Noted for its country’s biggest concert and sports facility, the 50,000-seat King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels is the capital city of Belgium. The western European country is officially named the Kingdom of Belgium, and is a member state of the European Union. Brussels serves as the EU’s de facto capital.
Mercer’s 2016 Cost of Living rankings benchmark how much a new resident in a city has to pay for products compared to New York using the US dollar as the base currency. For 2016, Brussels ranks as the 86th costliest city for newly relocated citizens, up 16 places from 2015 when Mercer recognized Brussels as the world’s 102nd most expensive city.
Belgium exported an estimated US$398 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2016. Highest-value Belgian exports include cars, medicines, refined oil, petroleum gas, diamonds and human or animal blood for medical purposes according to the International Trade Centre.
Capital Facts for Brussels, Belgium: Quick Reference
Capital landmarks: European Parliament (Parlamentarium), Grand Place square (Grote Markt), Town Hall (Hotel de Ville), Royal Palace (Palais Royal) and King Baudouin Stadium
Below, you will find 10 of the most famous people born in Brussels, Belgium:
- Jean-Claude Van Damme, actor & martial artist (born Oct. 18, 1960)
- Philippe of Belgium, King of the Belgians (born Apr. 15, 1960)
- Isabelle de Borchgrave, artist & sculptor (born 1946)
- Liz Claiborne, fashion designer & business leader (born Mar. 31, 1929)
- Audrey Hepburn, actress & fashion icon (born May 4, 1929)
- Brian Molko, singer-songwriter (born Dec. 10, 1972)
- Filip Gilissen, artist (born Jan. 17, 1980)
- Paul Van Haver, singer-songwriter & rapper (born Mar. 12, 1985)
- Patrick Bauchau, actor (born Dec. 6, 1938)
- Diane von Fürstenberg, fashion designer (born Dec. 31, 1946)
Note: Data for our Famous People tab was sourced from Google searches mostly targeting published Wikipedia articles specific to each person’s name.
Demonym for a Brussels resident: Brusseleir (general), Bruxellois (francophone), Brusselaar (Dutch speaker)
Population: 178,552 (City of Brussels)
Density: 14,182 people per square mile (5,476 per square kilometer)
Population: 1,175,173 (Brussels-Capital Region)
Density: 18,893 people per square mile (7,295 per square kilometer)
Population: 2,105,000 (Brussels built-up urbanized area)
Density: 6,790 people per square mile (2,622 per square kilometer)
Population: 11,409,077 (Belgium)
Density: 976 people per square mile (377 per square kilometer)
GDP: US$254.3 billion in 2014 (Brussels)
GDP per person: $46,298
Note: The above GDP metrics are on a Purchasing Power Parity basis and are in U.S. dollars.
Official currency used in Brussels: euro
Atlas & Boots, The World’s Most Expensive Cities for Expats 2016. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Brookings Institution, Global Metro Monitor Report (includes GDP data). Accessed on December 8, 2016
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Europe: Belgium. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Central Intelligence Agency, World Factbook, Field Listing: Major Urban Areas. Accessed on December 8, 2016
CityMetric, Where are largest cities in the world? 2015 edition. Accessed on December 8, 2016
Demographia, World Urban Area, 12th Annual Edition. Accessed on December 8, 2016
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Mercer, 2016 Cost of Living Rankings. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Official Government Website, be .brussels. Accessed on December 8, 2016
Wikimedia Commons, City Flags. Accessed on December 8, 2016
Note: Some city flags were unavailable. If so, attribution belongs to Wikimedia Commons for pertinent country flags.
Wikipedia, Belgium. Accessed on February 16, 2017
Wikipedia, Brussels. Accessed on December 8, 2016
Wikipedia, City of Brussels. Accessed on December 8, 2016
The City of Brussels is Belgium’s officially designated capital, and is the largest municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region by virtue of its 178,552 residents in 2016. Land area for the City of Brussels covers 12.59 square miles (32.61 square kilometers).
The Brussels-Capital Region encompasses the City of Brussels plus 18 other municipalities. The region’s geographic area measures 62.2 square miles (161.4 square kilometers) in which an estimated 1.2 million people live. Adding in the surrounding urbanized areas results in a much larger metropolitan entity for Brussels, one that is 310 square miles (803 square kilometers) with approximately 2.1 million Belgians.
At the country level, Belgium’s land area covers 11,690 square miles (30,278 square kilometers). The national population count was 11.4 million inhabitants as of July 2016.
To commemorate the ascension of King Leopold I to the throne back in 1831 on July 21, Belgians celebrate Ascension Day as a public holiday each July 21.
Population density is high within the City of Brussels with an average 14,200 Brusseleirs per square mile (5,500 per square kilometer).
Density is even higher within the Brussels-Capital Region with an average 18,900 residents per square mile (7,300 per square kilometer).
Including Brussels’ more extensive urbanized area, population density diminished to 6,800 people per square mile (2,600 per square kilometer).
For Belgium overall, population density is even lower at an average 1,000 inhabitants per square mile (400 per square kilometer).