EC area, Brussels
Hmmm... To be honest, I never thought of the EU area as a place to visit. It took me a VTmeeting, in Brussels, on Nov.10 to really visit it as a tourist would have done. Yet, in my previous job, I used to pass nearby those buildings to join my place from work... Parc 50aire in nearby was far more interesting for me.
Step down at Schuman metro station and the area is there. The most striking one is the Berlaymont building, on Rond-point Schuman. After some years of "cleaning" from asbestos material in the building, it is reported to reopen soon (Feb. 2004). Initially, the EU offices use to be there before the enlargement(s) and the need of adding EC buildings. 3000-4000 persons worked there. It was closed on 1991, after employees had asked, for some time, the European Commission to check about conditions there since the building contained asbestos. Their demand has been overlooked for a time but it finally closed in 1991...
Browse around to see the other buildings, including the main street Rue de la Loi- Wetstraat.
The most important building is, of course, this one on the pic: The European Parliament. It's easy to spot it from Parc Leopold. To arrive there, descent Rue Froissart, the perpendicular to Rue de la Loi, at Schumann square level. The very one near the flower stand. Further, you would find, at your right, a little street. Don't cross since from there, if you look far at your right, you would spot the shiny European Parliament building, all in iron and glass (pic in the next tip). This is "Les Caprices des Dieux". Surrounding it: the Leopold Park. Now, you just have to go through the park, climb the little upslope and you are in front of the building.
Fondest memory: I suspect that I share with many Brussels people the feeling towards changes in the city, to build those huge (and ugly, most of time) buildings that are designed for the EU institutions. Probably this feeling made me look at this area as a place that is there but not interesting at all.
In fact, Brussels people are proud to house those institutions but as years go by, they see their city changing, housing gone expensive due to massive "exodus" of EU commissioners in the area. People are sometimes, just tired of the works here and there. Can never fully enjoy it without the works...
All of that made me ignore this area. After all, who would be excited to watch other people's workplace?
Le "caprice des Dieux": European Parliament inheritated this nickname from its buiding being really expensive. The Gods, being the top execs of the EU... Also, its cheese-box shape, the one of "Caprice des Dieux" inspired the nickname.
It's always fun hearing European citizens I brought there asking to see where their money went... what was the expense worth? Here it is! Inside is even more impressive.
Metro M stations: Merode & Schumann
wauwww.thats a view !!..
Here, we are also at the very heart of the European Union: we drive in front of the imposing EU buildings housing the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
see the impressive European Parliament buildings.
If you happen to be hanging around this place during office hours/ lunch time, I'm sure you can also feel the air of bustling efficiency here. 'Tis true. And in case this has slipped your mind, Brussels is also the Headquarters of the European Union and it's here that you can rub shoulders with lots of civil servants, bureaucrats and Eurocrats!