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Belgium in Brief: Brussels Before & After The Bubble

A video circulating Belgium – and this very news site – has got people thinking about Belgium’s history, and delving into a time many of us know very little about. 

To many, myself included, what I know about the history of Belgium comes from random tidbits of information gathered over the years. Personally, I lean into the gastronomic and the vaguely artistic, but I’m barely scratching the surface. 

Archive footage like this doesn’t just show a city before there was a Starbucks located on a square listed on the UNESCO world heritage list. It shows the city before it was the city I’ve grown to love. 

And, if anything, it’s awakened a desire to know a little more about the weird and wonderful history of Belgium and Brussels – so I have a simple question. 

What’s the random fact you know about the history of this city?

Are you a beer buff? An expert on Art Nouveau? Or just someone who knows things?

Let @johnstonjules know. He really wants to know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:



1. UberEats gives 67 euros for lost work to courier forced to quarantine while wife battles Covid

A special coronavirus fund set up by Uber to help workers affected by the global pandemic paid a Brussels courier just €67.64 for 11 days of lost wages when he was forced to quarantine after his wife tested positive for Covid-19. Read more.

2. ‘Not smart’: Van Ranst joins support group for fugitive soldier Jürgen Conings

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst. Credit: Belga

Earlier this week, prominent Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst joined a chat group of supporters of the fugitive Jürgen Conings (46), the career soldier who threatened him, on the Telegram app. Read more.

3. What happens to the European quarter if the Commission downsizes?

The European Commission has announced that it will not be renewing several of its current ongoing leases in some buildings across the city in an ongoing effort to halve and centralise its workspaces in Brussels between now and 2030. Read more.

4. Brussels opens another ‘Art Nouveau gem’ to the public

Art Nouveau lovers of Brussels and beyond will soon be able to visit another example of the city’s design history with the announcement that the Cauchie House in Etterbeek will open to the general public. Read more.

5. Set same closing time for indoor and outdoor hospitality, Flanders says

At the next Consultative Committee, Flemish Minister-President Jan Jambon will propose to introduce the same closing hour for the outdoor and indoor parts of the hospitality industry from 9 June. Read more.

6. European travel sector urges ‘swift implementation’ of EU Covid Certificate

Over 60 travel and tourism organisations in Europe call on the EU Member States to “swiftly” implement the ‘Digital Covid Certificate’ for travel during the pandemic now that a provisional deal was reached. Read more.

7. Police chief in snooping scandal suspended from duty

The head of the police zone Erpe-Mere/Lede near Aalst in East Flanders, Luk Lacaeyse, has been suspended from duty for four months while an investigation is carried out into allegations the police in the zone listened in on conversations between prisoners and their lawyers. Read more.

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