Since November 1983
Committee Chair: Anton Mertens
Founded in 979, Brussels is a vibrant international city and the capital of Belgium. As the center of European culture and institutions, Brussels has much more to offer than most people imagine. Apart from its famous chocolates and beers, there are almost 90 museums, beautiful parks, architecture, bars and much more.
Apart from being the center of European politics, Brussels has a fascinating history dating back to the 11th century when it began as a small commercial center the size of the current downtown area. In 1830, Belgium became an independent country, and Brussels became the capital of Belgium under a new king and parliament. Belgium is about one-fifth the size of Georgia, it is home to about 11 million people.
Brussels is quickly gaining a reputation as one of Europe's must-see destinations, with its small town charm, trendy bars and restaurants, fabulous food, great nightlife, fantastic shopping. In addition to its famous chocolates and beers, there are close to 90 museums, beautiful parks, exquisite architecture, and other attractions, including the diverse and interesting exhibits and festivals held there every year.
Brussels is also becoming known as a mecca of style, design and culture. While attracting more and more big names in international fashion to its growing shopping districts, home-grown Belgian designers are rapidly gaining global notoriety. The streets of Brussels feature art and architecture created from a unique Belgian point of view.
About the Partnership
Brussels and Atlanta became forever linked when Sabena Belgian World Airlines became the first foreign flag carrier into Atlanta in June of 1978. After Sabena went out of business, Delta Air Lines took over that route. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young then forged a sister city relationship with the European Capital on November 23, 1983.
Recently, Anton Mertens of Burr & Forman LLP was elected Chair of the Atlanta-Brussels Sister Cities Committee and has since assembled a team to forge economic, cultural, and academic partnerships. In July 2016, Mr. Mertens traveled to Brussels to meet with Brussels Foreign Affairs Officer Ruth Briz to reinvigorate the dormant relationship and outline future cooperation between the two cities.
2017 will continue to further Atlanta's relationship with Brussels. Delta Air Lines resumed its direct flight between Atlanta and Brussels on March 25, 2017 which had been temporarily discontinued after the terrorist attacks in 2016. The renewed service will allow the two cities to further build on the current momentum and forge economic, cultural, and academic opportunities.