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BrOOC: Brussels decoded

The first online course entirely dedicated to Brussels and open to all!

The Brussels Studies Institute (BSI) is pleased to present the first Massive Open Online Course entirely dedicated to Brussels! 

"BrOOC" stands for Brussels Open Online Course. The objective of this course is to deconstruct preconceived ideas about Brussels for you to discover this city-region with its multiple historical, geographical, sociological, political, administrative and urban planning-related facets.

This first version, which is free and accessible to all, is split into seven sections. It features a formula for the co-creation of knowledge through a permanent and unique dialogue with the participants and Brussels’ society, who can send their suggestions and comments at any time.

Ready to (re)discover Brussels? Let's get started!


  • * The first academic course entirely dedicated to the study of Brussels
  • * Readable and accessible to all
  • * An interdisciplinary approach
  • * A bilingual, inter-university partnership
  • * More than 20 researchers


Brussels, capital of what?

The various territorial and administrative realities are so interwoven that we sometimes get lost in them. This section proposes to clarify the different possible meanings of "Brussels".




There's a bit of Brussels for everyone!

Every inhabitant of Brussels has their own perception of the city. It differs from one district to another, from one person to another... This section aims to look at these diverse perceptions in a structured way.


Brussels, the second most cosmopolitan city in the world?

Throughout its history, Brussels has always been a magnet for people from all over Belgium and the world. The multicultural nature of Brussels is particularly rich and serves here as a starting point for an analysis of the Brussels population.


Brussels, the city of traffic jams?

Mobility in Brussels and its periphery is often experienced as a nightmare by its users; it is now at the centre of many debates. To follow them, it is necessary to understand the main issues at stake, which cannot be reduced to a mere transport issue.


Brussels, a permanent construction site?

The major construction works that have disrupted the daily lives of inhabitants since the 19th century are world-famous; they have even given rise to the descriptive term "Brusselisation". To fully understand the rationale and impact of these longstanding construction sites, it is essential to recall both their ambitions and outcomes.





Brussels, administrative city and nest of spies?

Brussels is characterised by the presence of numerous regional, national and international administrations and institutions, which inevitably attract... a lot of spies! A far cry from the famous novels, films and other detective series, the presence of secret agents can be explained merely by the remarkable concentration of places of power and decision-making. The aim of this last section is to provide a clear insight into the political role of Brussels in Belgium, Europe and (more generally) the contemporary world.


Brussels, the greenest capital in Europe?

Brussels is a 'green' capital in terms of the number of trees and green spaces. But the Forêt de Soignes and the islands of private gardens boost the concerned parameters... Land, water, air, organisations, mobilisations, environmental injustice: in this section we look at different aspects of Brussels’ nature, and the relationship between the inhabitants of Brussels and their environment.

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