Brussels Political Weekend – FoF

No one said Brussels makes sense. On the contrary, this ad-hoc approach makes Brussels fun (and sometimes challenging). Let me explain.

When I first moved to Brussels I had to choose a ‘commune’. Brussels is namely a city made up of 19 communes. Are they something like ‘neighbourhoods’? Are they something like ‘arrondissements’? Are they something like ‘zones’? Yes, yes and yes. And more. Communes are almost mini-cities in themselves all making up what we call Brussels. To confuse everyone there is of course Brussels the city we all live in, but there is also Brussels commune.

So far I lived in 5 different communes, all having their own individual style. I studied in Auderghem. I jogged in Schaerbeek. I worked in Ixelles. I gardened in Uccle. I owned in Saint Gilles. And with the local (commune!) elections happening this weekend I thought I’d share with you 19 ‘commune’ quirks I think every commune has:

  1. a council, a communal executive, and a mayor. Times 19.
  2. .Talk about overdoing it.

  3. an individual governance plan
  4. its own communal schools, crèches, sports centres and cultural centres
  5. a ‘maison communale’ or ‘stadthuis’ – basically the city hall. Some communes drew the winning ticket there like Brussels-City, Schaerbeek, Saint-Gilles. Others less impressive.
  6. its own election in October 2012
  7. … and way too many politicians per commune.
  8. .Seriously. I’m an expat and I know a total of 5 politicians personally (!)

  9. a commune tax – and trust me there is a big difference between communes …
  10. a double name in French and Flemish which are not always the same (are you looking for Ixelles or Elsene?)
  11. a bi-lingual commune website
  12. its own postcode
  13. a distinct flag
  14. and hence its own historical past and a coat of arms
  15. 13. (bad luck!)
  16. and you can learn about all this in the commune newsletter which all publish
  17. a parking system for commune residents
  18. a separate ‘renovation’ scheme
  19. a weekly local market
  20. and an annual fair
  21. something unique to offer to its residents J

What are the quirks of your Brussels commune?

this blog post also appeared on Fans of Flanders

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  • Oh, and I just loved your 6th point. ONE OF THE MAIN reasons to become an expat myself, living now in Asia.

  • Not to mention subtly different rules about how to process residence permits for foreigners and what documents need official translations… and what fees to charge for the various steps.

  • I admire your blog so much and hope to have one like it some day. I recently wrote my own post about a series of wine bottle designed around the Seven Deadly Sins. If you would like to take a peek, perhaps follow or just leave a comment on this post, I would greatly appreciate it. I am just starting out and you are already so influential!

    https://clappable.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/seven-deadly-beverage-designs/