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in Brussels

Destination Information

The cosmopolitan capital of Belgium is a bilingual city where both French and Dutch are official languages. All of the streets have two names; for example, the main square is called both La Grand-Place and de Grote Markt. The Grote Markt contains an array of spectacular Gothic buildings, including the 15th-century Brussels City Hall, which towers 315 feet above the square and is capped by a 12-foot statue of St. Michael. Elsewhere, you will find art nouveau museums and art deco residences. Brussels is also a European gastronomic capital. Street fare includes moules frites, fresh waffles, handcrafted chocolate and artisanal beer. 

Editor Tips

Delightful Square

Squares are common enough in European cities, but La Grand-Place is a standout. I love the guild houses, which, during the evenings of April to September, are washed with colored lights. Christmas is especially lovely with a huge tree and crèche.

Victor Horta

The city takes pride in its collection of art nouveau structures. Locally, the foremost proponent was architect Victor Horta, and admirers of the style will find a visit to the Horta Museum (25 Rue Américaine) rewarding.

Local Beer

Memorable bars in which to try local beers include Au Bon Vieux Temps (Impasse Saint-Nicolas 8/4), which has an extraordinary gothic interior, and the lively A l’Imaige Nostre-Dame (Rue du Marché aux Herbes 8), with wood beams and stained-glass windows.

Interesting Fashion

Some of Brussels’ most interesting fashion can be found along Rue Antoine Dansaert between Rue des Poissonniers and the Place du Nouveau Marché aux Grains.

Art & Design Museum

ADAM (Place de Belgique), the Art and Design Atomium Museum, opened in 2015. Its colorful permanent collection of plastic objects is housed in the unique “Plasticarium.”