Brussels and Wallonia

Mons gets named a European Capital of Culture in 2015.
Mons gets named a European Capital of Culture in 2015.

2015 is the year of Brussels and Wallonia. Vistiors can reap all of the benefits that Brussels and Wallonia, the southern part of Belgium, has to offer in the upcoming year by planning a trip to one of the last “undiscovered” areas of Europe. The world is recognizing what Wallonia has to offer by making Mons the European Capital of Culture in 2015. Travelers can start the year off with a bang and head to Mons for the opening ceremony, which marks Mons’ title of European Capital of Culture—a fire installation will fill the sky and music will play in this unique Walloon experience.

Guests can stay in Mons after the flames have been extinguished and explore the fascinating exhibits that celebrate Mons’ culture. One of the most famous artists in the world, Vincent Van Gogh, had his artistic awakening in the area. “Van Gogh au Borinage” is dedicated to his time in Mons and the work that he created based on this inspiring time. Another great artist was also inspired by Mons, although the circumstances of his stay were different. Paul Verlaine was incarcerated in Mons after a heated argument gone wrong with his lover, Arthur Rimbaud, but his poetry still flourished. The exhibition on Verlaine, “Verlaine Cellule 252,” discusses this fiery and dramatic past. “The Man, the Dragon, and the Death,” is another intriguing exhibit that tells the famous tale of St. George and the dragon through illuminations and art inspired by the story. Five new museums will also be gracing the city of Mons, staying open after Mons’ reign, as European Capital of Culture, has ended.

For more action-filled Walloon adventures go to Waterloo. This June is the 200th anniversary of one of the most famous battles in history. Napoleon met his defeat on Waterloo’s Lion Field, ending his empire once and for all. In order to commemorate this momentous occasion there will be a 3-day celebration and an enormous reenactment of the epic battle. Actors from all over the world will be stepping into the shoes of the soldiers, while spectators from all over the world watch the festivities. Waterloo will also be home to a new museum opening in 2015, which will give visitors a new look at the town and its most famous event.

Brussels is a great home base for visiting Waterloo and Mons, as both places are easily accessible by bus and train.

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