Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major center for international politics and the home of numerous international organizations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants. Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches (though the judicial branch is located in Luxembourg, and the European Parliament meets for a minority of the year in Strasbourg and its name is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions. The secretariat of the Benelux and headquarters of NATO are also located in Brussels. As the economic capital of Belgium and one of the top financial centers of Western Europe with Euronext Brussels, it is classified as an Alpha global city. Brussels is a hub for rail, road and air traffic, sometimes earning the moniker “Crossroads of Europe”. The Brussels Metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the largest and busiest in the country.
Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century. The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch, even though French is now the de facto main language with over 90% of the population speaking it. Brussels is also increasingly becoming multilingual. English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population and many migrants and expatriates speak other languages.
5 Days / 4 Nights Brussels, Belgium Tours & Accommodation package. Enhance your sightseeing experience of Brussels on a hop-on hop-off tour and gain a fascinating insight into the city’s history with informative pre-recorded commentary. When an attraction captures your interest, disembark to explore further, and then simply wait at a nearby stop for the next bus to arrive. Buses depart every 30 minutes and tickets are valid for either 24 or 48 hours depending on the option selected by booking.
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