A Trip to Brussels
As the heart of Europe and only a few hour drive away, Brussels is the ideal city to spend a weekend away. A few weeks ago, I went on a class trip to Brussels. Here are a few highlights of my time in the city!
The Heart of the European Union
As the capital of the EU, Brussels is an important political centre. Since my class was on European Integration, Brussels was the perfect place to witness the EU in action. During our trip, we visited the different institutions of the EU, including the Commission, Parliament, External Action Service and European Council. Each of these institutions organized a special group visit for us and gave us greater insight into the workings of each branch of the EU. My favourite, was above all the External Action Service. As the foreign affairs branch of the EU, the EEAS oversees diplomatic and external matters. I remember sitting during the lecture at the EEAS and imagining myself working in such an important and prestigious place. If you are interested in interning at the EEAS, I would suggest you to check out their website for Blue Book Traineeship opportunities, which offer a paid internship of five months in an EU institution.
Although we did not visit it during our trip, another great way to learn about the EU, is through the Parlamentarium museum. Because the EU can be complicated to understand, the Parlamentarium offers a fun way to learn more about it. The best part is that it is interactive and filled with activities, so it is suitable for both adults and children alike. Because it is located right near the Parliament, you can also get the chance to see politicians and witness them going to work. My visit to the Parlamentarium was definitely a highlight of my stay when I was interning in Brussels a few years ago. I recommend you to check it out!
The Peeing Statues
If you visit Brussels, you must also see the peeing statues. The three most famous statues to visit are the Manneken Pis (little boy peeing), Jeanneke Pis (little girl peeing), and Zinneke Pis (peeing dog). Although this may sound strange, the statues are one of the top tourist attractions in Brussels. The most famous of the three is Manneken. Although there are several stories behind the statue, one of them is that the little boy pees on a burning fuse and thus saves the city. Throughout the year, Manneken is dressed into different costumes, including Nelson Mandela, a pilot and Mozart. His hundreds of costumes can all be viewed inside the City Museum.
Upon our arrival to Brussels, one of the first things we did, was have photo scavenger hunt. We were divided into different teams and could each choose a certain tourist route to take. Because my group chose the peeing statues route, we got a chance to take pictures with all three statues. I really enjoyed visiting the statues, as they contribute to the artistic and easy-going vibes of the city.
Fries, Waffles and Good Beer
One of the most iconic things to do in Brussels is eat... drink... and then repeat. Because the city is full of restaurants and terraces you can never run out of places to go. Although my class stayed only two evenings, we found plenty of time to stuff ourselves with fries and warm chocolate waffles. If you are still not convinced about visiting Brussels, these 13 foods definitely will!
Along with good food, Brussels is also notorious for its wide selection of beers. If you are looking for a fun night out, I would recommend you check out the Delirium Cafe. Located on the same alley as Jeanneke Pis, this cafe is one of the hottest spots of Brussels. In fact, in 2004, they reached a Guinness World Record for the most varieties of beer commercially available! If you want to try out some Belgian beer, this cafe is the perfect place for you.
My favourite place to spend an evening in Brussels, is at La Place du Luxembourg. This famous square is located inside the European Quarter right next to all the important institutions. This square is the perfect place during happy hour and is always bustling with young professionals. The best part, is that you can often see EU politicians grabbing drinks after work. The square is lively and a great place to hang out with your friends.
Brussels Awaits You!
Brussels is the perfect place to plan a weekend getaway with your friends and family. Although I have already visited the city a few times, there is always something new to discover. Whether you are on an educational visit of the EU, a touristic trip of the city's attractions, or a quest to find good food, Brussels has it all. Brussels awaits you!