Talk:Brussels

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Districtification?[edit]

The article is quite full to the brim with listings and valuable content, while not describing Brussels not nearly as good enough as it could. That is great, as it shows that despite all the popular adages, Brussels IS an interesting and worthwhile destination, but I was wondering whether it doesn't reach the point when districtification would be recommendable. What do you guys think? PrinceGloria (talk) 20:49, 13 June 2013 (UTC)

Brussels article contains enough content to be districtified. You'll have to propose districts hierarchy for Brussels. --Saqib (talk) 21:13, 13 June 2013 (UTC)
Gladly even if ill-informed-ly, as I do not consider myself an expert on Brussels.
Normally I prefer to go by administrative divisions, but this time it would not make much sense, as the City of Brussels municipality spreads its tentacles all over the most important attractions. Therefore, I would propose, going a bit after the French Wikipedia:
  • Le Pentagone (see also list of attractions)
  • Le quartier européen (including the Parc du Cinquantenaire and Quarier Leopold areas
  • Southeast - Avenue Louise, Avenue Roosevelt and Bois de la Cambre together with Etterbeek and Saint-Gilles Ixelles
  • Northeast - Laeken, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Ganshoren, Jette, Koekelberg, Molenberg-Saint-Jean
  • Anderlecht
  • Southern suburbs - Forest, Uccle and Watermael-Boitsfort
  • Eastern suburbs - Woluwe-Saint-Lambert, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre and Auderghem
  • the North - Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, Schaerbeek, Evere, Neder-over-Heembeek and Haren
This is a very uninformed guess, so I believe it would be better if a Brusselite opined on that. But at least it's a start. PrinceGloria (talk) 04:56, 14 June 2013 (UTC)
Ok guys, how about this? PrinceGloria (talk) 17:13, 5 October 2014 (UTC)

I would like to bring this discussion back to live. I have studied in Brussels and occasionally I still work there, so allow me to say that I have some knowledge on the city. User PrinceGloria has made an interesting start in the divison of Brussels into Wikivoyage districts. Mostly I can agree with his proposal (such as Pentagon, European Quarter, ...), however I would like to suggest a few changes.

  • Pentagon: the historical center of the city within the former, unfortunately demolished, city walls.
  • European Quarter: Including Parc du Cinquantenaire and Quartier Leopold areas.
  • West: Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, Koekelberg, Anderlecht, Berghem-Sainte-Agathe, Ganshoren, Jette municipalities. I added Anderlecht here because there are not so many interesting sights in Anderlecht and there is no visible barrier between Anderlecht and Molenbeek. Anderlecht is mostly connected with this area of Brussels.
  • South: Saint-Gilles, Forest and Uccle municipalities. I suggest so because public transport to Uccle from the centre mainly goes through these two municipalities. Look and feel-wise Uccle is however quite different from the other two.
  • Southeast: The lushy and expensive Louise, Ixelles and Etterbeek areas.
  • East: Woluwe municipalities, Ouderghem, Watermael-Boitsfort. Quite green and residential areas.
  • North: The dense residential St-Josse-ten-Node, Schaerbeek and Evere areas. I am doubting about the Laken area though as, again, it has a quite different feel. However I am afraid that, when adding it to the West district, the district may get too large.

I am looking forward to your responses. Podrozniczek (talk) 12:52, 24 May 2017 (UTC)

