Discover the European quarter!

Discover the European quarter!

The European quarter in Brussels is made up of lively squares, original shops, exceptional green spaces, world-renowned museums and, on top of all that, the incredibly interesting and attractive offer from all the European institutions.

It’s a must! This overview with concrete tips points visitors in the right direction.

  • The four squares

  • Four important squares act as four great reference points when you are working your way around the European quarter.

    • The best place to start is Place du Luxembourg - Luxemburgplein. This classic example of a neoclassical station square, nicknamed Plux, is blessed with numerous terraces and restaurants on and around the square making it the major meeting point for young expats from the EU institutions, especially on a Thursday night. A good tip: order a cool aperitif at the trendy organic market on a Tuesday or in Noordzee, a little further along Rue du Luxembourg -  Luxemburgstraat. It’s the ideal place to experience international Brussels first hand!
    • Place Jourdan - Jourdanplein, which is being totally renovated as of 2017, is an international and local hub, with terraces, cafés, nice restaurants serving local and international food.
    • Rond-point Schuman - Schumanplein (known as Schuman roundabout) on the other hand offers an incredible view of two of the three centres of EU decision-making. Tip: at night, the latter is beautifully lit which makes for a lovely evening stroll by the beautiful Europa building. You also get a view of Cinquantenaire park’s triumphal arch thrown in for good measure.
    • Place Jean Rey - Jean Reyplein is the new place to be when it comes to EU squares. Gourmet events and trendy shops and businesses have recently breathed new life into the square.
  • The European Union

  • Your voyage of discovery through the European Union begins at Station Europe, or - for groups – the Zweig. From there you go on to the Parlamentarium, the House of European History, Esplanade Solidarnosc, visit the European Parliament hemicycle or wonder at the impressive architecture of European institution buildings such as the Europa building, the Paul-Henri Spaak building and the Berlaymont. Groups can book visits in the European institutions’ visitors’ centres. During these visits EU officials explain in detail how the European Union or a particular institution works, sometimes even tailoring their presentations to the group. Simply turning up and hoping for a visit isn’t possible and visits must be booked well in advance. However, Infopoint Europa, which provides documentation about the EU, is open to individuals and groups with no prior booking required.

  • Architecture of all eras

  • Lovers of all architecture movements are in for a treat in the European quarter. You will find Art Nouveau, Art Deco and Belle Epoque gems on each of the four Squares, of which the most impressive and unmissable example is the Maison Saint-Cyr. Right next to Merode you will find the beautiful Cauchie House and few metres further are the gigantic buildings of Cinquantenaire park, built by King Leopold II to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Belgium’s independence. Last but not least, Leopold park is also home to fabulous examples of architectural heritage with, among others, the sublime Solvay library and the Eastman building. Let’s not forget the Berlaymont, the Europa building and the neighbouring Residence Palace.

  • Shopping & gastronomy

  • Are you looking for a tasty bite to eat or a spot of shopping? Then look no further than one of the aforementioned squares. Place Jean Rey – Jean Reyplein, for example, is home to Le Grand Central, one of the largest, and possibly the trendiest bar in Brussels. If you’re in the mood for some Belgian chips, then make a stop at Maison Antoine or if you prefer some Belgian-French cuisine for lunch then why not enjoy some in the stylish Art Deco setting of Residence Palace. You can also find more exotic cuisine at Oriento or El Turco. But the neighbourhood also offers a number of original or international establishments such as Pauzz, a Japanese-inspired nap café and massage parlour, or Librebook, a bookshop and culture café with literature from more than 20 countries.

  • Major museums

  • The European quarter hosts a whole series of unmissable world class museums. In Cinquantenaire park you’ll find the collections of the Royal Museums for Art and History, which include pieces and objects from as far back as prehistory up to the 20th century, the hundreds of old timers exhibited in Autoworld and the dozens of planes, tanks, uniforms and other military items on show in the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and Military History. The Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences is know all over the world for its stunning dinosaur collection as is the Wiertz museum for its towering paintings by the eccentric Belgian painter.

  • Green Europe

  • Need a break from all the culture institutions and gastronomy? Then go down to one of the European quarter’s parks. Cinquantenaire park is made up of classical landscaped gardens with spacious and straight paths and lanes and exhibits great symmetry, built along a central axis. In the park, you will find an impressive triumphal arch and stunning hangars and arcades. Leopold park is a sublime landscaped park in an English-style and an open-air architecture museum. It’s a genuine oasis in the European quarter, with its ponds and hills.

  • Follow the guide and experience the European quarter

  • Join one of the guided tours of the quarter: either the Viva Brussels daily tour of the European Quarter at 1 pm, or the House of the European History lunch tour every Tuesday at 12.15 pm.

    Or treat yourself to a private tour in a Citroën 2CV to explore the capital of Europe and the Cinquantenaire with Brussels on Wheels, or a guided experience accompanied by a personal trainer offering you sight-jogging, with City Runs.

    Or, if you've always wondered about the functioning of the EU and the role of lobbies, join the tour of Loïc, expert in lobbies.