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The capital city of Belgium and the country's biggest urban area, Brussels has a population of over one million people. French and Flemish are the two languages spoken here and the city is officially bilingual with all street signs in both languages. Originally a fortress town established in the 10th century, Brussels has a long history. Since the Second World War it has played an important role as the home of several international organisations. The city hosts EU institutions and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as well as many other bodies. Brussels is also well known for its waffles, chocolate, mussels served with fries and Belgian beer. The Atomium is perhaps the most popular attraction and you can explore its unique architecture, which is based on the shape of an elementary iron crystal. There are also many museums, including the Magritte Museum and the Natural Sciences Museum. The Océade is the city's water park and is open all year round.
Visitors are spoilt for choice in terms of accommodation options in Brussels. From cheap budget hotels to five-star luxury hotels, there is something to fit every budget. There are plenty of hotels available in the city centre close to the main attractions. For shopping, the best place to stay is the Ixelles and Saint Gilles area. The European Quarter has accommodation close to the offices of some international organisations. Saint-Josse-ten-Noode offers accommodation in a more relaxed neighbourhood to the north-east of the city and Anderlecht is a good choice for family-run bed and breakfasts and hotels.
The city centre is compact so walking is a good way to see the main attractions. Public transport in Brussels consists of buses, trams, a network of trains and the Brussels Metro system, which is probably the fastest way to get around the city. Taxis are also readily available.