I agree with the definition of Pentagon and European Quarter, but wonder about the urban accuracy of the classification of remaining areas. Woluwe, Oudergem, Etterbeek, Ukkel, Elsene and Watermaal all share the same "personality" as a "lushy residential area", as you phrased it, and could be grouped together. In contrast, Anderlecht, Vorst, Molenbeek, Koekelberg, Schaarbeek and St. Joost all share characteristics that are more resembling the banlieus around Paris, with an overall lower human development index than the aforementioned municipalities: lower wealth, high concentrations of immigrants etc. So these can also be grouped together. St. Agatha Berchem, Jette, Laken, Neder Over Heembeek and Haren can also be grouped together as residential areas in the north. Finally, I would introduce the Business District around Brussels North station as a distinct area, as well as Evere due to its international (NATO) character. For the typical tourist visiting Brussels, the districtifiation would matter very little since most of what is of touristic value is situated inside the pentagon. However, it may be interesting to mention in the Stay Safe section that the banlieu municipalities should be avoided at night if possible. If districts other than the pentagon are to have separate pages (I "accidentally" discovered the existance of Brussels/East page for example) then they should at least be referenced in the main article. Now it seems they are ignored/neglected since few know of their existence, and most attractions are listed in the main article anyway. ArticCynda (talk) 23:15, 3 October 2017 (UTC)
As the consensus seems to be in favour of retaining districts for Brussels, does it makes sense to remove the merge tags from the existing district articles? Ground Zero (talk) 14:11, 1 January 2018 (UTC)
There is no debate about whether districtification is necessary, but rather if they deserve separate pages or should be merged into one article. I am very much in favour of having a single article with subdivisions for the different districts, as following the example of Sarajevo and others. Consider it from the perspective of the traveler: they visit Brussels as a whole, and want to know which attractions are worth visiting in the entire city. Since most of the important attractions are in the Pentagon, a comparison would be difficult. How the districts should be named, and what their boundaries should be, is another debate. ArticCynda (talk) 21:23, 14 January 2018 (UTC)
In Wikivoyage, when a city article becomes long and complex, it's districts are broken out into separate articles. We don't have a single article for Paris, London, Amsterdam, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, and so on. Each of those cities is divided amongst a bunch of district articles. As this discussion, has not proceeded, and there is a consensus, policy, and precedent for separate articles, I'll remove the merge tags. The discussion can continue, of course, if you want to make a new proposal for merging, but you'll need an argument that is better aligned with Wikivoyage practice. Ground Zero (talk) 11:47, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
I believe one of the basic rules of Wikivoyage is: don't list what's not worth listing. The Brussels/North article for example is nearly empty not because nobody took the time to complete it, but simply because there really isn't anything worth listing in that district aside from Train World and the prostitutes of the North station area. So what's the point of having an article on that? Brussels (and Belgium) in general are densely populated, with huge highly urbanized/residential areas where there literally is nothing of interest to travelers. Just because an area is part of a city doesn't mean it deserves to be listed. ArticCynda (talk) 14:26, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
It has one site and a few places to skeep. And the other six districts have lots of sites, lots of places to sleep and to eat. Merging all of those listings into the main article would make the article massive and unwieldy. The next step will be to start moving listings from the main article into the district articles, as is done for other cities.
Is there still interest in discussing re-allocating the districts? If so, then it would make sense to wait until that is done before starting to move things from the main article. But if the discussion is going to languish for months and months like this one has, then we would be better off working with the existing districts. Ground Zero (talk) 14:42, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
The length of an article alone is, in my opinion, a poor argument to split it up in multiple districts. It's usually more convenient for the traveler to keep information grouped together rather than to scatter it over multiple pages in small fragments. There are many good examples on Wikivoyage already, for example the article on Sarajevo (a capital city comparable to Brussels in size) is longer than the Brussels article, and also there it wouldn't make sense to split it up. Keep in mind that the average traveler visits Brussels and not Brussels North or Brussels South on a weekend or day trip.
However, if there would be consensus to districtify (which there isn't yet, as far as the discussion appears to stand now), then I propose a strategy like Mexico City: define districts for areas where there is actually something to see, and ignore the boring residential areas (areas marked gray on the map, but aren't covered by a district). Whichever attractions fall outside these defined districts can still be mentioned in the "main" article as there will be few (Train World being an example for Brussels). ArticCynda (talk) 15:42, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
The districts were created a year ago. The question is whether to mash in all of the information from those seven articles into this one. I oppose that. The average traveller does not visit Copenhagen/Northern suburbs either, but we still have Copenhagen broken into districts. Or Vantaa and Northern Helsinki, or Prague/East bank of Vltava, or Oslo/Inner North, or Vancouver/South. I don't object to re-organizing the district articles if you want to take that on by proposing a new alignment. Ground Zero (talk) 16:36, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
That seems a good compromise to get to a consensus. Can we agree that the article needs to be districtified, but with a proper redefinition of the districts? Based on the current map markers, I propose 4 districts: the Pentagon (historic center within the inner ring), the European Quarter including the Cinquantenaire, the Heysel and its surroundings, and Woluwe until the boundaries with Kraainem. If there is no opposition against such a redefinition, I volunteer to take the initiative to start this massive endeavor, and finally get the issue sorted. ArticCynda (talk) 18:12, 11 May 2018 (UTC)
Looks like a good plan! Plunge forward! Ground Zero (talk) 18:42, 11 May 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────So just for the record, User:Ground Zero removed the merge tags. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:42, 12 May 2018 (UTC)

