Brussels hosts most of the EU institutions, as well as representation offices and economic decision-making centers for the Member states. The presence of those institutions has attracted many international and interregional agencies, which largely exceed the European framework.
© www.visitbrussels.be - E.Danhier
Capital of Europe and international city
Brussels hosts major international organizations such as the EU institutions, the NATO headquarters and many other international actors and NGOs. After Washington, Brussels hosts the largest number of lobby groups. The city is also the second largest diplomatic center in the world with over 2,500 diplomats. Brussels is also one of the world's largest press centers.
The city's population exceeds one million, which represents 10% of Belgium's entire population. Almost one-third of Brussels' population has foreign origins.
According to a report published by Dun & Bradstreet and Analytica Consulting, the Brussels-Capital Region generates a total turnover of 247.9 billion Euros, which represents 19.1 % of the Belgian GDP. The city's economy is highly export-oriented.
International institutions make up for about 13 to 14% of the city's employment and GDP. Brussels hosts some 16,000 business congresses a year, which represents 2.5% of the city's GDP.
Brussels hosts the headquarters of many major Belgian companies (Brussels Airlines, Solvay, UCB, Umicore) and more than 1,500 foreign companies including AT&T, Coca-Cola, Hewlett Packard, Huawei, IBM, Sony, Tata Group, Toyota etc. Most of these companies are multinational services companies. The main sectors include finance, law and ICT.
Over 60 foreign banks are established in Brussels which makes the city the 7th financial center in the world.
The Belgian capital is the second industrial center of the country, just after the city of Antwerp. Brussels' industry is particularly high-tech oriented. 82% of the city's SME are involved in the services industry.
Flagship sectors in Brussels include:
- ICT and communication;
- Life tech;
- Finance and law consulting, communication agencies;
- Creative industries such as fashion and design.
(Source : Position paper ‘Brussels Metroplitan')
Brussels is an international city like no other. As the decision-making heart of Europe, it has become an international capital, where worldwide opinion leaders meet to influence and do business, yet it remains small enough to allow its inhabitants to enjoy all the advantages of a human-size city.