Katrien Dermaut-De Graeve has lived in Brussels, Belgium,
where she did everything from designing web sites to
promting the Internet and writing for several Belgian
E-zines. Her female-friendly point of view about this
city is lovely. Katrien writes..."since you were
interested in hearing something about my part of the
world, I decided to write an article about Brussels,
the city I live in."...
is a multicultural city -- it has the NATO headquarters
as well as the European Union headquarters within its
city limits. Brussels also hosts the most American corporation
head offices in Europe and just about every country
of the world has an embassy here . There are three official
languages --French, Dutch and German but they are certainly
not the only ones spoken in the city.
There are a lot
of special places to visit in Brussels, but I definitely
recommend the downtown. It's the oldest part of the
city and also the most beautiful.
must visit our Grand 'Place. Some people call
it "The most beautiful square in the world",
and I will certainly not contradict them.
Some of the houses here date back several
centuries and are topped with ornamental gold-plated
statues. Today, these renovated old buildings
house both romantic cafes or charming boutiques
selling either lace or mouth-watering pralines.
During the winter people flock to these cafes
with their crackling fireplaces and warm comraderie.
The Gothic style city hall (dating from the
Middle Ages) is also located on the Grand
'Place. Its tower has just been restored,
and the gold-plated Saint Michael ,the patron
saint of the city, is shining again.
| What About
knows about "Manneken Pis"-- Brussel's famous
statue of a little "peeing" boy. But, does anyone
know "Jeanneke Pis", the little girl? This statue
is much more difficult to find and much less
famous. Jeanneke stands in a very narrow, dead-end
street in the Rue des Bouchers. Don't miss these
two tiny statues that are answering Mother Nature's
call. And just in case your friends or family
may not believe what you saw, there are post-cards
of the two of them on sale everywhere.
a million calories...
are the one thing you just can't miss while
in Brussels. In the States, I believe that there's
a fast food restaurant on every corner. It is
probably safe to say that in Brussels there
is a praline shop on every street. When you
buy a kilo, be sure to choose your candies yourself.
We, Belgians never accept a "pre-packed" package.
That way we are sure our pralines are fresh.
praline shops --the Neuhaus and the Corne are
in the "Galerie du Roi" Another praline shop,
always beautifully decorated and also one of
the best is "Wittamer", on the Sablon place.
These wonderful chocolate bon bons would make
perfect presents for your friends back home.
little streets here, in the market area, are
just wonderful to walk through at night. During
the warm weather, most restaurants have tables
outside, so when it doesn't rain (which in Belgium
is most of the time), you can enjoy your meal
under the very, very blue sky. Some restaurants
display their beautiful seafood selection where
the customer can pick his or her own lobster,
squid, crab, oysters and much more. If you like
mussels, there is one restaurant you shouldn't
miss: "Chez Leon", the most famous (and the
best) mussels restaurant in Belgium. P.S. Pasta
and pizza lovers needn't worry! They will find
their favorite food in an adjacent street.
tempted by any of the above? You can always
do as the Belgians do: buy a "cornet" of French
fries (here we call them Belgian frites) with
a big splash of ketchup on top. Where and when
do you eat them? In the street, while enjoying
the beautiful buildings, scenery or events.
There is a wide variety of sauces to choose
from for the fries . But, for your information,
most Belgians eat their fries with mayonnaise.
with Belgian women...
women who are interested in a little bit of
networking with women's organizations, I recommend
the "Amazone Center". This center houses about
20 female organizations and even two women studies-related
libraries. They also organize events open to
the public a couple of times per month. Both
French and Dutch speaking organizations are
represented, but you'll find a lot of English
information also. You can drop them a line when
you visit their website at http://www.amazone.be/
more about Brussels from an American's point-of-view.