No-one but the person proposing the merger had written in favour of it after eight months, so there was no consensus for merger. How long should merge tags linger? Ground Zero (talk) 03:28, 12 May 2018 (UTC)
@Ground Zero: The article just reached (and exceeded) the maximum of 99 allowed See listings, so I'm formally withdrawing any objections against districtification. ArticCynda (talk) 12:04, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
@ArticCynda: so was the intention to add listings until it breaks the code for the article just to make a point about Districtification? Now that the page does not work, do you intend to split the article up and fix the problem?--Traveler100 (talk) 16:12, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
@ArticCynda: please start expanding the districts before adding any more listings. --Traveler100 (talk) 16:31, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
@Traveler100: I was also surprised that the listing template apparently breaks above certain number of total listings on a single page. I'm equally surprised that nobody pointed that out months ago when the Districtification road map was proposed and accepted by consensus, although one of the work packages there is adding listings...
Anyway, I think the majority of the touristically important See and Do listings are now added, which allows us to work on a more sensible division in districts. ArticCynda (talk) 20:21, 6 July 2018 (UTC)
@Traveler100: Off topic, I find it insulting that you suggest I added listings with as aim to break to page to make a supposed point. I never have engaged in such childish actions, nor do I feel the need for them, nor do I have the time for them. ArticCynda (talk) 07:41, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
Sorry maybe a little rash a comment, was a little busy, guess I should have waited before making input. --Traveler100 (talk) 13:52, 7 July 2018 (UTC)
Apology accepted, let's continue making the Brussels article great again! ArticCynda (talk) 08:36, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── Based on the distribution of the added POIs, I propose the following districtification with 10 districts:

  1. Pentagon, the city center enclosed by the inner ring way (i.e. roughly the trajectory of the 2nd city walls)
  2. Business District, the area north of the Pentagon, including the North station, and Thurn & Taxis
  3. Heysel, the northern most part of Laeken, but stretching out to the Musea of the Far East and the Royal Palace
  4. European Quarter, east from the Pentagon including the Cinquantenaire
  5. Matonge, African district south of the Pentagon
  6. International District, south west of the Pentagon, including the banlieu suburbs of Vorst, Molenbeek, and the rough parts of Anderlecht
  7. South East Residential District, Woluwe, Watermaal, parts of Schaarbeek, Ukkel
  8. West Residential District, Koekelberg, St-Agatha-Berchem, Laken
  9. St-Joost, St-Joost-Ten-Node and rough parts of Schaarbeek
  10. Industrial District, the north east including the canal zone, Haren, and the industrial zone bordering Vilvoorde

Of course, then names are still up for debate. What does everyone else think of this? ArticCynda (talk) 10:59, 9 July 2018 (UTC)

Since no one seems to be willing to spare the effort to provide feedback and/or input — surprising for an article with the impact and visibility of this one — I've gone ahead and implemented the districtification, with 4 additional districts. The district map is hosted on Commons can can be found here. ArticCynda (talk) 23:14, 17 July 2018 (UTC)

Alternative banner for this article?[edit]

old banner currently used in this article
suggested new banner (which is currently used in the parallel article in the Hebrew Wikivoyage)

In the Hebrew Wikivoyage we are currently using this banner instead of the one which is currently used here. Do you think too that this banner would would better than the existing one? ויקיג'אנקי (talk) 03:40, 5 April 2014 (UTC)

Not close. The new banner is beautiful, so much better than the current one. The current one is not nearly so interesting; the new banner makes me want to visit Brussels as soon as possible. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:34, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
+1 new banner. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:45, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
Yeah, no contest. The first one is too much in shadow. Texugo (talk) 12:55, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
The current banner is a disaster, with all due respect to whom I presume to be the author given the style of it. The other one is clearly a winner, though I believe we may find a better picture still - the current one does not lend itself all that well to cropping as the town hall gets cut off awkwardly however we slice it. The source is also not a very high-quality pic to begin with and as a result, the banner gets grainy when rendered at banner resolution. PrinceGloria (talk) 18:41, 5 April 2014 (UTC)
PS. Quite many of our Belgian / Northern French city banners have a medieval market square pictured, as this is a common feature thereof, and Brussels is different in that it is actually a more eclectic city, with all the European stuff and the latter 20th century architecture. We may want to go along that route for a more diverse pic, perhaps a view from the terrace under the royal memorial?
I prefer the new banner. • • • Peter (Southwood) (talk): 19:45, 6 April 2014 (UTC)
Lower banner is much better to me. ChubbyWimbus (talk) 00:28, 8 April 2014 (UTC)
Prefer newer banner Matroc (talk) 03:11, 8 April 2014 (UTC)

Recent edits about the character of the city[edit]

