Brussels Travel Advice

Security travel advice for Brussels

Security information

Threat level: Medium-High
Tourists to Brussels are advised that the city is on high alert after many attacks both in the city and across Belgium. Security and military presence has been stepped up in an effort to improve the safety and well being of its citizens. Brussels is the centre of European Union activity and as such is a bustling hub of political, administrative and tourist activity.

Providing correct safety precautions are taken and travellers ensure their personal belongings are safe, trips to the European capital should be without any issues. There is lots to enjoy in the city which is rich in culture, including the Grand Place, Brussels Zoo and an array of parks, monuments and buildings.

Recent Security Risk Events
On the 25th of August 2017 on the Boulevard Emile Jacqmain in the centre of Brussels, Soldiers shot dead a man trying to attack them with a machete. Belgium's federal prosecutor's office said the attacker had not been "known for terrorist activities" but had shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack. The attacker was identified as a 36-year-old Moroccan national, named by local media as Oussama Zariouh.

On the 20th of June 2017 a Morrocan man, from Moenbeek in Morroco, wearing an "explosive belt" was shot by Police or Military, at Brussels Central station. There was an explosion near the man, said to be a backpack that exploded. Brussels Central was evacuated, with rail services from the station suspended for a time. Grand Place, a major tourist site which lies about 200m (656ft) was also evacuated. The suspect died at the scene.

Three suicide bombers caused widespread devastation across Belgium’s capital in March 2016, killing 32 civilians. Considered the deadliest terrorist attack in the country, it is believed that it was linked to the Paris attacks that hit France in 2015. ISIS claimed responsibility for both. As two of the bombs exploded in the airport, all air travel to and from the city was temporarily suspended and the head office for the European Commission was on lockdown. It took over a month for the airport’s departure hall to reopen again and then was only partial, due to the extensive damage. Brussels and the rest of the country remain on high alert.

Security Risks
After a number of attacks across Belgium including most recently to the south of the city in Charleroi, the city of Brussels has seen an increase in military personnel across the city. Tourists planning on visiting the capital city should remain on high alert at all times and be wary of any suspicious behaviour.

The major train stations in Brussels experience relatively high levels of theft, particularly Brussels Gare du Midi which is the Eurostar entry. Thieves will target such areas as they know there are large volumes of tourists passing through, who often carry valuable goods. It is advised that you keep your personal belongings close and safe at all times.

Travel around Brussels
There are a number of ways to get around the city, with many favouring the efficient and speedy metro system which runs between 6am and midnight. Stations are characterised by their white M symbol on a blue background situated above the station.

Tickets for public transport are typically valid for one hour and can be bought at metro stations, STIB/MIVB kiosks, newsagents and on buses and trams. You must ensure that your ticket is validated before travel commences, this can be done via machines at metro stations or when boarding buses or trams. Invalidated tickets can lead to fines of up to €55.

Brussels is not an easy city to cycle around at present as tram tracks, cobblestone pathways and impatient drivers continue to cause issues to cyclists. There are plans to make the city more bicycle friendly including the introduction of bicycle lanes.

If you wish to carry your bike on a tram or metro, you must purchase a bike pass (€15 for a year). Even then, you are not permitted to ride trams or metros with them during rush hour (7am-9am and 4pm-6.30pm).

Driving your own vehicle around the city can often be slow, as roads frequently get congested particularly during peak times. If you wish to park your car on the street, payment is required most of the time. Check this before you leave your vehicle as breaching parking terms can lead to fines.

General information

Official languages: Dutch, French and German
Religion: Christianity
Currency: Euro
Time now in Brussels:

Useful websites

Medical information: St Pierre Hospital, Brussels
Brussels police: Police services and information for Brussels
Tourist information: Visit Brussels

Healthcare in Brussels

The healthcare system in Brussels and across Belgium is thought to be one of the best in Europe but all citizens will have medical insurance. EU nationals will be able to use their EHIC card and receive the same treatment as Belgium nationals but this often means treatment is paid for then claimed back from insurers. You should purchase adequate travel and health insurance.

There are no hospitals specifically for foreign tourists but generally many doctors are able to communicate adequately in English. St Pierre Hospital in the centre of Brussels is considered a hospital where treatment in English is possible.

Consular information

British Embassy Brussels
Avenue d’Auderghem 10
1040 Brussels
Telephone: +32 2287 6211
Email: public.brussels@fco.gov.uk

US Embassy Brussels
Bd du Regentlaan 25
1000 Brussels
Telephone: +32 2811 4000
Email: UScitizenBrussels@state.gov

French Embassy Brussels
Rue Ducale 65
1000 Bruxelles
Telephone: +32 2548 8711

German Embassy Brussels
Rue Jacques de Lalaingstraat 8-14
1040 Brussels
Telephone: +32 2787 1800

Dutch Embassy in Brussels
Kortenberglaan 4-10
1040 Brussels
Telephone: +32 2679 1711
Email: bru@minbuza.nl

For further embassy information and locations please see our live travel map below.

Disclaimer:
You are responsible for your own safety abroad and for making the decision to travel.

The information contained in this Travel Advice for Brussels is provided for information only. Whilst care is taken to ensure that this country brief is as up-to-date and accurate as possible, it is provided on an "as is" basis without any representation or endorsement made and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. Intelligent Protection International Limited does not assume responsibility and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

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