Whether you come here seeking food or fame, underground art or big city prestige, there’s something for you in the capital of Europe, especially for those interested in modern Jewish communities: Belgium has 5 Jewish newspapers and 45 active Synagogues, and Yiddish is still actively spoken by Jews throughout the country.
This journey follows the path of Jewish heritage through the city, from the Jewish neighborhoods of centuries past through today, in this city there’s still an active and involved Jewish community. Unlike many other Jewish communities across Europe, the community recovered its numbers quickly after the Holocaust, from both refugees and the original inhabitants.
You’ll see the monuments to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust, as well as to the people who fought to protect and save their neighbors. Hear the stories of the people who saved their friends and neighbors and the unexpected characters from history who lived in Brussels. It’s truly one of the most unique modern Jewish communities in the world, let us show you around!
It would have been hard to imagine just few centuries ago, that Brussels would become one of the most important cities in Europe, let alone the world. The official founding as a city was in 979 CE, and for most of its history Brussels was passed between empires looking to expand, only gaining independence in 1830. But in a short amount of time, Brussels rocketed from minor city to a financial, cultural, economic, and political center of the world.
The period after independence was marked by rapid industrialization and a fostering of Belgium’s image as a neutral party in international affairs. They also benefited economically from their Congolese colony, the spoils of which went into infrastructure projects throughout Belgium, at enormous human cost.
In WWII, Belgium was seized by the Nazis quickly and almost entirely without fighting, and was liberated equally seamlessly, which is why many of the buildings in the capitol have survived until today.
The Jewish community has existed here since the 12th century, with a period of expulsion under Spanish rule. During the Holocaust, most of Belgian Jewry was shipped to death camps, however, immediately after the war the Jewish population rebounded due to an influx of ashkenazi refugees and survivors. Today, the number has decreased from emigration to the US and Israel, there continues to be an active an sizeable Jewish community centered in Brussels and Antwerp.
If you would like more information on our private Jewish heritage tours in Brussels, please fill out the form below - or call us directly under +49 30 61 62 57 61