Please have a look at this I think the wording introduced in these edits is a bit too harsh, but maybe the former wording is sugarcoating it too much (Have a look at this to see what I mean). However, I have not yet been to Brussels, so I defer to better judgment. Opinions? Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:38, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

I wasn't aware that the architectural eye sore that Brussels became is so infamous there is even a word (brusselization) for it. Regardless it is probably a matter of preference and perspective, I personally find the lack of zoning and restrictions on urban development an ugly result, while the less architecture loving visitors may find it a unique blend as the article suggests. ArticCynda (talk) 23:21, 29 September 2017 (UTC)

Language of train station announcements[edit]

One can expect public announcements in train stations to at least be said in French and Dutch, while trains going to Brussels Airport are announced stations (such as Zuidstation/Gare Du Midi) typically include English and German.

Is this true? I thought only trains to Brussels Airport are announced in English and German. FranklyMyDear... (talk) 21:37, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

The way I understand it, it does not claim any trains but those going to the airport have German or English announcements. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:34, 22 September 2016 (UTC)
Oh, I'm sorry @Hobbitschuster: I posted a modification by me instead of a quote. Here is the quote of the real text I am referring to:
One can expect public announcements in train stations to at least be said in French and Dutch, while larger train stations (such as Zuidstation/Gare Du Midi) typically include English and German.
FranklyMyDear... (talk) 22:26, 26 September 2016 (UTC)

Laptop opening[edit]

Regarding this edit, there is an immediate question: Why? Why should one not open one's laptop? Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:35, 1 March 2018 (UTC)

I don't know for sure, but as it's mentioned together with pickpockets (and by extension petty thievery in general), I assume there's a real risk that a thief will grab your laptop and run. ϒpsilon (talk) 17:31, 1 March 2018 (UTC)
I opened my laptop many times on the metro in Brussels, never had a problem with it. The Safety section seems to be written by someone who doesn't know Brussels very well, I'll rewrite it when I have some time. ArticCynda (talk) 14:04, 11 May 2018 (UTC)

Districtification road map[edit]

Since a consensus in favor of districtification has been reached, let's work out a road map on implementing it. Suggesting the following:

  • Merging split-offs back into the main article. done
  • Adding remaining POIs to the article. ONGOING
  • Removing obsolete POIs (notably in the Do and Buy sections). ONGOING
  • Adding dynamic map markers for any POI that does not currently have any, also removing duplicate markers. done
  • Redefining district boundaries based on earlier consensus and locations of the POIs -- trying to include as many POIs as reasonably possible. done
  • Creating district articles and moving POIs from main article to respective districts. done
  • Rewriting See section as a summary. done
  • Rewriting Do section as a summary. done
  • Rewriting Buy section as a summary. TODO
  • Rewriting Eat section as a summary. TODO
  • Rewriting Buy section as a summary. TODO
  • Rewriting Sleep section as a summary. TODO
  • Expanding Understand section. TODO
  • Rewriting Stay safe section. TODO
  • Creating a map for Brussels main article with all the districts marked in different colors. done
  • Fixing dead links resulting from renaming districts. done

ArticCynda (talk) 11:07, 17 May 2018 (UTC)

  • Making sure the information is accurate and free of bigotry ongoing Hobbitschuster (talk) 12:06, 9 August 2018 (UTC)

Public transport references[edit]

I've recently added all the active lines of the MIVB network to the Template:Rail-interchange template, making them available in this article. They synergize well with the Template:Station template which allows for more consistent rendering of public transport stops across Wikivoyage articles. Unfortunately, as pointed out by Andree.sk, using the template(s) has the tendency to clutter the article, giving it the look of a children's coloring book rather than a professional travel guide. I propose we come to a consensus on how to apply the {{rint|}} and/or station templates throughout the Brussels article, finding a good trade-off between usability for the traveler (under the directions field etc.) but without making the article too heavy to read. A few possible options to kick off the discussion:

  • station template: Centraal Station  1   5   29  38  48  63  65  66  71  N08 
  • station template with reduced line list: 4 most frequently used lines: Centraal Station  1   5   29  N08 
  • station template with reduced line list: only metro or tram lines: Centraal Station  1   5  
  • station template with rint template: separating metro and tram/bus: Brussels Metro-simplified.svg  1   5   Centraal Station  29  38  48  63  65  66  71  N08 
  • station template with rint template and reduced line list: 4 most frequently used lines: Brussels Metro-simplified.svg  1   5   Centraal Station  29  N08 
  • station template with rint template, omitting Brussels Metro-simplified.svg symbol:  1   5   Centraal Station  29  N08 
  • station template integrating rint template with reduced line list: Brussels Metro-simplified.svg SNCB logo.svg Centraal Station  1   5   29  N08 

