Celebrating independence

Parc du Cinquantenaire/Jubelpark, Bruxelles

One of the most beloved gardens of Bruxelles is the Parc du Cinquantenaire (or Jubelpark). It can be found close to the European Quarter in the East of the city and offers a massive amount of space, long paths for strolling and jogging and three museums: the Art & History Museum, the AutoWorld and the Musée Royal de l’Armée. Most dominant item is the Monument du Cinquantenaire, a giant triumphal arch visible already from far away.

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Palais royal

Palais Royal, Bruxelles

The Koninklijk Paleis at the southern end of the Parc de Bruxelles is the royal residence and the official palace of the king of the Belgians – even though the royal family is living at the palace of Laeken. The Neo-Baroque style palace is used to welcome guests of state. It also contains a museum about the monarchy, and you can visit the palace on weekends and during the holiday season when the monarchs are ‘out-of-office’.

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Life in plastics

Design museum, Bruxelles

Between the exposition area of Bruxelles and the Atomium you can find a special museum dedicated to the design of things. The Design Museum is a wide collection of everyday items made from plastics: chairs, tables, TVs and much more. Even radical approaches towards common items are presented here and contribute to the fun. Additionally, there is a gallery exhibiting items from Belgian designers and changing exhibitions.

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Touring Europe

Mini-Europe, Bruxelles

Visiting the European countries has never been so easy: Since 1989 you can find the Mini-Europe (within Bruparck) next to the Atomium. It exhibits well-known European places in scale 1:25 and a round-course leads you through the eighty cities sorted by country. The initial invest of ten million Euros was done by the royal family of Belgium. There couldn’t be a better place for an exhibition of Europe than Bruxelles which also gives home to important institutions of the European Union.

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Atomium, Bruxelles

The Atomium is next to the Manneken Pis one of the icons of the city of Bruxelles, Belgium. It depicts a basic arrangement of nine atoms (for example found in ferrum) standing on one edge. It was created for the world exhibition Expo 58 and a symbolizes the atomic age and the peaceful usage of nuclear power. The Atomium can be visited in two ways: in the upper atom there is a restaurant and a tour using four escalators and 147 steps shows you different (art) exhibitions and gives nice views from up above.

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Orient Express

TrainWorld, Bruxelles

The Orient Express was a legendary train that was first running from Paris to Constantinople (todays Istanbul) in 1883 – via München, Wien, Budapest, Beograd, and София. But there were also connections to Berlin, to Constanța via București or via Frankfurt, Köln and Bruxelles to London. It was a beloved experience, kings and celebrities were using this amazing connection in luxurious trains which lasted around six days.

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Art nouveau paradise

Musée Horta, Bruxelles

Victor Horta was a Belgian architect born in 1861, creating art nouveau buildings. He enriched the city of Bruxelles with different houses in this fantastic style and four of them together form a UNESCO world heritage site. The best place to learn more about him and his work (and to enjoy art nouveau buildings and furniture) is his former house and workshop at the city quarter St. Gilles. When standing in front of the building you can’t really imagine the beauty that awaits you inside – you need to visit it.

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Bande dessinée

Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée, Bruxelles

The Smurfs, Lucky Luke, the Marsupilami, Tintin, Spirou and Fantasio: Belgium is the main source for comics in Europe. Around 60 % of all books published in this country tell their story visually. Today Japanese mangas dominate the international market, but the Belgian comic characters are still beloved by many people worldwide. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Belgians celebrate them in an own museum, the Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée.

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Botanique, Bruxelles

If you want to enjoy a full-scale botanical garden close to the Belgian capital you must go to the Plantentuin in Meise, just three kilometers north of the Atomium. If you can live with a smaller one, the old Jardin Botanique (Kruidtuin) north of the city center is waiting for your visit. It was opened in 1829 and consisted of an orangery, three terraces (in French, Italian and English styles) and was decorated with fifty-two statues.

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Backyard oasis

Hotel Motel One, Bruxelles

I’m a major fan of the simplicity in combination with the quality of Motel One hotels. The one at Bruxelles, Belgium has two central advantages: first it is located on Rue Royal and in convenient walking distance to the Parc de Bruxelles, the Cathédrale des Saints Michel et Gudule and the Grote Markt. Second it has a large inner courtyard in which you can relax in the evenings, enjoy a last Belgian beer and to reflect on your day.

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