveling alone, you should take extreme precautions when taking a stroll at the westward arc in between the North and Midi railway stations, as well as the area between Rogier and De Brouckere Metro stations.