ArticCynda (talk) 08:05, 5 June 2018 (UTC)

Hi, thanks for calling:)) First, let me tell you I appreciate the amount of work you put into this. In the end, I guess the decision about the topic should be based on the local conditions. Some cities have only 1 or 2 minor metro lines, and most of the transport is done via other means. So one-size-fits-all obviously doesn't work... Also - AFAIR I saw WV de/fr articles that were far more "visual-noisy" than this, if that calms you :)
However, I'd argue that WV isn't meant primarily for the locals. Thus we don't need to put detailed/optimal transport options, since you usually use some kind of local route-finder webpage for that (or even google can do it for many cities). And if it is 5min differrence, I'd probably prefer taking metro/tram in an unknown city, rather than bus (unless it's the only option, ofc)...
Big point also is that tram/bus routes (at least in Prague) tend to change every year, slightly. WV snapshots may be used for many years... So for this reason, I'd stick with metro+premetro, plus maybe the major lines which are practically "stable".
In the end, I think the 2nd or 3rd ( Centraal Station  1   5   29  N08  or Centraal Station  1   5  ) are ideal (as per the above). As you saw already, I think the metro symbol and separation of metro/bus is too much, especially in combination with the marker icons...
PS: Do bus routes really have colors in Brussels? Andree.sk (talk) 06:13, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter, Andree.sk! I completely agree with your point of view, whenever I'm in a strange city, I also try to get around with metro and/or tram, and avoid bus transport since it's quite tedious and difficult to figure out. That's why the template encodes the type of transport: when you hover over any line, a tooltip will reveal the type of vehicle (metro, tram or bus). Although I'm aware of the fact that those tooltips won't be printed in PDFs of course... Anyway, I added all MIVB bus lines because some attractions can only be reached by bus in Brussels, for example the Royal Greenhouses are too far from the city center to walk, and can only realistically be reached with bus  53 . And yes, all bus lines also have their color codes, consisting of a characteristic background color and either a black or white foreground text displaying the line number. I support your suggestions, and would probably prefer the reduced line count version as to have the Noctis (late night bus lines) also included since they're convenient for party animals. ArticCynda (talk) 07:52, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
@Wauteurz: What's your opinion on this matter, als public transport expert? ArticCynda (talk) 21:26, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
Firstly, I am not a 'public transport expert'. Public transit may have become the thing I do here and am known for nowadays, but {{Rint}} is moreso something I got myself involved in and cannot step down from (not that I want to either). RINT, however, was never meant for buses. The template, of which the full name is Rail-interchange, was, as the name somewhat implies, meant to index lines of guided public transport, so metros, commuter rail, light railways, trams and trolleybuses. In all fairness, I don't oppose adding bus lines to the template, but I wouldn't encourage it either. As to how to solve this situation, I'd like to refer to Dutch cities, which are documented here. The country has 15 railway operators, the 13 trolleybus lines of Arnhem, Amsterdam's 15 tramlines and 5 metro lines, Rotterdam's 11 tramlines and 5 metro lines, The Hague's 12 tram lines and Utrecht's two tram lines. These of course are not the only transport options there, they just have been reduced to that. Arnhem especially, has its trolleybus network fully integrated into the bus network. Nonetheless, the trolley network is the backbone of the city's public transport, as are the trams for Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague. Utrecht's network is more recent and consists of two lines at this time, but I believe more are to come. Either way, taking the Netherlands as an example, I would advise to pick out the ~10 lines that make up the backbone of Brussel's public bus transport, which, if not documented, can be made up by the most travelled lines. Adding night services are something I'd advise against for the simple reason that they're most always the same route as the 'day service' or two 'day services' connected to each other. You can add some information in the tooltip/mouseover text of the RINT listing (for illustration:  2  ), where you can say something like MIVB line (N)10 (start - terminus). I believe the limit for stations that can be added is 10, but Andree knows the exact limit ({{station}} is his project, after all). Using that as the maximum that can be added out of four metro lines, two premetro lines, 17 tram lines and ~10 (night)bus lines will clean up a whole lot and reduce the 'colouring book effect' in the process.
The busses may of course also be entirely omitted from the template, but from what I understand, buses in Brussels run alongside the tram network, making them highly travelled and a good alternative, whereas buses in the Netherlands are more often connections between towns or the outer rings of a large city. Quite obviously, I am not that well-known in Brussels, seen as how I have been there at most once when I was too young to remember. I think it's mostly up to you to bite the bullet here, but reducing the amount of buses listed will help a lot. From a glance, lines 12-21 and 27 seem to be the backbone, connecting to either intercity train stations or major airports. This would leave us with eight instead of 61 lines, which will definitely help a great deal. Again, trams and (pre)metro are the lines RINT is meant for, so I'd advise against removing any of those.
-- Wauteurz (talk) 09:00, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Wauteurz, these are valuable insights! The situation in Brussels indeed appears to be different form the one in the Dutch cities because here bus lines are an integral part of the public transport network rather than a transport medium complementary to rail, as is the case in the Netherlands. So we're obliged to have bus lines included in Brussels since some of the most important attractions cannot be reached by train, metro or tram alone. ArticCynda (talk) 14:47, 20 June 2018 (UTC)

