Katrien Dermaut-De Graeve lives in Brussels, Belgium, where
she (along with her husband) designs web sites , teaches classes,
promotes the Internet and writes for several Belgian E-zines.
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.
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.
The Grand'Place -
sightseeing, shopping, cafes
You must visit
our Grand'Place. Some people call it the "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 The Girl?
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.
Delicious Pralines -
A Million Calories
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
Bon appetit in the Rue
The 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
Fries, Fries, Fries!
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. Delicious!
Networking with Belgian
For 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/
If you enjoyed this article, why not read Antwerp