Brussels (French: Bruxelles [bʁysɛl] (listen) or [bʁyksɛl] (listen); Dutch: Brussel [ˈbrʏsəl] (listen)), officially the Brussels-Capital Region[7][8] (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale;[lower-alpha 1] Dutch: Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest),[lower-alpha 2] is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium.[9] The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium[10] and the Flemish Community,[11] but is separate from the Flemish Region (within which it forms an enclave) and the Walloon Region.[12][13] Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita.[14] It covers 162 km2 (63 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of over 1.2 million.[15] The five times larger metropolitan area of Brussels comprises over 2.5 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium.[16][17][18] It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.[19]

  • Brussels-Capital Region
  • Région de Bruxelles-Capitale  (French)
  • Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest  (Dutch)
A collage with several views of Brussels, Top: View of the Northern Quarter business district, 2nd left: Floral carpet event in the Grand Place, 2nd right: Town Hall and Mont des Arts area, 3rd: Cinquantenaire Park, 4th left: Manneken Pis, 4th middle: St. Michael and St. Gudula Cathedral, 4th right: Congress Column, Bottom: Royal Palace of Brussels
Capital of Europe,[1] Comic City[2]
Location of Brussels in Belgium
Brussels (Europe)
Coordinates: 50°51′N 4°21′E
CommunityFrench Community
Flemish Community
Region18 June 1989
CapitalCity of Brussels
  ExecutiveGovernment of the Brussels-Capital Region
  Governing parties (2014–19)PS, FDF, cdH; Open Vld, sp.a, CD&V
  Minister-PresidentRudi Vervoort (PS)
  LegislatureParliament of the Brussels-Capital Region
  SpeakerCharles Picqué (PS)
  Region/City162.4 km2 (62.7 sq mi)
13 m (43 ft)
 (1 January 2019)[4]
(1 January 2020)
  Density7,400/km2 (19,000/sq mi)
Demonym(s)fr Bruxellois(e), nl Brusselaar/Brusselse
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
  Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
ISO 3166
Postal code(s)
Area code(s)02
GDP (nominal)[5]2019
 - Total€87 billion
 - Per capita€71,100
HDI (2019)0.948[6]
very high · 1st

Brussels grew from a small rural settlement on the river Senne to become an important city-region in Europe. Since the end of the Second World War, it has been a major centre for international politics and home to numerous international organisations, politicians, diplomats and civil servants.[20] Brussels is the de facto capital of the European Union, as it hosts a number of principal EU institutions, including its administrative-legislative, executive-political, and legislative branches (though the judicial branch is located in Luxembourg, and the European Parliament meets for a minority of the year in Strasbourg).[21][22][lower-alpha 3] Its name is sometimes used metonymically to describe the EU and its institutions.[23][24] The secretariat of the Benelux and headquarters of NATO are also located in Brussels.[25][26] As the economic capital of Belgium and one of the top financial centres of Western Europe with Euronext Brussels, it is classified as an Alpha global city.[27] Brussels is a hub for rail, road and air traffic,[28] sometimes earning the moniker "Crossroads of Europe".[29] The Brussels metro is the only rapid transit system in Belgium. In addition, both its airport and railway stations are the largest and busiest in the country.[30][31]

Historically Dutch-speaking, Brussels saw a language shift to French from the late 19th century.[32] The Brussels-Capital Region is officially bilingual in French and Dutch,[33][34] even though French is now the lingua franca with around 80% of the inhabitants being able to speak it. Brussels is also increasingly becoming multilingual. English is spoken as a second language by nearly a third of the population and many migrants and expatriates speak other languages as well.[35][36]

Brussels is known for its cuisine and gastronomy,[37] as well as its historical and architectural landmarks; some of them are registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.[38] Main attractions include its historic Grand Place, Manneken Pis, the Atomium, and cultural institutions such as La Monnaie/De Munt and the Museums of Art and History. Due to its long tradition of Belgian comics, Brussels is also hailed as a capital of the comic strip.[2][39]