About the Venue

AOSD.08 will be held in Brussels, the official capital of Belgium and unofficial capital of Europe. Located centrally in Western Europe, Brussels is easy to reach by plane to Brussels International Airport, and has direct high-speed train connections to neighboring major cities: Paris (1h20), London (2h30) and Amsterdam (2h40).

Grote Market

If you wish to extend your stay beyond the conference, you'll find Brussels has much to offer. From the city in which Charles V was declared king of the unified Spain, to hosting the headquarters of the European Union today, Brussels has always played an important political role and is defined by a vibrant mix of old and new. Gothic cathedrals and churches sit, at times in stark contrast, next to gracious classical facades or gorgeous Art Nouveau and Art Deco houses. Many examples in the latter style by renowned architects Victor Horta and Paul Hankar can be found throughout the city, such as the splendid Museum of Musical Instruments. Other museums well worth visiting include the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, with works on display by, amongst others, Brueghel, Rubens, Van Dyck and Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. Belgium is also famous for more modern imagery: fans of Tintin or The Smurfs can spend an afternoon reading in the Comic Strip museum, or can check out the 22 "comics walls" situated throughout the city. Paleontology buffs should definitely head for the Natural Sciences Museum with its unique collection of Iguanodon Bernissartensis skeletons. The Royal Palaces, Parc Cinquantenaire with its car and aircraft museums, the Atomium, Chinese pavilion, Japanese tower and the little statue of Manneken Pis complete the mix of sometimes quirky sights to be found in Brussels. Its crowning glory, the Grand Place market square, gives you a chance to savour the celebrated Belgian beers, chocolates and cuisine while admiring the impressive Guild houses and Town Hall.

From Brussels you can also easily make a day trip to one of the other important cities of Belgium. The northern Flemish region has a rich history of commerce and industry which lead to the development of the fair cities of Bruges, Ghent, Leuven and Antwerp. Bruges in particular has a historic city centre classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Also known as “The Venice of the North” because of its canals, the city was once a thriving cloth trading port, but declined when the river connecting it to the North Sea silted up in the 16th century. The town subsequently became frozen in time with the Industrial Revolution passing it by, and the city has perfectly preserved its medieval atmosphere. Close-by Ghent offers a similar experience and boasts the largest number of protected monuments in Belgium. Its Saint Bavo Cathedral has on display the acclaimed polyptych “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” by Van Eyck, considered the most beautiful and influential painting of the Flemish school of painting. Leuven is a bustling student town, with sites of historical interest and of course a lively bar scene. Antwerp has long been an important city both economically and culturally. Today, it has one of the busiest ports in the world. Known as the Diamond Capital and a budding fashion centre, it is the place to go to acquire some new attire.

Day trips to the south bring you to the Walloon region of Belgium, which enchants with its Ardennes forests and wild beauty. The adventurous can explore the region by kayaking down the river Lesse past majestic rock cliffs, a nature reserve, prehistoric caves and medieval castles.



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