Brussels: A city of villages

May 8, 2012

Brussels: A city of villages, by Maša Lon?ari?

Hungry for new things, Slovenian on the go. Engaged in the net of European politics, Maša is searching for the freshest affairs in the cities she continuously is changing. This time and in for the coming two years, it is all about Bxl (Brussels).

It’s spring in Brussels and your iPhone weather app persistently shows rainy forecast for the next two weeks. No sun, they say. Wrong. Brussels is the city of changes. Starting with the weather ones, the sun is our daily companion. No matter what the weather predictions or frustrated eurocrats say. It just doesn’t shine on all the time. With the closeness to the northern sea, the clouds, wind and sun are constantly engaged in a funny game, chasing each other over the skies. So, if you are not hooked on stability and if you don’t mind surprise parties, then Brussels weather will be just fine for you. The occasional daily showers are pretty fun on a whole another level too. They normally force you to run and search for a shelter – a perfect way to explore and discover new bars, restaurants or churches. All of which, Brussels has plenty of.
It is a city of villages, they say, because each of Brussel’s neighborhoods has such a specific feel and vibe to it.  The slowly developing city was shocked by the influx of Euro-bureaucrats in the 50s and since then the mix of people in Brussels has only been increasing. Reflecting upon Berlin’s gentrification stories, Brussels doesn’t have the feel of gentrified city.  Rather it feels that the chaotic side of Belgian political reality, has sneaked in the workings of its capital city as well. It’s simply just chaotic. Muslim communities doing their own thing in a street next to fancy Flemish designers. African mamas occupying three streets in the midst of skyscrapers crowded euro-village. Tourist flopping around Grand Place, just a street away from a hidden hip gay community. Chaos gone livable.

the city has its own flavour

Euro-village is a world in its own and honestly, a pretty boring one too. So, go see the whole Commission’s world, take a walk around Cinquantenaire park, but don’t spend too much time in the neighborhood which will only make you question the “necessary existence” of the EU’s bureaucratic wheel. Dive rather into neighborhoods “in the hills” of Brussels, where above talked about abundance of bars really comes to life.


Places like Port du Hall – with Potemkine, Place du Chatelain – with La Piola, Place Brugman – with Gaudron, or Place St Gilles – with Cafe Maison de Peuple are only few starting points for either a good jazz Sunday afternoon (Potemkine), after-work aperitifs and entries (La Piola) or sunny weekend brunch (Gaudron).

sunday jazz at potemkine

It is about exploring the small corners of the city. It is about smelling where the change is happening. And you’d be surprised – Brussels might offer you much new, fresh and mind-boggling that goes beyond the long list of amazing Belgian beers…
Brussels' Beer

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