Favorite thing: This is rather funny. When I arrived in Brussels, I pronounced words ? la fran?aise. For that reason, I kept on saying "Etterb?que" instead of Etterbeek. Probably, you have to be francophone to seize the nuance in that. Anyway, I had some little embarrassement pronouncing such way but hey, I was a newcomer.
That was when I went to this school, for some studies in mathematics. This was a school where I made friends whom I kept for years. I am still regularly in contact with one of them, for her being my best friend. I write to one of the guys there once in a while but we still have some funny jokes sent via e-mail sometimes. :)
Fondest memory: This is my Etterbèque... with Collège St-Michel, rather posh by the way. Near the not-less posh, ICHEC. Some pubs (some of them are the favourite of the young things, others are stamcafés). A nice shopping area, small but not crowded as in the center of Brussels. And museums, a good ice-ceam parlour. Maison Antoine and durum at La Chasse as for "junk foods" (no McDo, yay!!)
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Another type of murale
Favorite thing: Another type of murale.. just to remind you of the importance of Brussels as home of EU institutions.
It is located accross the Leopold Park, the one next to the European parliament ("Les caprices des Dieux"). Both places are located in the EU Institutions area. Take the metro to Schuman station, where you step down. Then, go upstairs, you should see the Berlaymont building, the first building that used to "contain" the EU workers. This is at Rond-Point Schuman. From there, you can continue your path through Rue Froissart. 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.
Fondest memory: "Bruxelles cultive l'art sans pareil d'un accueil simple et chaleureux, grâce à l'atmosphère que seuls savent créer les Bruxellois.". Wise words from a prestigious European Commissioner, Jacques Delors.
He was the head of European Commission from Jan. 85 to Dec. 94. and predecessor of Jacques Santer, current president. His name is unknown to many youngsters now (except the students who learn "EU institutions" or "EU history") but when I arrived in Belgium, it was a buzz word since, under his presidency, many points in European construction had been enforced. Such as the abolition of customs and tax boarders between the EU member-states. Another important project: the EMU (Economic and Monetary Union, 1988-1989). He also managed to enlarge the competences of the EU in the field of economic and social cohesion. Works of his team inspired the economic and monetary chapter of the Maastricht Treaty as well as the "birth" of ECU (European Currency Unit ), now EURO. (Source: my "EU institutions" lessons ... hehe)
He played a key-role in EU history. At the end of his presidency, Europe was enlarged to 15.
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EC area... a place to visit?
Favorite thing: 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, off course 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.
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