I have high hopes for Brussels. Anything started from California in Brussels seems to take off immediately, more than any other city in the world, Brussels and San Francisco for some odd reason mingle. TEDxBrussels is the largest TEDx in the world; The Founder Institute Brussels is the second biggest in the world (next to New York) and the recently started Quantified Self Group is starting to gain traction although it was originally only meant to take off in January 2011.
- Belgians are Pacificists. We are the most conquered city in Europe. From the 16th century until the Belgian revolution in 1830, many battles between European powers were fought in the area of Belgium, causing it to be dubbed the battleground of Europe—a reputation strengthened by both World Wars. There is no patriotism left anymore in the people. They do not even understand the concept of dying for one’s country. There is no respect for stamps or history, our prime minister when he was asked to sing the anthem, by accident sang the anthem of France. When tomorrow there would be war, everyone would go to Switzerland and come back when it was over.
- Perfect Europeans. Consumers devoid of any notion of nationality, religion, nation-state patriotism
- Polyglots. We speak many languages, but not any language well, that is why we enjoy the blessed state of being a tourist everywhere. Belgium is home to two main linguistic groups, the Dutch-speakers, mostly Flemish, and the French-speakers, mostly Walloons, plus a small group of German-speakers. But the real language of Brussels is of course Arabic, it is quickly becoming the first Arabic city in Europe.
- Brussels is a tax haven especially if you are not Belgian, but even if you are, different forms of tax applied abroad are not existant here: there is no tax on capital gains, not even tax on wealth. The only way you are paying tax is if you happen to have a job, which most of the Belgians no longer have, so we are fine.
- It is one of the only nations in the world with full nocturnal lighting on freeways. It is an enlightened nation in that respect. Our energy signature must be seen from space (you certainly see on it NASA sat. pics). No matter how many signals will be sent out by SETI, aliens, when they come, will disembark here, because it seems, - at least from space- that this is where the action is.
- There is an interesting social experiment going on in Brussels which is certainly an idea worth spreading. In Belgium poor people have been convinced to pay more tax so that the rich not leave the country. It seems to be a win-win situation because apparently, for the rich, it is not enough that they are rich, in order for their experience to have a lasting effect on their residence, the poor must remain poor.
- Belgians see the big picture. They run the EU, the Olympic Committee, but find no time to run their own country, and why should they, if you run the top, why would you run the bottom. Except when you are a micro-manager. Very soon, Belgium might govern the world as a non-state actor to show that the end of the nation-state has been reached.