Brussels: A Cultural and Literary History

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From its humble origins as a few huts in a forbidding swamp, Brussels took more than a thousand years to become the capital of the Duchy of Brabant and then of Burgundy, and from 1830 the capital city of the new kingdom of Belgium. Today its name evokes European power politics and miniature cabbages, a world capital of beer, a paradise of chocolates and French fries. Yet Brussels, for all its reputation for bureaucracy and extravagance, is a city that has always been open to outsiders, to invaders and immigrants, always preserving its humanity - a city that is architecturally rich and culturally diverse.