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Brussels
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Brussels is the capital city of Belgium & of Brussels Capital Region and the administrative centre of the European Union. This has earned the city the title of the Capital of Europe. It is entirely surrounded by Dutch-speaking Flanders and its constituent Flemish Brabant province. As headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union. Being at the crossroads of cultures (the Germanic in the North and the Romance in the South) and playing an important role in Europe, Brussels fits the definition of the archetypal "melting pot", but still retains its own unique character. The population of the city of Brussels is 1 million and the population of Brussels metropolitan area is just over 2 million.

Brussels has been given its character by the coexistence of French and Flemish culture, and it is nowadays home to nationalities around the world, adding a cosmopolitan flavour to its atmosphere. The vibrant atmosphere of Brussels is further enhanced by picturesque medieval streets, lively squares, beautiful boulevards, impressive monuments, spacious parks, cosy cafés, interesting restaurants and an active cultural life. Brussels is the bilingual capital of Belgium. This means that both French and Dutch are the official languages of the city. Street names and traffic sings are always in these two languages. Furthermore, it is a cosmopolitan city where many different cultures live together and where different languages can be heard on each street. This liveliness and international flair is, of course, intimately related to its role as a crossroads for all of Europe.

The same variety and contrast can also be found in the different architectural styles that can be found in Brussels, the former capital of the medieval Duchy of Brabant. Gothic cathedrals and churches are next to - and sometimes in stark contrast with - gracious classical facades like the buildings around the Royal Square (Place Royale - Koningsplein), or beautiful art nouveau and art deco houses. The heart of Brussels and the place to start getting to know the city is the Grand'Place (Grote Markt). This historic market square with its splendid guild houses and the impressive Gothic beauty of the Town Hall, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe.
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Visitors can experience the beauty of the art and architecture, marvel at the bizarre sight of the Mannekin-Pis statue, and spend time shopping for traditional souvenirs such as Belgian chocolate and lace. The National Opera House and many other theatres host a variety of events and concerts for those wanting some high culture, and there are plenty of restaurants offering gastronomic delights. These outings can be rounded off by a drink or two in any one of the lively bars located near the Grand Place. Serving as the centre of administration for Europe, Brussels' economy is largely service-oriented. It is dominated by regional and world headquarters of multinationals, by European institutions, by various administrations, and by related services, though it does have a number of notable craft industries, such as the Cantillon Brewery, a lambic brewery founded in 1900.

Brussels has a maritime temperate climate, characterised by warm summers and mild winters. The city has a high average annual rainfall, and visitors can expect a downpour any time of year. Temperatures range from highs of around 80F (27C) in summer to 45F (7C) during the middle of winter. Snow is possible, but not frequent, in winter.
Places to Visit in Brussels
The Atomium
Manneken-Pis
Place du Grand-Sablon
Grand-Place
Palais Royal
St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral