While the Belgians debate their unity, Brussels is the administrative center of the European Union. It hosts business people from around the world—only Washington DC has more lobbyists. When Europeans have a gripe, this is where they demonstrate. The European Parliament, a towering complex of glass skyscrapers, has 785 members representing 28 countries and more than 450 million citizens. Take the audioguide tour. It’s exciting just to be here—a mouse in the corner of a place that aspires to chart the future of Europe.
Brussels is one of Europe’s great secrets. A trade boom 500 years ago left this city with striking art and stately architecture. And it’s once again a trade and cultural center of Europe.
Rick Steves (www.ricksteves.com) writes European travel guidebooks and hosts travel shows on public television and public radio. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to him c/o P.O. Box 2009, Edmonds, WA 98020.
© 2010 Rick Steves