7 fun facts about Brussels

As you know, I’m currently busy preparing for the upcoming first edition of the BxlTweetUpLab. By the way, did you read that we teamed up with SDL in order to offer all attendees a 40% discount on SDL Trados 2014? If you still need some convincing to come and take part in this new event, I’m sure these cool facts about Brussels, the city where the Lab will take place, will just do the trick!

1. Its Grand Place is the most beautiful square of the world

Brussels Grand Place

Picture by saigneurdeguerre via Photopin.com

And was officially voted so in 2010. Did you know it was also a UNESCO World Heritage site?

2. It was home to Emily Brontë…

This one is for you, English literature lovers! Did you know that the author ofWuthering Heights spent some time in Brussels with her sisters?  Indeed, they travelled to the capital of Belgium as they got accepted in an all-girls boarding school. During this time, Charlotte wrote two of her novels, namely The Professor and Villette.

 3. …and to many other French exiles

Victor Hugo lived a total of 6 years in Brussels while contesting the French political system. He famously finished writing his monumental work of art Les Misérables in Waterloo, 25 km from Brussels. Other famous figures escaping to Brussels include Alexandre Dumas, Charles Baudelaire, Auguste Rodin and Paul Verlaine (who famously shot his lover, Arthur Rimbaud, near the South Station).

4. Languages are a key element of the city

Originally, Brussels was entirely Dutch-speaking. However, national political developments lead to the Frenchification of the city in the 18th century. To cut things short (yes, Belgian history can be quite complicated), the region is now officially bilingual, yet most inhabitants are native French speakers and the city is the capital of the Flemish region – even though it is not even part of it (see, I told you it was complicated).

5. Chocolate pralines were invented there

Pralines

Picture by Stephanie Kilgast via photopin.com

In 1912, Jean Neuhaus invented this chocolate shell. His company is still alive and kicking, with more than 1,500 shops in 50 countries over the world.

6. The Galeries Saint-Hubert are Europe’s oldest shopping arcades

Respectively called Galerie du roi (King’s gallery), Galerie de la reine (Queen’s gallery) and Galerie des princes (Prices’ gallery), their construction begun in 1846. And let’s not forget it was home to our second BxlTweetUp!

7. Many walls are covered with comic book references

Comics in Brussels: La Marque Jaune

Picture by Den Flater via Photopin.com

And you can even take the Comic Strip route in order to discover them all. Belgium is a famous hub for comic strips (called “bandes dessinées in French) – with more comic makers per square kilometer than in any other countries. Did you know that Tintin was Belgian? You can find him on several off these walls too!

So how many of these facts did you know? Ready to discover Brussels?

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