Ever been to Belgium before? There’s a chance you’ve heard of Brussels. It is also the capital city there. – as the administrative centre of the European Union, the city also appears in the media regularly. Many visitors to Brussels are interested in seeing the headquarters of the EU alone!
However, there’s more to this continental city than just diplomacy and sprouts (ask a Brit about their Christmas dinner…) – as you’ll soon find out. Here’s some fun facts about Brussels worth remembering for the next pub quiz…
1. Brussels is bustling.
Within its surface area of 32.61 kilometers, Brussels is a busy commercial center with a population of 174,383 (2011).
2. There are plenty of dining options available.
There are roughly 138 restaurants within a square mile here!
3. A Fifth of Belgium’s population lives in Brussels.
Yes – 20% of the population of the country live in the capital. Most of the working population is employed in administration, hospitality or the service sector. However, rush hour traffic in Brussels is just the same as you’d expect in any capital city!
4. Brussels residents enjoy a tipple!
Residents as well as visitors to the city enjoy the local beers on offer. Over 800 brands of beer are available here! That equates to only one third of those produced in the whole country.
5. The French did not invent French fries!
Surprisingly, the term ‘French Fries’ did not originate in France! They were named in Brussels first – and nowadays, the term is used all over the world – of course in France too! Are the Belgians bitter about the slight…?
6. Proud to be green and of their greens!
Brussels is keen to endorse green projects. Conserving energy and recycling are important across the city. Another important green energy comes from their Brussel sprouts, however! They have been cultivated here for 500 years.
7. Eat your greens!
Brussels sprouts are key components in the traditional British Christmas dinner – they’re like miniature cabbages, and they are certainly an acquired taste!
8. Brussels is multicultural and multilingual.
It’s impossible for the people living and working in Brussels to all speak the same languages. The main two languages spoken are French and Flemish Dutch – but as 120 global governments have a base there, many different languages can be heard. Brussels is known to have a range of up to 110 regularly spoken languages!
9. Tourism adds massively to the economy.
In recent years tourism in Brussels has expanded massively. 4.2 million tourists visited the city in 2019 alone. Many visit purely to pass through to visit other areas, while others are keen to explore the culture. Brussels’ own publicity proudly states there’s ‘something for everyone’ here!
10. A royal vacation?
The Royal Palace is a huge tourist attraction in the heart of Brussels. British people may think it resembles somewhere they are familiar with…
Built in a neo-classical design, the exterior of the palace has a close similarity to that of London’s Buckingham Palace. It’s a popular photo backdrop, too!
11. In at the deep end!
Brussels boasts the world’s deepest indoor swimming pool. It is a whopping 115 feet deep and is so far considered the deepest indoor pool to be found on the planet. It holds 2.7 million liters of water.
12. Shopping can get pricey here!
Brussels’ ‘Galleries’ are renowned for housing big names in shopping and prices to match. It’s an expensive day out, but a pretty exclusive one – worth saving the pennies for, then!
FAQs about Brussels
What is the Manneken?
The Manneken is the symbol of Brussels as well as a symbol for Belgium in general. Pictures and statues of him are found in lots of places and tourists often take home small replicas or photos of him.
Why do people blush when they see the Manneken?
The Manneken isn’t shy - he’s urinating - only the brave put him on display!
Why is Brussels known as a city of museums?
Brussels is known as a city of museums simply because there’s a lot of them! There are underwear, fencing, police, comic book, automobile, musical instrument, sewer and mythology museums here!
Do you know any fun facts about Brussels? Share them in the comments below!
Are you interested in discovering more fun facts about European cities? Check out these facts about Paris!