Belgium's vibrant capital and the administrative center of the EU, Brussels is a cosmopolitan city that represents an amalgamation of both French and Flemish cultures, resulting in a rich cultural tapestry. From a Medieval core swirls a whirlwind of cityscapes that oscillate between the grandeur of the past to derelict concrete blocks and glimmering contemporary facades. The city's architecture represents a skillful blend of old world charm and the modern, fast-paced city life of today. Of its numerous landmarks, the Grand Palace, St. Michael and Gudula Cathedral, Cinquantenaire Park, Brussels Stock Exchange, and the Royal Palace are the most awe-inspiring, to which the uber-futuristic Atomium is a startling contrast. To list any more would be a study in futility, so vast is Brussels' collection of astonishing structures. The city does not take itself too seriously, however, its natives renowned for their wit and appreciation for the bountiful ironies of life. With its world-class museums, top-notch dining, entertainment venues and renowned institutions, Brussels is a European city with a global spirit.
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