Brussels lies at the centre of Brabant, one of Belgium’s nine provinces. The Flemings claim the lion’s share of the province with their Vlaams Brabant (Flemish Brabant) actually encircling the capital – a noticeably narrow corridor of Flemish-speaking communities runs round the southern edge of Brussels. WATERLOO is easily the most popular attraction in Brabant Wallon (French-speaking Brabant) and is best seen on a day-trip from the capital. A run-of-the-mill suburb about 18km south of the centre of Brussels, the town has a resonance far beyond its size. On June 18, 1815, at this small crossroads town on what was once the main route to Brussels from France, Wellington masterminded the battle that put an end to the imperial ambitions of Napoleon. The battle turned out to have far more significance than even its generals realized, for not only was this the last throw of the dice for the formidable army born of the French Revolution, but it also marked the end of France’s prolonged attempts to dominate Europe militarily.

Nevertheless, the historic importance of Waterloo has not saved the battlefield from interference – a motorway cuts right across it – and if you do visit you’ll need a lively imagination to picture what happened and where – unless, that is, you’re around to see the large-scale re-enactment which takes place every five years in June; the next one is scheduled for 2015. Scattered round the battlefield are several monuments and memorials, the most satisfying of which is the Butte de Lion, a huge earth mound that’s part viewpoint and part commemoration. The battlefield is 3km south of the centre of Waterloo, where the Musée Wellington is easily the pick of several Waterloo museums.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Belgium features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
20 fascinating second cities

20 fascinating second cities

Barcelona, Spain It's usually the capital cities that get all the attention, but what about a country's second city? These are twenty of our favourite secon…

02 Oct 2014 • Rebecca Hallett camera_alt Gallery
Map: beer from around the world

Map: beer from around the world

Beer-lovers rejoice: the British Government recently announced that a pint of beer in the UK will be a whole one penny cheaper than before. Not exactly saving a…

31 Mar 2014 • Charles Parkes insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook