IWTO Multi Stakeholder & Wool Round Table Events, Brussels 2014

Brussels, none
Monday, 01 December 2014

INFORMATION ABOUT BRUSSELS AND BELGIUM


IWTO would like to thank VisitBrussels for their support in the organisation of this event.



General Introduction to Brussels

This cosmopolitan city expresses itself in a style very much its own: sometimes rebellious and mischievous, sometimes thoughtful and composed, but always very likeable. Despite its European dimension and despite all the different languages spoken on the corner of every street, Brussels is still inspired by a very "village-like" spirit. Of course, it's well known for its Grand-Place, the Atomium, the Manneken-Pis, Gueuze and Kriek, waffles and chocolates...  But, just one tip: take the time to soak up the very special atmosphere of its many different districts. Take a stroll to Rue Dansaert, Halles Saint-Géry and Place Sainte-Catherine.  Head for Saint-Boniface, Châtelain or Flagey... You'll discover a Brussels that's in the spirit of the times, a capital that's relaxed and comfortable, as much in its history as in its present-day reality. Very fashionable. Very designer. Very creative. In other words, in a nutshell, just relish Brussels, a fine and beautiful city to explore and discover...

  

Population: There are around 1.1 million inhabitants and approximately 30% of the city's total population is foreign
Surface Area: The conurbation covers a total surface area of 16,179 ha. and the city's green spaces (parks, woods, forest) account for 11.4% of the region's territory
Climate: Brussels has a temperate, maritime climate
Time zone: The time is GMT +1 in winter GMT + 2 in summer
Languages: Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well. English is widely spoken throughout Belgium as a second or third language by native Belgians. 

European Institutions in Brussels

Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, the Brussels-Capital Region, and both the Flemish and French Communities, it has also become the de facto capital of Europe since the decision of the member states to make Brussels the seat of the European institutions in 1997.  In the course of successive enlargements more and more European institutions have become established in the Brussels-Capital Region, which has created a European neighbourhood in the heart of the Region.  For more information on the different institutions and their roles within Europe click here.

Wednesday, 3 December - 09:00-11:00 hrs - Visit the European Parliament

Complete your stay in Brussels with a guided tour of the European Parliament. Covering the role and work of this institution, the tour includes a visit to the Parliament's plenary chamber. Space is limited, so make sure you include this option in your registration. If you have already registered and would like to be on the tour, email IWTO at meetings@iwto.org to make arrangements.  We can take bookings for this tour up until November 17th.

Self-guided walk to see the buildings of the European Parliament and EU institutions

Brussels is the capital of 500 million Europeans, a lively city which offers a permanently cosmopolitan ambiance thanks to the diversity of its different cultures from past and present and from here and elsewhere. In the European institutions district, there are a lot of business people to the m² but Place du Luxembourg is a real world assembly place and the favourite "terrace" of an international group of people who get on well with each other in all languages. Solidarnosc Esplanade 1980 welcomes you with open arms and leads you towards the entrance to the European Parliament and the Parlamentarium: its new and super-modern visitors’ centre, which tells you everything about the history, work and projects of this institution. Just behind this imposing building, Leopold Park is a rustic oasis in the heart of the city. In its vicinity, the Wiertz Museum and its enormous paintings and the Museum of Natural Sciences and its procession of iguanodons. As you leave the park, Place Jean Rey allows you to admire the reflection of an urban landscape in the windows of the Delors building, which houses the Economic and Social Committee and, opposite, the Justus Lipsus, which is home to the Council of the EU. Rue Froissart takes you to the Schuman roundabout to reveal the majestic entrance of the Berlaymont, whose flags of the member countries salute the work of the European Commission. And as crowning piece of this journey, an exploration of Parc du Cinquantenaire created for the 50th anniversary of Belgium. It houses museums, works of art and other cultural surprises. At the top of the archways of its triumphal arch, an unbeatable panoramic view over the whole city awaits you.  Click here for the walking map

International Organisations based in Brussels

Brussels is one of the world's largest centres for international organisations, NGOs, industry associations, interest groups and diplomatic missions.

There are many reasons for Brussels’ popularity among international organisations. As the capital of Europe, Brussels is seen as a neutral and international environment. Hence locating a secretariat in Brussels avoids any national or linguistic bias. Moreover, Brussels’ location at the heart of Western Europe and its favourable transportation links make it easy to reach international institutions in major cities such as London, Paris, Strasbourg and Geneva.

As home to the key political and decision-making institutions of the EU, Brussels is the logical location for lobbying activities, and a unique place from which to monitor EU policies and political and economic developments. Industry associations and other lobby groups can also assist with the implementation of policies and legislation that have a direct or indirect effect on their stakeholders. The high level of education and presence of top universities, international schools, business schools and advanced technical programmes also make Brussels an important base for international organisations.

Services essential to international organisations are also readily available in Brussels, with easy access to a pool of highly qualified, multi-lingual staff for translation and interpretation.

Last but not least, Belgium is one of the few places in the world to accord associations special legal recognition and registration status in terms of legal entity.

Belgian History

From early times through to the present day, the history of Brussels has been played out within a physical framework remarkably well-suited to ushering in the birth of a major urban conurbation.
 
Born at the point where two contrasting regions - one, to the west, made up of marshy plains and the other, to the east, comprising hills and low plateaux - come together, the city has successfully taken advantage of its central location. It did so first by ousting Louvain as capital of the Duchy of Brabant, then by receiving confirmation of its political functions down the years under successive regimes and, finally, by ascending to the rank of European capital.

Click here for further information on the history of Belgium.

 

What to do in Brussels...

Brussels is a city of fine food, cafe culture, Art Nouveau architecture and the surreal.  Go window shopping on swish Ave Louise or buy dried caterpillars just blocks away in Matonge, the capital’s African quarter. Some of the world’s most enduring images of surrealist art were created in the nondescript northern suburb of Jette. And the architecture ranges from monumental edifices such as the Grand Place to organic Art Nouveau façades and the EU’s real-life Gotham City.

Constant among all this is the quality of everyday life – the shopping’s great, the restaurants fab, the chocolate shops sublime and the pub scene extraordinary. For a long time Brussels didn’t go out of its way to impress, but its stint as Cultural Capital of Europe in 2000 saw the city dusted and polished in a flurry that brought renewed life to historic buildings and decaying streets.






With it being near to Christmas there is also a great seasonal atmosphere in Brussels and you can see this link to Plaisirs d'Hiver for more information on activities at that time.

For full information on what to see have a look at the Visit Brussels and the Lonely Planet websites.
 
  
 

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