Just How Cosmopolitan Is Brussels?

Brussels is, after Dubai, the most cosmopolitan city in the world. There are about 1.2 million residents in Brussels, of which 23% of citizens are nationals of other EU member states, and 45% are of foreign origin. In total, there are more than 180 different nationalities and more than 108 languages spoken in Brussels.

The presence of the European and international institutions has a significant impact on the economy and employment of the city. Brussels has become a real economic hub, of which the EU institutions create 14% of the employment (65,000 people) and about 5 billion euros of value added to the GDP of the city.

Brussels hosts 20 organisations of the European Union, 42 intergovernmental organisations, and 29 international schools who welcome more than 23,000 students. It is the biggest diplomatic hub of the world and one of the biggest journalistic centres of the world; with more than 1000 journalists. 120,000 jobs are linked to the international sector, and the EU directly employs almost 40,000 people in Brussels. The EU occupies a million square meters of office space in the city.

In the end, Brussels is a great example of European citizenship, and this will spread to other European cities and communes. The city is a pillar that constitutes a hope which significantly puts into perspective the importance of the growing pains Europe has gone through.

In the current context, it is important that the numerous expat associations or cultural associations that group citizens of the same nationality can also be proud that they are “euro citizens” in Brussels, and to reflect that there are constant exchanges between the different cultural groups, internationals, and Europeans, present in the capital.

It is also important that this pride of affiliation with Brussels and Europe expresses itself through big, mobilising transcultural events, to advertise the real benefits of an intercultural Europe! Brussels is and should continue to be an example of the real euro-citizenship!