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Destination guides > Europe > Belgium > Brussels

Brussels (Bruxelles, Brussel)

Brussels is renowned for sprouts, bureaucracy and a tiny statue called the Mannekin Pis. However there is good stuff there as well. The capital of a country which has hundreds of breweries and which has produced Tin Tin, The Smurfs and Asterix can't be all that bad.

Brussels has its fair share of museums, although its most famous landmark is the Atomium which is located away from the centre in the Bruparck Entertainment Complex. It is also worth wandering around the Grand Place which Victor Hugo described as "the most beautiful square in the world".

Practical information

Belgium is split between French and Dutch speaking regions with Brussels officially classified as a bilingual community. Although most of the surrounding suburbs are Flemish speaking the centre feels more French than Flemish. Most travellers have a better grasp of French than Dutch, although South Africans generally find it an easy language because of its similarity to Afrikaans. Because of Brussels position as a centre for various European and international organisations, many of the locals speak English very well, so language shouldn't be a problem.

 

Brussels bilingual situation makes things a little confusing for travellers since there are often two (and sometimes three) different names for institutions, streets and places. Generally we list the name in the language in which it is most commonly known. However in other cases we may list the French name followed by the Dutch name, if there is a commonly recognised English name we may quote that as well.

 

Value Added Tax and service charges are included in most prices. With the exception of cinema ushers (who expect €0.50), tipping is not really necessary in Belgium. If service is exceptional, you may want to add up to an extra 5% in restaurants.

 

If you can read French, the monthly Kiosk has listings of whats happening around town including info on cafés, bars and cultural events. If you can't get by in either French or Dutch then pick up the English-language weekly, Bulletin (€2.35). This rather dry publication has a What's On section with cinema and event listings among the business and European Union related news.

INFORMATION CENTRES & USEFUL NUMBERS
BITC - Brussels Tourist Information

Hôtel de Ville, Grand Place, 1000 Brussels
Métro Bourse
Tel (02) 513 89 40

Website www.brusselsinternational.be

Belgian Tourist Information Office

63, rue du Maché aux Herbes, 1000 Brussels
Métro Bourse
Tel (02) 504 03 90

Waterloo Tourist Information Office

149, chausée de Bruxelles, 1410 Waterloo
Tel (02) 354 99 10

Train Information

Gare du Nord

Tel (02) 203 36 40

STIB Public Transport Enquires

20, galeries de la Toison d'Or, 1060 Brussels
Tel (02) 515 20 00

Lost property - STIB métro, trams & buses

Porte de Namur, 1050 Brussels
Métro Porte de Namur
Tel (02) 515 23 94

Lost property - trains

Gare du Nord

Tel (02) 224 61 12

EMBASSIES
Australian Embassy

6, rue Guimard, 1040 Brussels
Métro Arts-Loi
Tel (02) 231 05 00

British Embassy

85, rue d'Arlon, 1040 Brussels
Métro Maelbeck
Tel (02) 287 62 17

Canadian Embassy

2, avenue Tervuren, 1040 Brussels
Métro Merode
Tel (02) 735 80 40

Irish Embassy

chaussée d'Etterbeek 180, Bruxelles / 180 Etterbeeksesteenweg, Brussel
Tel (02) 235 6676
Website www.embassyofireland.be

New Zealand Embassy

47-48, boulevard de Regent, 1000 Brussels
Métro Arts-Loi, Madou
Tel (02) 512 10 40

United States Embassy

27 boulevard du Regent, 1000 Brussels
Métro Arts-Loi
Tel (02) 513 21 11

INTERNET ACCESS

2GO4 Quality Hostel has free wireless internet access. You can also find free Wi-Fi access at many cafes and libraries throughout the city.

 

 


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