Reminder:Brussels is bilingual[edit]

Please remember that any and all addresses and alt names should be given in both French and Dutch, not just one or the other. We have several commented-out reminders, including one right at the top, but maybe they should be at the top of every section that has listings. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 19:31, 18 June 2018 (UTC)

@ArticCynda: Please take note of this. You're currently only using Dutch. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:12, 19 June 2018 (UTC)

You have a valid point, ThunderingTyphoons!, although we should think of a clean/proper way to do it rather than throwing in all names in all languages — that just makes it even more confusing, in my opinion. Experience with other bilingual cities/capitals (like Jerusalem being Arabic and Hebrew, and Sarajevo being Bosnian and Serb) taught us that throwing in too many localized names is contraproductive for the readability of the article. Most see/do attractions have a Wikidata link anyways, which can provide names for attractions in other languages if necessary.
If you have suggestions for a good and transparent bilingual solution, then please make a few proposals (like we did for the MIVB template, and add bilinguality to the roadmap. I don't think it should be a priority at this point though; it would anyway be a lot of work considering the very large number (over 100) of See/Do attractions. ArticCynda (talk) 20:25, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
I think mainly it's the addresses that are important, since apparently the street signs are bilingual. I don't think having names in two languages instead of one is really going to make the article unreadable. Anyway, we don't necessarily have to convert all the existing listings; I was mainly getting your attention while you were adding new listings with only the Dutch. Although I favour bilingualism in the addresses, using only Dutch seems especially wrong in a majority Francophone city. Any new listings should at the very least have a bilingual address. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:16, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
I do think the quality of the article was less pleasant to read, more confusing, and less streamlined when it had billingual addresses mixed in with regular ones. Regardless, as I mentioned, other billingual capital cities such as Sarajevo, Jerusalem, and Nicosia also have bilingual street signs but no bilingual WV articles (according to Google Images, at least), so I see few reasons to implement such a system for Brussels if that is the dominant argument. ArticCynda (talk) 22:39, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
The aim should be 100% bilingual addresses. There is already the confusing hotchpotch you're warning about, with some addresses bilingual, some just in Dutch and some in French. That is confusing, not a consistent standard where addresses are always in given in both languages. Submitting listings with monolingual Dutch addresses adds to this confusion rather than alleviates it. The solution to this, as I see it, is bilingual addresses as standard. Once that is complete, I would recommend doing the same for the names of some attractions, where appropriate. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 22:46, 19 June 2018 (UTC)
I disagree that 100% bilinguality should be aimed for, because it clutters the article (making it less pleasant to read), and it is ultimately unnecessary. For instance, the OSM router will guide travelers to the correct address regardless whether the Dutch or French address is typed in, and the same is true for taxis. If travelers wish to receive mail then also either address is sufficient: I occasionally send stuff to a friend in Brussels, only write the Dutch address on the package, and it always gets delivered. Hence, there are few practical incentives to use bilingual addresses in a travel guide, and Wikivoyage doesn't aim to be a translation dictionary anyway.
As for your second point, names of attractions should be in English only, i.e. the name that an English speaking visitor would use to refer to the attraction in a conversation with their peers. The local name can optionally be mentioned as alt, see Helsinki/Central for a good example. In the interest of a clear article, I would strongly advise to also keep the local name short.
If you really want to have double addresses in the article, then a non-cluttering solution needs to be worked out for it. What do you think of a tooltip system similar to public transport (which displays the type of vehicle upon mouse over), where hovering over the Dutch address would display the French equivalent? I'm not a programmer, but I would think it can't be too hard for someone with the right skills to write such a template. It can then also be used in the bilingual cities mentioned above without affecting their readability at all. ArticCynda (talk) 08:57, 20 June 2018 (UTC)
I agree with ArticCynda on this one, it's a great article so let's keep is streamlined. 46.233.77.17 17:39, 21 June 2018 (UTC)
Sorry for the delay in responding. I would be happy to support the idea of a hover-over template for bilingual cities, especially when one of the languages is not English, but someone actually creating it would be the challenge. However, the point that bilingual addresses may not be necessary is taken. One final question, is it definitely the case that every street name sign / public transport stop in Brussels is bilingual? Just that if we use a Dutch address and the street sign is only in French, that would cause problems when navigating without technology or local knowledge.
By the way, I was only ever talking about using the local names in the 'alt' section. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 08:08, 22 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, the official point of view of the government is that every street name sign and public transport stop should be indicated bilingually. So if street name signs are present, they're always bilingual. All street names are also marked on OSM with their Dutch and French names, and so are public transport stops. For example, searching "Kapelaansstraat 8 brussels" on OSM points directly to the Beguinage Museum, as expected, despite the street name only being provided in Dutch. A few addresses are still missing from OSM, I noticed, so they'll have to be added to the map.
It is important to point out, however, that navigating through Brussels without technology or local knowledge is nearly impossible. Street name signs in Brussels are often missing, awkwardly placed, or vanalized to the point of being unreadable (and the same is true for most of Belgium, actually, see [1]). I've visited Brussels a few times and would dare to say I know the city fairly well, and it's even for the most adventurous traveller too much of a challenge to try to find addresses without a street atlas or technological aids. This is particularly true for POIs outside the Pentagon. In my experience, the only realistic ways to get around are with a handheld navigator such as OSM (or a printed map) if you're on a bike or by foot, or to get at least close enough with public transport (hence why I did the effort of putting in all metro, tram and bus lines in the city). ArticCynda (talk) 12:42, 22 June 2018 (UTC)

