© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula

Capital of Europe: the European quarter in Brussels

3 minutes to read

Brussels, capital of Europe

The genesis of Brussels as “capital of Europe” started in 1957, when the European Economic Community was created by six founding member states, who were willing to join their forces and speak with a single and unified voice on the international stage. Until then, and also the 1958’s Universal Expo that propelled the city at an international level, Brussels was just a “provincial” town - as would Lyon, Marseille or Bologna be today. 

Since then, everything changed dramatically for the best ... and also the worst: like the lack of smart urban architecture planning that resulted in an anarchic conglomerate of streets and neighborhoods that we can witness today.  

 Do you want to know more about the “European Washington DC”?

© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula

The European quarter

Iconic buildings & a green space

The journey starts at the roundabout of Schumann, located on Rue de la Loi, in what is called the “European quarter.” This is where political decisions are made that have a direct impact on the everyday life of hundreds of millions of citizens across the continent. More precisely, two iconic buildings, which you surely saw already in pictures, are world-famous as they reflect this power: the Berlaymont, the seat of the European Commission, and the Europa building, that houses the Council of the European Union. These places are just a few steps away from the Parc du Cinquantenaire, a green area where people relax, enjoy with their family and friends, or visit some monuments and enter museums.

© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
Berlaymont building, Brussels
Berlaymont building, Brussels
Rue de la Loi 200, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgique
Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire, Brussels
Parc du Cinquantenaire, 1000 Brussel, Belgium

Place du Luxembourg & the Parlamentarium

 Place du Luxembourg (Luxembourg Square) is the ideal place for feeling the international atmosphere and spirit of Brussels. It is located just next to the European Parliament. You may have learned that the European Parliament is based in Strasbourg, and you are therefore asking what this institution is in Brussels. It is indeed in Strasbourg that the Parliament's official seat is located, and where plenary sittings take place. That said,  parliamentary committees meet in Brussels. The Parlamentarium is the visitors center of the European Parliament, where you can learn a lot about the history of European integrations.

The Parlamentarium, Brussels
The Parlamentarium, Brussels
Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Bruxelles, Belgique

The Place du Luxembourg is a very busy place. On Thursday nights, bars and coffee shops are crowded with young expats willing to meet.

© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
Place de Luxembourg, Brussels
Place de Luxembourg, Brussels
Luxemburgplein, 1050 Elsene, Belgium

Mediterranean cuisine in the European quarter

Closeby, you will find a spot that I strongly recommend, where you can try the best Mediterranean cuisine: it is called El Turco Restaurant. For 28 EUR per person (16 EUR for kids), it is an “all-you-can-eat” option, from starters to meat, vegetables, pasta, and desserts.

El Turco restaurant, Brussels
El Turco restaurant, Brussels
Place de Londres 6, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique

A multicultural capital

Beyond the European quarter, the status of Brussels as an international capital can be seen everywhere. It houses more than 100 nationalities (from Europe and beyond), and it is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities. You will hear dozens of languages spoken wherever you wander around, and you will find restaurants proposing tasty and local cuisine from every corner of the globe. Interestingly, like many other cities around the world, communities tend to cluster geographically: the Turkish community is very present in Saint-Josse, the French are in Ixelles or Uccle; other Europeans mainly in Etterbeek, Woluwé or Schaerbeek.


Interesting towns related to this story


The author

Nicolas Casula

Nicolas Casula

I got the travel virus when taking a 5-months travel break a few years ago. I believe that every place, every area is worth unveiling. Beauty lies everywhere.

Stories you might also like