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Brussels by numbers: Facts and figures for a truly international city

21:34 13/01/2016
How many languages are spoken in Brussels? Which commune has the most foreigners? A comprehensive new report has the answers

The Brussels region is home to 180 nationalities, with 108 different languages spoken, and more than 55% of residents were not born Belgian.

These are some of the findings from a newly published report - the third edition of a major research project by the Brussels regional government and tourism agency Visit Brussels - which updates the previous stats from 2009 and 2011.

"The European and international institutions have made a significant impact on Brussels and have transformed the city from a national capital into the polyglot, international city that it is today," says Alain Hutchinson, the Brussels commissioner for Europe and international organisations.

The study found that public-sector international organisations - from the European Commission and Nato to the European Space Agency - are responsible for 121,000 jobs or 16.7% of all employment in the Brussels region.

Here are some more facts and figures about international Brussels from the report.

20
Organisations of the European Union present in Brussels

1,000,000m²
Office space occupied by the European Commission

42
Intergovernmental organisations such as Nato and Eurocontrol, not forgetting the World Organisation for Animal Health

20,000
The number of individual lobbyists estimated to be working in Brussels and its surroundings, with a combined annual budget somewhere between €953 million and €1.17 billion

€160 million
Annual expenditure by the 8,686 lobby organisations and individual lobbyists recorded in the European institutions transparency register

22,772
Pupils studying at 29 international schools

979
Foreign journalists in Brussels. The top nationalities are German (102), French (85), British (83) and Italian (66)

1,200-1,700
Number of journalists who register at the European Council for accreditation during a typical EU summit

5,400
Diplomats - the highest number in the world

121,000
Jobs generated by international institutions in Brussels (not including private-sector companies) - 81,000 directly and 40,000 indirectly

5 months
Average length of an internship at an international organisation

1,175,173
Official population of the Brussels region in 2015

33%
Of these residents have foreign nationality (22.5% have non-Belgian EU nationality)

55.8%
Of the Brussels population had foreign nationality at birth

35.6%
Etterbeek has the highest concentration of non-Belgian EU citizens in the Brussels region. Ixelles is close behind on 34.4%, then Saint-Gilles (28.7%) and the two Woluwés.

104
Languages spoken in the Brussels region

29.7%
Brussels residents think they speak good English

The full report can be found here.

Written by Paul McNally