The Sites of Belgium - 2006-08-24

SM senior editor Sara J. Welch recently visited Belgium. She writes: “Belgium, the charming country where I spent a week on site inspections this summer, is the headquarters of the European Union and the home of 40,000 Americans. It’s also the size of Maryland, which means it often gets overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, France and Germany. For that reason, I’ve decided to share some of the interesting meetings-related trivia I learned on my trip.

At the 356-room Crowne Plaza Brussels City Centre, you can meet in a boardroom that was once the breakfast room of Princess Grace of Monaco, who spent a month here in 1956 while on her honeymoon. Nearby, the atrium of the 149-room Radisson SAS Royal Hotel (pictured) contains an ancient wall from Roman times that was unearthed during construction and incorporated into the design.

In Antwerp, famous for its diamond district, Diamondland can arrange group visits to a diamond factory to watch carvers and polishers at work. If your group’s got cash to flash, do a “diamond cocktail party” at which one lucky guest receives a surprise gift: a genuine diamond, frozen inside an ice cube. Or, if you’re poor (and hungry), pay a visit to the Frituur Museum, which features 150 paintings, sculptures, and other artworks dedicated to the humble frite, which—“freedom fries” controversy notwithstanding—was invented by Belgians. Another great thing about Antwerp: Unlike London, Paris, or Amsterdam, its hotels don’t make you pay for meeting rooms.

Finally, anyone who ever doubted that Marxism is dead should visit La Maison du Cygne in Brussels’ beautiful Grand-Place. In 1848, this was where Karl Marx penned The Communist Manifesto; today, it’s one of the city’s most expensive restaurants (private dining for up to 100 is available). If attendees want to drink to that, Belgium offers more than 400 beers, each served in its own unique glass.”
She writes: “Belgium, the charming country where I spent a week on site inspections this summer, is the headquarters of the European Union and the home of 40,000 Americans. It’s also the size of Maryland, which means it often gets overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, France and Germany. For that reason, I’ve decided to share some of the interesting meetings-related trivia I learned on my trip.

At the 356-room Crowne Plaza Brussels City Centre, you can meet in a boardroom that was once the breakfast room of Princess Grace of Monaco, who spent a month here in 1956 while on her honeymoon. Nearby, the atrium of the 149-room Radisson SAS Royal Hotel (pictured) contains an ancient wall from Roman times that was unearthed during construction and incorporated into the design.

In Antwerp, famous for its diamond district, Diamondland can arrange group visits to a diamond factory to watch carvers and polishers at work. If your group’s got cash to flash, do a “diamond cocktail party” at which one lucky guest receives a surprise gift: a genuine diamond, frozen inside an ice cube. Or, if you’re poor (and hungry), pay a visit to the Frituur Museum, which features 150 paintings, sculptures, and other artworks dedicated to the humble frite, which—“freedom fries” controversy notwithstanding—was invented by Belgians. Another great thing about Antwerp: Unlike London, Paris, or Amsterdam, its hotels don’t make you pay for meeting rooms.

Finally, anyone who ever doubted that Marxism is dead should visit La Maison du Cygne in Brussels’ beautiful Grand-Place. In 1848, this was where Karl Marx penned The Communist Manifesto; today, it’s one of the city’s most expensive restaurants (private dining for up to 100 is available). If attendees want to drink to that, Belgium offers more than 400 beers, each served in its own unique glass.”
She writes: “Belgium, the charming country where I spent a week on site inspections this summer, is the headquarters of the European Union and the home of 40,000 Americans. It’s also the size of Maryland, which means it often gets overshadowed by its bigger neighbors, France and Germany. For that reason, I’ve decided to share some of the interesting meetings-related trivia I learned on my trip.

At the 356-room Crowne Plaza Brussels City Centre, you can meet in a boardroom that was once the breakfast room of Princess Grace of Monaco, who spent a month here in 1956 while on her honeymoon. Nearby, the atrium of the 149-room Radisson SAS Royal Hotel (pictured) contains an ancient wall from Roman times that was unearthed during construction and incorporated into the design.

In Antwerp, famous for its diamond district, Diamondland can arrange group visits to a diamond factory to watch carvers and polishers at work. If your group’s got cash to flash, do a “diamond cocktail party” at which one lucky guest receives a surprise gift: a genuine diamond, frozen inside an ice cube. Or, if you’re poor (and hungry), pay a visit to the Frituur Museum, which features 150 paintings, sculptures, and other artworks dedicated to the humble frite, which—“freedom fries” controversy notwithstanding—was invented by Belgians. Another great thing about Antwerp: Unlike London, Paris, or Amsterdam, its hotels don’t make you pay for meeting rooms.

Finally, anyone who ever doubted that Marxism is dead should visit La Maison du Cygne in Brussels’ beautiful Grand-Place. In 1848, this was where Karl Marx penned The Communist Manifesto; today, it’s one of the city’s most expensive restaurants (private dining for up to 100 is available). If attendees want to drink to that, Belgium offers more than 400 beers, each served in its own unique glass.”