Why Brussels? 
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director Convention & Association Bureau, visit.brussels
Did you know that…?
+ Brussels is no ordinary convention city. We host the European Commission, the European Parliament and all the other important EU institutions, representing more than 500 million Europeans from all the member states. More than 1,000 press correspondents and the world’s largest lobbying industry have also made their home here. This makes Brussels a unique environment for your meeting – close to decision makers and their staff, in the heart of Europe.
+ Brussels is number one in Europe and number two in the world when it comes to hosting the meetings of international associations (UIA statistics). And it is the unrivalled top host city for the offices of international associations.
+ Brussels is home to hundreds of international headquarters of scientific organisations and corporations, from healthcare multinationals and research centres to chemical associations and energy producers. The city region also boasts four research parks and six technological incubators. Three innovative areas of excellence stand out: information & communication technologies (ICT); healthcare, including biotechnologies and medical equipment; and environmental technologies.
+ Theatre and shows, music and dance, art and exhibitions, ... Brussels is a non-stop creative experience with abundance and choice. Enjoy world-class opera and music in the splendid La Monnaie/ De Munt theatre that goes back 300 years... and see the arts in a new light at the BOZAR fine arts centre. The Brussels agenda is also packed with festivals, events and surprises, whatever time of year you come.
Where to meet?
From Europe’s most centrally-located meeting complex, SQUARE-Brussels Meeting Centre, to the huge Brussels Expo complex to the north of the city, Brussels offers you an amazing variety of meeting and event venues of all types for groups from 10 to 15,000 people. Historical, quirky, Art Nouveau, post-industrial, design, academic, ultra-modern… there’s no end of choice. Why not try the world’s most surprising meeting place high up in the Atomium?
SQUARE-Brussels Meeting Centre opened in September 2009. It offers a generous 13,000 sqm in the heart of the city centre with the latest high-tech equipment. SQUARE occupies the entire site of the former Palais des Congrès, which was built for the International Exposition of 1958.
Brussels Expo: the architectural façade features a unique mix of innovative 21st-century technologies. Brussels Expo is just 20 minutes from the city centre and covers approximately 115,000 sqm of space divided into 12 imposing halls, 5 of which date from the Universal Exposition of 1935
The four giant sheds of Tour & Taxis represent an area of 17,400 sqm and were initially used for transit goods at the beginning of the 19th century. Today Tour & Taxis has become a venue benchmark.
Where to stay?
Within the existing hotel accommodation you can find a variety of international branded hotels as well as some unique family owned boutique hotels. They represent everything you would expect as an international traveler. More than 20.000 bedrooms are available to host your attendees. All connected through the dense public transport network, going from the international airport to the international train station (Eurostar, Thalys, ICE).
The Brussels Booking Desk helps congress organisers and participants in the reservation of hotel rooms in Brussels. It can also obtain competitive prices when hotels are booked.
How to get there?
Brussels has superb air, road and rail connections, right in the heart of Europe. More than 60 million people live within 300 km of the city: Paris is less than one and a half hours away by high-speed rail; London, Cologne and Amsterdam just two. If you fly in, it will take you only 20 minutes by train from the airport to the city centre. When you have arrived, it’s easy to move around our compact city by tram, bus, metro, or on foot.
Most places are within walking distance or a short ride away. Step out of your hotel and the chances are you’ll find shops, restaurants, places of interest and nightlife, all within a short stroll.
Brussels Airport - 17 million passengers: scheduled flights to Brussels’ ultra-modern and newly renovated airport come from over 200 European and international destinations in 66 countries, allowing 500 million European inhabitants to reach us in less than three hours. The airport is located 14 kilometers from the City Centre of Brussels which you can reach by bus, by train, by taxi and by car.
Do you offer any special services/assistance for associations?
As Brussels is the European HUB for international associations, the Brussels Convention Bureau provides comprehensive customized services. Our approach is to listen carefully to associations, understand their objectives and then give them the services they need to achieve their goals.
From the first request for information through to the event’s closing speech, the visit.brussels team will accompany associations with professional and proactive support by helping in the planning and bidding process, providing information about potential local suppliers and offering a welcome service package for congresses and fairs.
Today Brussels hosts hundreds of scientific organisations and has a thriving research and innovation sector. The city aims to maintain this momentum and now offers a full support programme through the Brussels Fund for Scientific Congresses, including generous help with funding. More and more international associations are taking advantage of this service.
Whom to contact?
Elisabeth Van Ingelgem, Director Convention & Association Bureau, visit.brussels e.vaningelgem@visit.brussels
visit.brussels is the tourist communications agency of the Brussels Region. It is tasked with promoting and enhancing the image of the capital of 500 million Europeans. http: //visitbrussels. be