EUROPE HEADQUARTERS

Brussels, also known for being the headquarters of the European Union, is a capital for politics, arts and further education. Its both new and old monumental buildings and squares give the impression of strength and wholesomeness. In the Espace LĂ©opold, directly in front of the Luxembourg Square, you can register for guided tours of the modern European Parliament complex, where also a state-of-the-art visitor's centre is at your disposal. Walking east, the Parc du Cinquantenaire, a landscaped 19th-century city park with gardens and fountains, is another good example of political power through architecture and city planning. Following the axe of the park and between the two museums on each flank is the Triumphal Arch. Not quite like Paris, but still majestic. Located completely on the other edge of town, more precisely on the Heysel Plateau, is the Atomium landmark. Originally constructed for the 1958 Brussels World's Fair, it is now a museum with different exhibit halls, a restaurant and other public spaces. Its full height of 102m and the 18m diameter stainless steel clad spheres (five accessible) are connected so that it looks like a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times. A panoramic view of Brussels is possible from the restaurant situated on top. Brussels downtown is not that different from its other European siblings. Many museums, churches and the impressive St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral near the Parc de Bruxelles. Right on the opposite side of the park is the Royal Palace of Brussels, palace of the constitutional monarchy with throne and other state rooms open for tours each summer. Although it's the most famous symbol of the city - the Manneken Pis - I found it, just like the way it is, a small waste of time. I don't get its charm nor why it became so adored by tourists. On the other hand, the winding narrow streets, the Place des Martyrs, the Mont des Arts and subsequently the Meeting Centre, and of course the Grand Place, are places where you should be spending on your time.


For more information: