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In its pursuit to strengthen its role as international capital, the Brussels’ Government decided to appoint a Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations.

Such an initiative to maintain and further develop the direct relations between the regional government and the numerous international institutions is only logical after nearly sixty years of European and international diplomatic presence in Brussels, and a necessity following six successive reforms of the Belgian state.

From now on, the Brussels-Capital Region will therefore, within the framework of its own competences, formally take part in this Host Nation Policy, until now a prerogative of the Federal State.

In order to develop a so-called Host Region Policy, the Brussels’ Government gave me a mandate to take all necessary measures and thus consolidate the status of Brussels as capital of Europe and international decision-making centre worthy of the name.

Our mission is to welcome all international organisations and ensure their deployment in harmony with the development of the Brussels-Capital Region and the needs of its inhabitants, in policies such as urban development, mobility, quality of public spaces, security and the administrative assistance to the new international citizens of our Region.

This mission will be realised by simplifying processes and thus raising efficiency in a set of complex issues to which Brussels is confronted with as a host region. At the same time we will offer one single point of contact for all international organisations and act as a «go-between» with the Brussels’ authorities.

It is only in this spirit of honest and efficient collaboration between Brussels’ authorities and their guests that we will be able to boost the credibility of all public authorities concerned, and fight the scepticism and criticism of many citizens towards the project of European integration and the important role of so many international organisations who have chosen Brussels as their seat.

Alain Hutchinson
Brussels Commissioner for Europe and International Organisations

Our Mission



Advice and recommendations to the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region for any project with a (potential) impact on international organisations.



The Commissioner will act as single point of contact for all European institutions and international organisations.



The representation of the Brussels-Capital Region with the Federal authorities that coordinate the Belgian Host Nation Policy.



The Commissioner will be consulted on any project of the public authorities of the Brussels-Capital Region which would directly involve or could impact the international institutions and their presence in Brussels.



The Expat Welcome Desk offers administrative assistance to people who settle in the Brussels-Capital Region as part of their activities within and around the European and international organisations.

Decision of the government of the Brussels-Capital Region. Download it :   FR  - NL

Our Team

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Adviser Urban Development

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Brussels, International Capital - the figures 2020 

If Brussels is referred to as the “Capital of Europe”, it is because of its diversity, its accessibility, and particularly the presence of the major European Union organisations, in addition to many other significant intergovernmental institutions. Though rather small in size, its growing international position has made it a political world region, where incessant decisionmaking and consultation, both on a multilateral as on a bilateral diplomatic level, on matters of global significance takes place.

Rankings give an overview of the potential of Brussels as European capital. For example, Brussels has the highest number of diplomats in the world and, in comparison with other regions of the European Union, it has the fifth highest Gross Domestic Product at regional level per inhabitant, expressed in Purchasing Power Standard (by Eurostat, data issued in 2019 but referring to 2017). It is also the first congress city in Europe and categorised as second, after London, in terms of language skills.

Moreover, the presence of all these international institutions is obviously of vital importance to the Brussels economy and employment. The international presence generates up to 20% of the economy of the Brussels-Capital Region and up to 23,2% of regional employment or more than 162.000 jobs.

Finally, the impact of the international role of Brussels is more evident than ever in the composition of its population. More than one in three Brussels residents has a foreign nationality and more than one in five is an EU national. The use and knowledge of languages in Brussels is remarkable and is clearly one of the greatest assets of the region.

The publication "Brussels, International Capital - the figures 2020", published Tuesday 23 June 2020 at our initiative, provides a detailed overview of the international presence in Brussels.

The European Quarter

The European quarter is the emblematic area where the international presence is the most concentrated and visually very strong. The quarter is situated next to the city center and is nowadays subject to major changes in terms of urban, social, cultural and touristic development: the Europe of tomorrow is being built in the heart of Brussels.

The European quarter symbolizes Brussels’ international and diplomatic function. It is home to the European Parliament, the European Council, the Council of the European Union, and the European Commission along with many of their executive agencies. Together, they employ roughly 40.000 people daily in the area. Due to their presence the European Quarter is also home to numerous consultative bodies such as the Committee of the Regions and the European Economic and Social Committee, as well as embassies and diplomatic missions, representations of international governmental organizations such as the United Nations, permanent representations, regional and local representations, international corporate headquarters and lobbying organizations. Not surprisingly, the European Quarter accounts for roughly 3,5 million m² of offices, roughly ¼ of all offices in the Brussels-Capital Region.

The European institutions are clustered around two major public spaces. The Place du Luxemburg and the adjacent Esplanade Solidarnosc 1980 are home to the European Parliament. Every Thursday hundreds of expats fill the local bars and cafés for the weekly “Afterwork”drinks. The square is also popular with tourists visiting the Parlamentarium and other attractions in the area.

The Schuman square is home to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union. Just a stone’s throw away is the Cinquantenaire park and museums, the Rue Stévin with its international shops and restaurants, and the beautiful Ambiorix square with its impressive Art Nouveau buildings.

In-between both institutional hubs sits the Parc Léopold, a former zoo and science campus. It is home to some of the city’s most remarkable buildings, such as the Bibliothèque Solvay and the Eastman Institute. The latter is currently undergoing renovation works before the House of European History takes up residence in the building. From the park it is a short walk to the Natural History Museum and the eccentric Musée Wiertz.

The Place Jourdan, with its cafés and restaurants and a weekly market, is the link between the institutional side of the European Quarter, and the residential neighborhoods of the municipalities of Etterbeek and Ixelles. Many new housing projects have been developed in the vicinity of the square, and along the adjacent Chaussée d’Etterbeek.

The presence of the European Union’s decision-making bodies and related institutions is a major impulse for the European Quarter’s ongoing transformation aiming at turning this institutional hub into a vibrant part of the city, and the true heart of Europe and home to the European institutions. The masterplan for the area focuses on mobility, housing, architecture and public space, and culture and tourism. Among the most ambitious projects is the Projet Urbain Loi (PUL), which will completely restructure the Rue de la Loi with new public spaces, quality retail and housing. The Schuman square, Place Jourdan and Place du Luxembourg will also undergo significant transformations in the coming years. With the opening of the House of European History, and the continuous development of new housing and quality retail, the area is set to become a true international center in Brussels and Europe.
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