Our next stop in the The Quintessential Global Cities series is Brussels. The city is known today as a seat of the European Union and United Nations. It is a diplomatic capital with many NGOs, international trade organizations, banks, and regulatory authorities. Many multinational companies have headquarters in Brussels to avail favorable tax rates and easily accessible political ties.
As such, the economy is highly service oriented. All types of professionals from bankers and lawyers to journalists and doctors are always in demand as the city’s political and economic importance grows.
Belgium also serves as a major transportation hub in Northern Europe and is one of the only countries in the world to have a fully lit highway system that’s even visible from space.
Brussels has a checkered history that made it the powerful center it is today. It’s a story of empire that really kicked off with the infamous King Leopold. He led the colonization of much of Africa including the mineral rich Congo, which was a part of the King’s personal land.
Over the years, Brussels accumulated a large fortune by trading diamonds and other resources with the rest of the world. Many diamond mining & cutting companies are based in Antwerp, another city close to Brussels.
Though the empire has passed and Belgium has come a long way, Brussels has learned to adapt to keep itself relevant. Thanks to its political ties, it remains one of the most stable countries on earth, and thus investment here is a safe bet.