Brussels, also known as the capital of Europa. The city where the streets are full of locals and tourists from early morning to late at night. From busy bars where you can meet new people to peaceful parks where you can spend hours resting.
Born and raised
Yes, Brussels is known for those things, but the capital of Belgium is also my birthplace. I’ve lived my whole life in Brussels. You can basically say that if someone put me on a random street in Brussels, I would still find my way home.
I moved to a lot of places, but it was always somewhere in Brussels. When I tell people that I was born and raised in Brussels, I always think of my house in Brussels-North. It was a small apartment where my parents, my two sisters and I lived. To be honest, I loved where our apartment was located because it was near everything. I lived near, what most people call, “Rue de Brabant”. There’s a small square before entering the street and that is where I made a lot of memories with my family and childhood friends. There were a lot of restaurants, stores, and parks near me, so I always went somewhere with my family, and we barely got bored. We could take a 5-minute ride with the tram, and we would already be in the infamous, City 2. Overall, there was always something to do in the city of Brussels.
When you’ve seen and did everything in a city, it gets kind of boring right? Well, that happened to me. The city became dull to me. It got to a point where, I would rather stay home than go out with my family to do something. I wanted to do something new like explore other cities, but I was somewhere around 11 years old meaning I could not go on my own without my parents.
New city, new memories
Due to my little sister growing up, we could not stay in a little apartment any longer. When I was 13 years old, my family and I moved to Vilvoorde, a city near Brussels. I remember being excited and scared at the same time. I was excited because it was a new city for me. Meaning that I get the chance to create new memories, but I was also scared because I get to meet new people. Growing up, I was pretty shy, and I never had any luck with talking to new people. Besides going to school there, there was not a lot of things to do in Vilvoorde.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like living in Vilvoorde because it is quiet where I live, and it can give me a break from how busy it is in Brussels. But living in Vilvoorde for quite some time now, it made me realise how much I missed Brussels. I have been living in Vilvoorde for the past 8 years, but I always say to people that I live in Brussels because I always go there.
My go-to places
Brussels became my go-to city from now on. I went to a lot of cities, but nothing will compare to Brussels. If I want to go shopping or want to have dinner with my friends, I always go to Brussels.
There is just so many things to do in Brussels. There are plenty parks here in Brussels like “The Royal Park” where they plan many expeditions throughout the year. In the winter, I went to the festival of lights in Brussels called “Bright Brussels”. From the Royal Quarter to the Flagey neighbourhood, the city streets will be illuminated by wonderful lights. In every quarter you pass, there will be a performance with music and lights. This event always takes place during the winter days. It brightens the dark Brussels streets for 3 to 4 evenings. I will definitely go come back to this event next year. The Royal Park is also very active during the summer. You will often see people picnicking and enjoying the sun. But most of all, you will enjoy the amazing view of the Royal Palace.
Another park that I recommend is “The Cinquantenaire”. It is French for “the park of the Fiftieth anniversary. The place was built in 1880 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the independence of Belgium. The park is surrounded by multiple monuments and museums like the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces & Military History, The Royal Museums of Art and History and Autoworld. The park is known for the triumph archal with three arches. Like the Royal Park, The Cinquantenaire organises numerous events throughout the year like sporting events, concerts, and celebrations. My family and I often go to The Cinquantenaire on New Year’s Eve to enjoy the fireworks.
For my shopping addicts, the place I highly recommend is “Place de Louise” or in Dutch “Louiselaan”. I personally like it more than the infamous shopping street: Rue Neuve. It has far more options of stores than Rue Neuve, but it is also more on the expensive side. On one side of the street, it has the same stores as Rue Neuve and on the other side, it has the expensive stores like Prada, Louis Vuitton, etc. But don’t worry, like I said, they do have clothing stores like ZARA, Bershka, Urban Outfitters, etc. Not only has it more stores than Rue Neuve, but it also gives you the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful skyline of Brussels while being on the Ferris wheel. At Pl. Poelaert, 1000 Bruxelles, there is a big Ferris wheel where you can enjoy the Brussels view.
I really like visiting museums so one day my friends and I impulsively visited a museum in Brussels. Luckily for us, it was the day where Brussels organised an event where some Brussels’ museums are free for student. We took advantage of this discount and went to 4 museums that week
Despite me liking to explore new cities, I really like going back to touristic places in Brussels. I like going to Grand Place during Christmas. My friends and I always go there on the 23rd of December to admire the big Christmas tree and the Christmas markets. Even though I was born here, I visited the Manneke Pis only 3 times my whole life. The last time I went to visit Manneke Pis, I was with Melanie and Dana. We were exploring Brussels because Melanie never saw the touristic sights of Brussels. There was a shop that sells penis and vagina-shaped waffles. We thought that it was so funny, that we could not resist buying it
There is a lot of advantages in Brussels. As I mentioned before, there is plenty things to do in Brussels. The city of Brussels organises a lot of events and expeditions throughout the year. There is always something new to do in the city. Plus, everything is quite close to each other.
The ambiance during the Spring and Summer time is amazing. Everyone is at a bar drinking and enjoying the company of friends or family ‘til the sun goes down.
My close friends and I often go to the bars on Pl. Saint-Géry 1 during the summer. We drank cocktails there and we talked hours and hours about our lives. There are also great restaurants there where you can enjoy the Asian cuisine.
When there are advantages, there are also disadvantages, right? Brussels has some of them. First, there is a language barrier between the people of Brussels and people of other cities outside or tourist who are coming to visit Brussels. Despite, Belgium having 3 official languages, most citizens of Brussels speak French.
Brussels also has some neighbourhoods where people can treat you differently. You get stared at and they will try to start unwanted conversations. The best thing you can do is to ignore them. Although, Brussels has an amazing ambiance, the city can be hectic. People can easily get lost if there is an event or expedition in the city. There are also a lot of pickpockets in Brussels. So, be careful with your belongings and stay close to your loved ones.
Nonetheless, the city has the good and the bad but my point still stands on nothing can compare to Brussels.