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Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest
Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest

Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, or the Brussels Capital Region, is one of the ten provinces contributing to Belgium. The province is located in the valley of the Senne River and consists of 19 municipalities, each with some measure of administrative autonomy. The largest among the municipalities is Brussels, which contains the historic city center and the "European Quarter," home to European Commission and the Council. Due to housing European institutions, Brussels is often nicknamed the "capital of Europe."[8] Located in the central northern part of Belgium, in the Brabantian Plateau, the city of Brussels experiences a "maritime temperate climate."[1] The warmest month in the city tends to be July, while December receives the most precipitation.[6] Regarding local attractions, Brussels features a variety of historical and cultural landmarks scattered across the city. Some of the sights include Maison du Roi, the Grand Place, the Mont des Arts, as well as several museums.[7] In the northern part of the old city stretches Parc de Laeken - Royal Parc, designed in the French style. There are some adjacent attractions near the park as well, such as Atomium, Mini-Europe, Planetarium, and Design Museum Brussels.[4] Another area within the city is Bois de la Cambre Park, located towards the city's southern part.[5]

What Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest is known for

Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest, also known as Brussels Capital Region, is one of the ten provinces of Belgium. The city contains the historic core and the "European Quarter," where the institutions of the European Union can be found. The EU's executive components, located in Brussels, include the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Additionally, the city also hosts the committee sessions of the European Parliament. Thus, Brussels, as the seat of the European Union, is also referred to as the "capital of Europe." [8]

As a result of the region's extensive history, Brussels features a considerable number of historical and cultural landmarks. The Grand Place is one of the stops for tourists visiting Brussels. The square features the town hall, Maison du Roi, and private houses built in the 17th century, making the area a notable display of architecture. Visitors can find the Royal Galleries, one of Europe's oldest covered galleries, not far from the Grand Place. The Mont des Arts offers a panoramic view in all seasons and is home to the Royal Museums of Fine Arts, Bozar, and the Museum of Musical Instruments. Other destinations include the Royal Palace, Place Royale, and Manneken Pis statue. Design enthusiasts can seek out the Design Museum Brussels, located near the Atomium. The Palace of Justice is another considerable architectural landmark, while the Horta House and Koekelberg Basilica offer a glimpse into different architectural styles. Additionally, the city center features a Marolles district where visitors can find traditional cafes, bars, and the Vieux Marché flea market.[7]

Apart from historical and cultural landmarks, Brussels is also home to several scientific institutions, one of them being the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, which features a museum. The museum offers a number of permanent exhibitions, teaching about the history of the earth, animals, and plants.[9] One of the permanent exhibitions in the museum is the Dinosaur Gallery, which is the largest dinosaur exposition in Europe. In the 19th century, 30 well-preserved iguanodon skeletons were discovered in a coal mine in Bernissart, Belgium. The bones were found in their original position, making it possible to display them in realistic poses. In today's time, those fossils are protected due to their historic nature. The museum features a display in the basement, where visitors can see the skeletons in the position in which they were found and learn about the discovery process.[10]


The city of Brussels is situated in the north-central part of Belgium, about 110 km from the Belgian coast and 180 km from the southern tip. It is located in the Brabantian Plateau, south of Antwerp and north of Charleroi. The city's average elevation is 57 m above sea level, with a low point in the valley of the Senne, which cuts the region from east to west, and high points in the Sonian Forest. The city's central boulevards are 15 m above sea level. The highest point is located in the Sonian Forest, not near the Place de l'Altitude Cent/Hoogte Honderdplein in Forest as commonly believed.[1]

There are a variety of parks in Brussels. Among the largest parks within the city belongs the Parc de Laeken - Royal Parc. The park of Laeken was designed in the French style and features alleys, winding paths, lawns, and groves, with the magnolia alley leading to the Dynasty monument, a neo-Gothic style structure with a statue of King Leopold I. Visitors can also see the Sainte-Anne chapel with fountain and the former US pavilion from the 1958 Universal Exhibition. The adjacent area offers a variety of green spaces and other attractions such as the Atomium, Mini-Europe, Planetarium, Design Museum Brussels, Japanese Tower, and Museums of the Far East.[4] Another considerable green area can be found in the southern part of the city, where the Bois de la Cambre park stretches out. The park is an extension of the Sonian Forest and is connected to the City of Brussels by Avenue Louise/Louizalaan. Divided into two oval-shaped parts, the northern section is heavily wooded and also features several 19th-century buildings. In contrast, the southern section includes a six-hectare artificial lake with an island named Robinson Island, home to the Chalet Robinson.[5]

Brussels has an oceanic climate with moderate temperatures throughout the year, as it is influenced by the Atlantic Ocean's marine air masses and nearby wetlands. These factors contribute to a maritime temperate climate. The summers are warm, while the winters are cool in the Brussels region.[1] Regarding the average temperatures in Brussels, the warmest month is July, with an average daily temperature of 24°C. Reportedly, January is the coldest month, as temperatures generally rest around 6°C on average. April tends to be the driest month in Brussels because it receives about 48 mm of rainfall on a typical basis. The most precipitation falls during December, as it receives an average of about 81 mm.[6]


The territory where Brussels is located has traces of human settlement that date back to the Stone Age when the Romans occupied the area during late antiquity. According to legends, Saint Gaugericus founded the settlement in the 6th century. Still, the city's official founding was in 979 when Duke Charles of Lower Lorraine ordered the construction of the city's first permanent fortification on an island where Saint Gaugericus had built a chapel.[1] 

During the Middle Ages, wealthy families called Lineages held municipal power in Brussels and were given certain commercial and political privileges by the Duke of Brabant. These families refused to share their power with the lower classes, leading to a revolt by the tradespeople in the early 14th century. The uprising resulted in the Lineages conceding the tradespeople the right to form guilds and participate in the decisions of the city. Later, Brussels became part of the Spanish Empire in 1477 and the capital of the Habsburg Netherlands in 1609. The city played a notable role in the holy wars and became renowned for its tolerance. In 1830, the Belgian Revolution took place in Brussels, leading to the country's independence and the city becoming the capital of Belgium. Throughout the centuries, Brussels has experienced considerable development, as it was chosen as the home of three World Fairs.[2]

During the Second World War, Brussels was occupied by the German army. After the war, Brussels became more international, hosting the European Communities and NATO headquarters. Later, when Belgium became a federal state, Brussels developed as the capital of the European Union, hosting many of its institutions. By the 21st century, Brussels had become one of the most significant cities in Europe, both economically and politically.[3]

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