Brussels 101

Yes, Brussels is a small city, but it’s not the effective capital of Europe for nothing.

After wining and dining in Paris or weeding a few too many gardens in Amsterdam, many students only visit Brussels for a couple of nights as an obligatory stepping stone on the way to the next best thing. Here’s the thing: Brussels is no one’s stepping stone. Nowhere else in the world is it perfectly acceptable (and sometimes expected) to include chocolate-and ice cream-covered waffles, french fries with mayonnaise, rum-and champagne-flavored chocolates, and no less than one cherry-flavored beer in your daily diet. If that’s not enough, throw in some stoemp—a heart attack on a plate of mashed potatoes, cream, bacon, and usually a hunk of meat—between visiting three different publicly displayed (and revered) statues that involve public urination (it must be all that beer).

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The Brussels Top 5

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  • Manneken Pis

    Sure, it's continually swamped with giggling tourists, but it's an icon.

  • Grand Place

    Make sure to return once the sun goes down, when the famous Guildhall buildings are dramatically illuminated.

  • Saint Michel et Gudule

    Blabbermouths have no fear: when you hear the grand organ mysteriously playing from the lofty stretches above, you’ll have no problem shutting up.

  • Atomium

    For some, a horrific eyesore in the Brussels skyline; for others, a stroke of architectural genius.

  • Magritte Museum

    The Surrealist master's paintings question the relationship between words, images, and reality.

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