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Brussels guide for activists [v.01]

red kitten (belgium.indymedia) | 04.12.2001 16:34 | Brussels

Here is a small guide about pratical issues if your comming to Brussels. It's still a bit messy, drafty and definitely uncomplete. Pardon my bad English.
Any question / request / correction? ::
The map should be updated soon.
CONTENT: how to come // transportations in Belgium and in Brussels // weather // languages // accomodation // communication // what to take and wear // more coming soon.

Brussels guide for activists [v.01]
Brussels guide for activists [v.01]

Brussels guide for activists [v.01] by red kitten (


Well, check a map of Europe:
- train (normal / Thalys) info: (>with efficient time-tables engine)
- coach ( Eurolines, etc...)
- car (different motorways, no motorway taxes, but better pass the border using small roads)
- plane (direct trains from National airport to the center of the city, Ryanair land in Charleroi, about 50km from Brussels, check the trains)


-1- TRAINS >> [really complete site in english, french, dutch, german]
The national company is quite efficient, and Belgium isn't so big!
Some tips:
-Go Pass: for people under 26, this card cost 1550bef / 38,42euro, can be used for 10 trips from anywhere in Belgium to anywhere in Belgium, just have to fill in. May be used by different people at the same time. Cannot be used before 9:00 during the week.
-Multi Pass: same kind as go-pass, a bit more expensive, no age limitation. Other offers: see
-You're suppose to have a ticket when getting in the train. If you couildn't buy one, ask the train controlant before getting in, or really quickly when you're in. In that case you may buy a ticket to her/him, but more expensive. The control may be "skiped" by some workers during D14.
First fee is about 1000bef / 25euro (?)

-2- PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IN BRUSSELS [quite complete site in french and dutch only]
-The local company is called STIB / MVIB, include buses, tramways and metros (tubes). All those are using same ticket system. (Warning some non-STIB/MVIB buses are ran in Brussels, regional companies (TEC and LIJN) they use other tickets).
-There are only 3 metro lines (1a, 1b, 2), and 44 buses lines and 17 tramways lines. Buses and tramways are numbered from 3 to 98, but some numbers are missing ;-)
-Tickets: you're supposed to have a ticket if you step in a bus or a tram, or if you're in the metro halls. You can buy
--a one trip ticket (55bef / 1,36euro): you can travel on any lines during 1 hour from the moment it have been stamped in the machine. You may buy this ticket in any bus, tram or metro station.
--5 trips ticket (240bef / 5,95euro): same as one trips ticket, may be stamped 5 times, may be used buy several persons. You have to buy it in a metro station, in an info point or some paper-shops.
--10 trips ticket (240bef / 5,95euro): same as 5 trips, ...10 times.
--There're some other tickets, like one day trip (145bef / 3,59euro)
First fee is minimu 2200bef / 55euro.
You may have free map of the STIB network in info points.
Warning: nothing works at night! Some lines stop round 20:00 last metros / trams / bus are round 11:30 till 01:00 (rare!)

-3- BIKE, WALKING.-Biking in Brussels is a battle! There's almost no bike path, and car driver don't respect it (sometimes it's even impossible not to druµive on it). Still it's possible to use bikes, some area are flat, some others definitely not. Wear fluorescive clothes and helmet!
-Walking: Brussels is not so big. Lot can be done with a good pair of shoes (and rain clothings!).

# C - WEATHER [english]
-Belgium is kinda cold and wet. In December temperature may be between 10°C and 0°C (average december = 3°C, last year = 6°C)
But it may feel colder because the air is wet, and there's a permanent risk of rain...

Official languages: Dutch, French and German (but only few people speaks German)
Most of Brussels population speaks French, but lot speaks Dutch, English or other Languages.
English may be used most of the time.


-That's not an easy part!
-Lot of things have already been booked. But as Brussels is really touristic place, they may be some more places still free.
-People from D14 / ATTAC / NGOs are working seriously to get more places to make open dormitories (schools, sport halls, etc.)
application form: / e-mail:
-New squatts should be openned.
-the best is to try to fix things up with local organization you're in contact with.


-There's a national phone company (Belgacom) and 3 mobile phone company (Proximus (=Belgacom) , Mobistar, Orange)

- Normal phone to normal phone: cost about: 2bef / 0,0496euro / min, during busy hours (mon. > fri., 8:00 > 19:00), half of it the rest of the time. If you've have to call to foreign countries (Europe, US, Canada) you may use "Eurocity" cards, you pay a normal call + 1bef per minutes. Those cards are avalaible in lot of paper shops, night shops and call-shops.
- You may call foreign countries from call-shops, open also in the evening.
- Public phones works mostly with chip cards (phone or bank cards) (6bef min??), you may find coin phone in non public spaces (metro, pubs, etc.)
From my point of view, the best is to be on Proximus network, because the most people are, so it would cost the less for everybody. Other network operators may offer you to call cheaper, but it cost a lot for people on other networks to call you... As it's really difficult to now exactly what's cheaper, i give this advice but do not garantee it!
You may by buy a SIM card for about 1000bef / 25euro with about 1000bef / 25euro of units on it. You may refil it with card from 500bef / 12,5euro, you can find them almost everywhere. Cost: about:
30bef / 0,740euro / min, during busy hours (mon. > fri., 8:00 > 19:00), other network
15bef / 0,370euro / min, during busy hours (mon. > fri., 8:00 > 19:00), same network
10bef / 0,245euro / min, during un-busy hours (19:00 > 8:00, and week-end), any network
That's basic cost, you can change it to something more oriented phoning busy hours or un-busy hours...
Cell phones are working about everywhere in Brussels, exept some part of tubes and some buildings.

There are lot of small internet café or call-shops with some computers online, especially in quite popular area. There's alos a huge "easyeverything" (so corporate!) open 24/24 & 7-7, place De Brouckere, in the center of the town. I think the price is about 50bef / 1,25euro. Some place may be more expensive, boycott them!


EQUIPMENT: should be very useful:
-"One-use" camera with flash (in order to have prooves of any police abuse)
-FM radio + battery (there'll be an alternative multilingual radio braodcast with 10min news every hour)
-Cell phone + battery charger
-Protections, pads (you all know about it...)
-Sleeping bag + camping matras
-Umbrella (protect from rain and video-cameras)
-Electric torch
-If you use a laptop or other electric item: electric wires and multi-plugs item
-Paper, pen, markers, rope, tape, etc...
-Brussels map
-Small rucsack
Put everything in separate plastic back may protect from rain and water canon (and help to put order in large bags).

As said before: weather may be cold and wet.
Also considere that belgian police is famous all over Europe for its water canon...
-Rain resistant jacket + trousers (or nylon trousers that may be dry quickly, avoid denim, thick cotton, etc...)
-Water resistant tough and comfortable shoes. (+ an extra pair of shoes)
-Gloves, hat, scarf, etc...
# Z - COMING SOON: adresses, agenda, organizations, legal and medical teams phone numbers, etc ...

/// red kitten loves ///
Dont' Hate The Media > Be The Media

red kitten (belgium.indymedia)
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Display the following 3 comments

  1. Money — -
  2. The missing picture is a map of events — Pete
  3. Euro-joke? — red kitten