Brussels is the capital city of Belgium and of Brussels Capital Region. It is entirely surrounded by Dutch-speaking Flanders and its constituent Flemish Brabant province. As headquarters of many European institutions, Brussels might also be considered something of a capital for the European Union. Being at the crossroads of cultures (the Germanic in the North and the Romance in the South) and playing an important role in Europe, Brussels fits the definition of the archetypal \"melting pot\", but still retains its own unique character. The population of the city of Brussels is 1 million and the population of Brussels metropolitan area is just over 2 million.
In the heart of Brussels' Old Town, visitors can find the Grand Place or 'Grote Markt'. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Square is particularly attractive by evening when it is lit up.
Town Hall (Hotel de Ville)
The first building you notice upon entering the Grand Place is the striking gothic town hall, which dates back to the 13th century. Its beautiful facade features the famous needle-like crooked spire which is 315 feet in height and is topped by the archangel St. Michael. Tours are available of the interior, which contains 15th century tapestries and works of art.
The Royal Palace (Palais Royal)
The official home of the Belgian king, you will always know if he is in the country when you see the Belgian flag flying on top of the building. The building is a highlight of Neo-Classical architecture and overlooks Brussels Park. The Royal Palace is open to the public during the summer months.