What to do, see & eat in Brussels
A lot! We had a brilliant time in Brussels and felt like we still only managed to experience a tiny percentage of what this amazing city has to offer! Watch our Brussels Travel & Food Guide video and discover more!
Brussels / Travel Guide Video
Getting close to Brussels, Belgium - This travelogue brings us to the heart of Europe. We visit the attractions Brussels is most famous for and move on to explore lesser-known areas.
Brussels, Belgium | History
Brussels was a location for settlement since prehistory but it became a noteworthy settlement after Saint Gery built a chapel on the banks of the Senne River in 695, now called Place Saint Gery. The city of Brussels was officially founded in 979 by Charles, Duke of Low Lotharingia, who set down Brussels’ first city charter. Since then Brussels has seen many rulers, renaissances and revolutions.
Belgium’s last great revolt was in 1830 when it protested against King William of the Netherlands to gain independence. King Leopold I, who was the uncle of Queen Victoria, became the first King of the Kingdom of Belgium on 21 July 1831. The walls of the city were taken down during this period (1810-1840) and replaced by a set of boulevards in the shape of a pentagon following the original outline of the Old Town Brussels, called the Inner Ring Road. The current circle metro line weaves around this same ring road. Rapid growth of the population followed and by 1846 Brussels had 123,000 inhabitants.
The 20th century was a period of war and development. After World War I and World War II, Germany occupying Brussels on both occasions, Brussels was a part of the Brussels Pact (or Brussels Treaty) in 1948 which led to the initiation of the Western European defence cooperation. At present, the European Union, an economic cooperation, is still continuing to development. In the 1960s the first metro lines were built to ease urban congestion; in 1970s and 1980s further political reform created the Brussels Capital Region, expanding the City of Brussels to an urban agglomeration with a population of just over 1 million.
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