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It was established in 979 as a fortress town by Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine.
Today, the city is known for its quintessential European feel, architecture, arts, as a leading site for international politics, and for being bi-lingual, the dual languages spoken being French and Dutch.
People Born in Brussels
Brussels in People's Lives
Anais Nin: I moved here as a child in 1908, and attended school in this city. I got very sick in 1912 and had to have an opertation, after which doctors suggested that my family move to a warmer climate.
Charles, Duke of Lower Lorraine: I founded Brussels in 979 as a fortress town, to aid my invasion against my brother.
James II of England: I traveled here in 1680 at the order of my brother the king, Charles II, after there was a tense uproar over my Catholic faith and power in government, with the people fearing that I would soon inherit the throne and convert England to Catholicism. I stayed here briefly before traveling to reside at a palace in Edinburgh later in 1680.
Leo Tolstoy: I visited here in March of 1861, where I met with the exiled French anarchist Pierre Joseph Proudhon. Anarchy was a concept that I was fascinated with, and I also was greatly intrigued to meet a man that had been forced out of his own country by his former government, as I believed all governments to be evil. I met Proudhon, who was living in this city under a false name, and found him inspiring and influential. Proudhon was writing a paper at the time entitled "War and Peace," which I would later use as the title for my own novel, partially inspired by Proudhon and his ideas.
Magnus Carlsen: I moved here with my family around 1993, when I was three years old. I grew up as an inquisitive, enormously intelligent child with an astonishing memory. By the age of 5, I had memorized everything about every country in the world, including population, history, flag, and capitals. I loved learning new things. My father taught me how to play chess when I was 5, but for the time being, I enjoyed playing with Lego sets more. When I was about 7, however, I returned to chess, and found a perfect intellectual challenge that became my passion. I began reading books about chess, and practicing for hours upon hours, memorizing combinations and strategies. Besides chess, I enjoyed ski jumping, Legos, Donald Duck comics, and reading. I was a good student and diligently spent time studying and doing homework. My family moved back to Norway, to the small town of Lommedalen, in 1998, when I was 8 years old.
Milo Ventimiglia: I traveled here in 2013 to film scenes of the movie Grace of Monaco.
Plastic Bertrand: I was born here in 1954, into the mixed heritage of a French father and Ukranian mother. At the age of nine in 1963, I formed a band called the Buffalo Scouts Band, of which I was the lead singer. We mainly performed covers of songs by the Rolling Stones. I would form and lead two other bands while I grew up in this city, and pursue music avidly. I studied design at the Institut Saint-Luc around 1972. I formed yet another band, this one leaning more toward punk, called the Hubble Bubble, which seemed to be on the verge of taking off. However, our drummer was tragically killed in a car accident one night when returning from rehearsal, and we disbanded. To support myself, I worked as a stage manager at the Theatre des Galeries. In 1977, I released a solo album, though I did not actually sing any of the vocals in the recordings (a fact that was more brushed over than hidden). Successful at last, I began a worldwide tour and welcomed international fame, becoming one of the few French-speaking artists ever included on the top Billboard music charts.