Districts again[edit]

Quite a lot of the districts redlink and judging by the map, maybe some of the proposed districts should be merged... Hobbitschuster (talk) 20:55, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Or plunge forward, create the missing district articles, and fill in the contents? ArticCynda (talk) 22:03, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

District called "Ghetto"?[edit]

SERIOUSLY? Unless this is the official name of the neighborhood, we should not use such a name. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:11, 18 July 2018 (UTC) @ArticCynda: and @SelfieCity: can we please debate the (non)appropriateness of the "ghetto" moniker here and not in the section below? The topic is derailed already as is. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:10, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

I'm open to debate of course, but most of the clues/evidence appear to support SelfieCitys point of view. Youtube is full of reports like this one independent from mass media, which are quite convincing to me. So unless the situation would have improved drastically over the course of the last 2 years, the term ghetto seems fairly accurate. That Youtube video also illustrates that the ghetto district is decisively not a good place for tourists with cameras to hang out, by the way. ArticCynda (talk) 23:23, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: and @ArticCynda: actually, I don't think the point of view I expressed here was ever that we should call the region a ghetto and definitely not that we should blame it on the (immigrant) residents of the area. I just said that I think we should perhaps take that overview a little more seriously than we had before.
At the same time, a travel guide that doesn't warn travelers that they're entering a ghetto is a poor travel guide. What if, because we didn't warn travelers, they went to this area and got a camera stolen or even were killed? So I think we ought to not put too much emphasis on the religion of those who live in the area and just make clear that its dangerous. We definitely don't want to use terms like "infested with Muslim terrorists" when the number of terrorists in this fairly high-population district is probably, judging from previous terror attacks, a few hundred at most. At most, we should say it has a substantial immigrant population, which is probably true. Beyond that I don't think we should blame the immigrants for the crime, in the same way we don't go around and blame any other political group for a particular crime. Selfie City (talk) 23:34, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Warning people of actual dangers is fine. Calling a spade a spade is fine. I think some of our guides don't mention racist violence enough, but that's beside the point. But calling a certain part of the city a "ghetto" unless we are talking about Venice where the term was first developed or we are talking about particularly nasty bits of history should simply not be done, period. And there is no need for it, as apparently "Mollenbeek" (or something) by itself arouses enough "Oh my god, what a horrible place" reactions.... Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:38, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Hobbitschuster, I think you've got a point there about the word "ghetto", which I think is really an Italian word and I would assume originally referred to groups like the Mafia, not Islam. For the Mollenbeek district, I think the words "dangerous at night" are probably the best description. Selfie City (talk) 23:48, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
This is the "original ghetto"... And it has nothing to do with Mafia or Islam and everything to do with the sad tradition of forcing people to live in a certain place and nowhere else. Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:51, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I never knew that, but anyway the point is that "Ghetto" isn't the appropriate name/description for this Brussels district, especially as the name of it (see the recent comment in the section below). Let's find the district's name, for example — a city name, and then mention any dangers separately. It must be terrible to live in a city with a proper name or well-known nickname, and then go on Wikivoyage or Wikipedia one day and suddenly discover that they actually use the name "Ghetto" in place of the city. Selfie City (talk) 01:08, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

