The word Bruxelles is usually used for the city of Brussels, which is administered by the Brussels-Capital Region. Consequently, the city is the capital of Belgium and the location of the country’s government. The region itself has over 1.1 million inhabitants and is one of the three federal regions of Belgium, the other two being Wallonia and Flanders. It is modelled after London and is divided into 19 communitities, which are subject to the authority of the region. The most central district, which has kept the name of ”Ville de Bruxelles”, commonly known as Brussels-City, comprises the historical nucleus of the city (called the Pentagon) and a series of urban extensions, like the boroughs of Haren, Neder-Over-Heembeek and Laeken, as well as the maritime district.
Brussels is one of the greenest capitals in Europe, with over 8,000 hectares of parkland. It is also a member of the Organization of World Heritage Cities. Besides its various monuments, both ancient and modern, the city offers many points of interest. Belgian cinema, especially in Brussels, is charactarised by a very high standard of documentary films and because of this, one often refers to the ”Belgian documentary school”. The Cinematek cinematography museum, established in 1938, offers a number of significant exhibits to do with the field. The city has also produced a number of well known figures, including the singer and actor Jacques Brel, actrice Audrey Hepburn and Hollywood actor Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Getting around Brussels
The Thalys trains link Brussels to Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne, while the classic TGV offers connections to cities in the south of France, wuch as Bordeaux, Lyon, Marseille, etc. The city is also linked to London via Eurostar. The S.T.I.B. tramways make up a dense public transport and in several points throughout the city are linked with the railway and metro lines. Brussels airport has excellent train and bus connections with the city centre and the Charleroi Bruxelles-Sud airport, specialising in budget airlines, is also reachable by bus shuttles.