Brussels, Belgium – Info

About Belgium & Brussels
Belgium is a country of about 30,500 sq. km with a population of over 10.3 million. It is a parliamentary democracy with constitutional monarchy. It gained its independence from Netherlands in 1830. It is bordered by France, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands and the North Sea. It has rather mild climatic conditions. Cool summers, mild winters and often rainy and humid. It averages about 45°F in winter and about 75°F in summer. It is nevertheless pleasant. But it’s better to have an umbrella/raincoat with you. The country has three official languages – Dutch or “Flemish,” French and German. This adheres to the ethnic make of the population too with the Dutch speaking region, Flanders in the north and the French speaking region of Wallonia in the south. Belgium is a highly industrialized country with a good manufacturing base and an excellent transportation network. The industries are concentrated more in the northern Flemish areas. Around 3/4th of its trade is with other EU countries. Euro currency started here in 2002. It is one of the founding members of the European Union. It is nicknamed Capital of Europe and Comic city.

Its capital Brussels is in the centre and is bilingual. It is known as the capital of European Union (albeit de facto) since it is the administrative center of the EU. The Head Quarters of NATO, EUROCONTROL and Western European Union are situated in Brussels.
To be specific, the capital is actually the City of Brussels municipality, which is the largest municipality of the Brussels Capital region. There is plenty to see and enjoy for a tourist in Belgium.

The official website of the city is be.brussels

 

Transportation and Tourist info in Brussels, Belgium

Belgium has rather mild climatic conditions. Cool summers, mild winters and often rainy and humid. The average temperatures range from about 40 – 45°F in winter and about 70 – 75°F in summer. It is nevertheless pleasant. It is good to layer oneself so as to adjust clothing accroding to the weather! And it’s better to have an umbrella/raincoat with you. Working days are from Monday to Friday. Banks are open from 9 AM to around 4:30-5:00 P.M. Some are open on Saturday first half. Stores are normally open till 6 P.M. and on Fridays they could be open late. Very few are open on Sundays too.

As in any other European country, Belgium runs on 220 volts electricity whereas U.S. and Canada uses 110 volts. Hence during travel to Europe one must carry a voltage adapter/transformer for appliances like hair dryer, chargers etc. Belgium has three official languages – Dutch, French and German.
Brussels is the capital of Belgium. It is best seen on foot. It is a good experience. There are numerous means of transport for getting around Belgium and Brussels in particular – train, metro, tram (streetcar), bus, taxis or cars.  The tram, metro and bus service can be opted for using the same ticket. You can take a single journey ticket, five journeys or 10 journeys ticket or a one day ticket. One can hop on and off these vehicles and it is very convenient. The ticket needs to be validated every time you get into a vehicle. Though for one hour after the first validation, the transfers are free. One can get taxis from the designated stands. Unlike NY, you cannot hail a cab in the streets. Also there the meter price includes tip. No extra tip needs to be given.

Transportation in Belgium/Brussels-

Trains in Brussels –
Le Thalys
This is a joint service by Belgian, French, Dutch and German Railways. It touches the following –
In Belgium – Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Charleroi, Ghent,Liège,
Mons, Namur, Ostend.
In Netherlands – Amsterdam, Schiphol, Rotterdam, The Hague
In France – Albertville, Bourg-St.Maurice, Moutiers, Chambery, Paris
In Germany – Aachen, Cologne

SNCB
Société National des Chemins de Fer Belge (SNCB )
Tél FR : 02/5552525
Tél NL : 02/5552555

Societe Nationale des Chemins de Fer Belges SNCB (Belgium), is the Belgian national railway operator. It was created in 1926. The NMBS/SNCB is an autonomous government company. This has the facility of taking your car with you. It is cheap and fast but might be little wanting in comfort. It provides a comprehensive rail service in partnership with Thalys, Eurostar and TGV network.

Eurostar
This is a high speed rail service from U.K to France and Belgium through the Channel Tunnel (or Chunnel!). It tarted its operation in 1994. It takes a little more than two and half hours between London and Paris and about 2 hr. 15 min. between London and Brussels. This service runs daily. It also offers connecting tickets to 100 destinations across France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. The fares from London to Belgium for standard class ranges from €50 (or €100) single ride for passholder type to €199 (or €398 return) single for fully lexible type. Its higher for the Leisure Select and Business Premier Class.

TGV
This is a high-speed European Rail Network connecting France to London, Brussels, Geneva, Zurich, Milan, Torino etc. The Gare Centrale (1000 Bruxelles) station is the closest to a number of city attractions. Other train stops include Gare du Midi (Rue de France 2, 1070 Bruxelles), Gare du Nord (Rue du Progrès 85, 1210 Bruxelles). These are well connected through other means of transport like streetcars/trams, taxis and subway (Metro). The Gare Centrale has a subway station (or Metro station) nearby along with bus stops and taxi stands.

Taxis in Belgium-
Taxis Verts: 02/3494949
Taxis Bleus: 02/2680000
Taxis Oranges: 02/5136200
Taxis Autolux: 02/5123123
Tours Taxis : 02/5371010

Car Hire in Belgium-
Avis : 02/7306211 ; 02/7306252 (H.Q. Rue Colonel Bourg 107, B-1140 Burxelles)
Hertz : 02/7173201

Metro, Tram and Bus in Belgium-
The most convenient way of travel in Brussels, the Metro forms the underground network. Brussels, Belgium Transport Map
The STIB runs the metro, tram and bus lines. All details and the trip planner are available in their official site.

Train Information, Belgium(in English)-
For both domestic trains and trains to other Euro countries (for Thalys, TGV, Eurostar) call 02/5282828.

Tourist information offices are –
The Belgian Tourist Information Center
Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes 63
1000 Bruxelles
Phone – 02/5138940

Brussels International Tourism
Ground Floor
Town Hall, Grand Place.

Related Article:
Tourist Spots IN Bruges
Tourist places NEAR Bruges

How to get to Bruges (Brugge), Belgium – Transportation
Traveling within Bruges (Brugge), Belgium – Transport Information
The Markt (Market) Square-Bruges
Belfry (Belfort) of Bruges
.
Church of Our Lady & Statue of Madonna and the Child – Part 1 ; Part 2
The Beguinage (Begijnhof) of Bruges
Basilica of the Holy Blood (Heilige Bloed Basiliek)- Part 1 ;   Part 2

Atomium – 50th Anniversary of Expo 58, Brussels, Belgium: Part 5

CONTINUED FROM PART 4
27) The Atomium 58-08 blog and live broadcast around the world – The Atomium website will have a special anniversary blog with vides, films, interviews etc. It will also have the live broadcast of the opening fireworks on April 17th at 10:15 pm.

28) Marble museum – A marble display cabinet with souvenirs of Continue reading “Atomium – 50th Anniversary of Expo 58, Brussels, Belgium: Part 5”