The house of the European Commission in Brussels

The Berlaymont building is an important government building in Brussels. It is the headquarters of the European Commission. The building is on the corner of two main streets in Brussels, Wetstraat and Schumanplein. It is surrounded by various European and international services. The part of the city in which the building is located is called the European Quarter, which is why Brussels is internationally regarded as the capital of Europe.

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The place of the building was originally occupied by the Monastery of Berlaymont. They managed a well-known girls' school, originally founded by Florent van Berlaymont's wife. That is where the name of the current building comes from. In the early 1960s, the Belgian state bought the domain to anchor the European presence in Brussels.

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Architect Lucien De Vestel designed the original building together with Jean Gilson, Jean Polak, and André Polak. It consists of a tower in the shape of a cross, through which four wings depart from a central hub. The building contains offices for 3000 officials. The meeting rooms are at the top, and the restaurant, television studio, conference rooms, storage space, parking and other services can be found in the cellars.

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The architects Pierre Lallemand, Steven Beckers and Wilfried Van Campenhout designed the redesign of the building in 1997. The most important changes were a meeting room upstairs in the southeast wing, a complete structure with three meeting rooms on the north-east side of the site, a double facade around the entire building with movable glass panels on the outside, and large openings in the ground floor for more daylight.

The castle of Durbuy


Durbuy got its first fortified castle around 899. It was destroyed a century later and in the eleventh century Henri I of Namur and Count of Durbuy rebuild the castle. From the twelfth to the thirteenth century Durbuy and its castle belonged to Jan, count of Luxembourg and king of Bohemia, he integrated it into the defense system of the Counties of Luxembourg. In the fifteenth century, Durbuy, together with the entire county of Luxembourg, came into the hands of Philip the Good.

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Much later, the d'Ursel family became the owner of the castle in 1756. In 1731 Conrad-Albert d'Ursel commissioned the construction of a new castle. In 1880 Countess Augusta van d 'Ursel has the castle
thoroughly modernized while giving the castle its current appearance.

Despite the many renovations of the castle, and changes to the city, the location of the castle has remained unchanged. It is the same rock on which the castle rises, just like many centuries ago. This beautiful building is located along the Ourthe, after the old bridge at the entrance of the city of Durbuy.

The market square of Bruges


The "Markt"is the most imported market square in Bruges. It's located in the heart of the historic city center and has an area of approximately 1 ha. On the south side of the square is one of the most famous monuments of the city, the 12th-century belfry.

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Almost in the middle of the square is the statue of Jan Breydel and Pieter De Coninck, two folk heroes from Bruges who played an important role in the Flemish resistance against the French occupation in 1302, during the Battle of the Golden Spurs. Until the 18th century this was the place of the Waterhalle, the covered storage area where goods were loaded and unloaded. The canals continued to flow into the city along the Markt. Today, although underground, this is still the case. The square was redesigned in 1995 and since then cars are no longer allowed to park, except taxis and coaches.

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A weekly groceries market is held on Wednesday morning. The square is also regularly used for local and international events. At the end of the year there is a romantic Christmas market. The square is surrounded by cafés, restaurants and  tourist shops in the historical small houses. Those houses have a typical Flemish building style.