This one’s for all you newcomers to Brussels out there (and those of you who are not so new but still may need a little help navigating the city :)). I know most of us feel a bit lost and bewildered when first arriving in Brussels. I’m not sure I ever climbed up a lamp post, but there were days I definitely needed some help to find my way around this town, literally and figuratively.
There are a few good resources for new arrivals to Brussels, including guidebooks like The Bulletin’s Newcomer. I also know the American Women’s Club of Brussels holds a “Hints for Living in Belgium” course (€125 fee for six half-day sessions). However, I recently discovered a new class and guidebook for newcomers to Brussels that I thought was worth sharing.
The Brussels-Europe Liaison Office (BELO), has launched a course “Discover Brussels” to help those just moving to the city by providing information and insights over lunch. BELO is supported by the Brussels Regional government and aims to promote the image of Brussels as the capital of Europe and inform residents of the role Europe plays in the prosperity of the Brussels Region.
The 2-hour session includes a historical overview of Brussels’ development, its social-economic and demographic situation, the institutional structure and helpful information to better understand the city and find your way around more easily. Unfortunately only staff-members of the EU institutions (officials, temporary agents, contract agent, seconded national experts and their partners) can enroll for class. The November session is already sold out but I understand that they will organize another class in a couple of weeks. Check out the website for more details or email BELO at firstname.lastname@example.org
BELO has also developed a Survival Guide for Newcomers in Brussels with some useful and fun information about the city, which is freely available to everyone.
The guide is organized in a fun way with chapter headings like “Who chooses the music in the Brussels metro?”, “No, you weren’t dreaming. There really was a bright green parakeet sitting in that tree” and “Urban Myths”. Hey, these are essential things to know about this city!
If you think you already know everything there is to know about Brussels, watch this little video clip with some questions about the city and see how you do compared to others who answered.
Images via Brussels-Europe Liaison Office.