Knowledge Center

  • What does it mean for Brussels to be the capital of Europe, and how can we make the most of this precious asset?
  • What are the consequences, both positive and challenging, of hosting these numerous EU and international institutions?
  • How do the institutional and personal aspects of the host region policy interact?
  • Which actors are involved – and what are their needs and priorities?

We offer extensive knowledge and strategic understanding on these issues. What is more, we understand the positions and worldview of actors on both sides, be it the Brussels authorities or the individuals and institutions working in the European and international sector.

As concrete examples, we have recently developed special expertise on the new vision for urban planning in the European Quarter, on the impact of Brexit for UK citizens in Brussels, and on the place of the international organisations and their staff in the response to COVID-19. Like many of the topics we work on, these are questions where Brussels governance interacts with the international institutions, and where administrative issues meet the daily life of Brussels residents.

We apply our expertise when responding to ad hoc requests from institutions or individuals, and we share what we know freely in both private meetings and public channels. We also organise events and information sessions to educate our stakeholders in a more structured way.

For example, we organise seminars for the regional and municipal authorities. Participants learn about the aspects of the host region policy which impact their own daily work, in areas such as urban planning or population services. Meanwhile, our Expat Welcome Desk offers webinars for International Brusselers, where we explore the main administrative issues they face.

Looking ahead, we aim to take a more structured and proactive role as a true observatory of the international presence in Brussels.

Research and data

Our publication Brussels, International Capital – the figures 2020 explores the impact of the international presence in Brussels, with in-depth analysis backed by data. The report pays particular attention to the economic spillovers that the European and international institutions generate for the Region. The results confirm the fundamental importance of the sector for the Brussels-Capital Region, and underline its transformational impact.

Leadership and best practice for host cities

Brussels is one of the world’s preeminent hubs of European and international governance. We liaise with authorities in other host cities to discuss common challenges, share good practice and position Brussels as a leader in the field. We pay special attention to the relationships with Strasbourg and Luxembourg, the other main seats of the major EU institutions and their secretariats.