Roland Bensted

AP Photo/Jim Buell

Unity and Division in the Heart of Europe: the Paradox of Brussels

By Roland Bensted

Brussels, a major international city, tourist hub and home to nearly 1,1 million residents, is often seen as a place of unity. It is the capital of federal Belgium, the heart of the EU and host to NATO, international financial institutions and major corporations. Yet, it is also the central battleground in ethnically and linguistically divided Belgium, the former seat of a particularly brutal colonial empire and a place of significant social divisions, highlighted by its 16 per cent unemployment rate.