On the contrary, referring to it as "ghetto" is the correct term in this context, with WP defining it as "a part of a city in which members of a minority group live, typically as a result of social, legal, or economic pressure". In other words, the high crime rates aren't even a requirement in order for it to be referred to as a ghetto (but it fits the common connotation associated with it). So why not call it by what it is, and what the media and locals also call it? This seems a classic example where the duck test applies. ArticCynda (talk) 16:42, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Are you being serious right now? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:00, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Absolutely. If it complies to the definition of a ghetto, looks like a ghetto, and is as dangerous as a ghetto, then just call it a ghetto rather than trying to find euphemisms for the sake of misplaced political correctness.
I do follow your reasoning, though, so could we reach a compromise by renaming the district to "Molenbeek Ghetto" rather than a generic ghetto? ArticCynda (talk) 09:48, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
I am all for telling things how they are; mention crime, terrorism, and immigrants in the context of Molenbeek. But calling anywhere in modern Europe a "ghetto" is going too far, and is neither fair nor accurate. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 10:09, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

I must say I do not agree with you reverting me and I quite frankly do not understand your strange obsession with calling the area a ghetto. You may be using that term in your private conversation, and even then I'd advise you to not to, but it absolutely has no place in a travel guide. Hobbitschuster (talk) 10:20, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

Yes, even if a place really is a ghetto we don't want to use such an insulting word as the name of a district. I have to agree with ThunderingTyphoons! and Hobbitschuster. If we go back to the original meaning of ghetto and what it means today, it's definitely not a compliment. And let's make clear that if we avoid naming a place "Ghetto" because it's insulting, that's not "political correctness". It's because naming a district "Ghetto" is insulting to the people of Brussels, especially for those who live in/around Molenbeek who are not criminals, terrorists, etc. Calling half of Brussels a ghetto and in the other half talking casually about blowing up the EU buildings just isn't right for a travel guide that is supposed to be fair and never straying too far from neutrality. Let's not forget what a strong word ghetto is, whether you're referring to the Antisemitism of historic Venice or modern-day cities. Selfie City (talk) 16:58, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: edit was reverted to keep the status quo as long as the discussion is ongoing. Wait for a consensus to be reached before applying changes. ArticCynda (talk) 17:06, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
I think we have consensus now, since consensus isn't everyone but it's the general agreement — which has quickly developed. Selfie City (talk) 17:13, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Yes, and all the word makes me think of is the Holocaust. It's completely inappropriate to seriously describe people's (some of whom may be readers) home in that way. ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:15, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
I furthermore propose the addition of that term to WV:Words to avoid with the caveat when talking about history. Hobbitschuster (talk) 17:27, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
Actually, Hobbitschuster, I don't think we should use it at all — if somewhere has dangerous crime problems, there are better ways to describe it than "it's a ghetto". I think we don't need to have a history–related mention — let's keep words like "ghetto" out of Wikivoyage altogether. Also, let's keep in mind what the rest of the description about this "ghetto" says. I don't think it's just using the term ghetto that is a problem — it's also the language that is being used in the description about Molenbeek, such as using words like "infested".Selfie City (talk) 18:26, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
There are legitimate uses like when talking about the history of Jews in Venice or when talking about the Shoah. But only in those very limited historical contexts. That was what I meant. Apparently to many English speakers the immediate connection between "Ghetto" and "place where Jews are forced to live" is not as strong as it is to me. Of course I know of the subsequent meaning "any ethnically homogeneous, run down and dangerous neighborhood, often used pejoratively and derisively", but I rarely use it or hear others use it. Except, strangely, sometimes people referring to their own neighborhoods among ingroup settings. Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:29, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Sorry, Hobbitschuster, I misunderstood your comment. I thought you were saying the opposite of what you really were saying. Selfie City (talk) 18:40, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

And yes, in the US the term "ghetto" is quite well-known for being a dangerous area, while the historical meaning of the world is practically unknown. I'm sure, however, in a country as big as America this depends a lot on what people you are talking about. Selfie City (talk) 18:52, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
And the Molenbeek area is exactly that, a well-known dangerous area'. So what's the problem using the word in that context, if everyone understands what it means and which dangers it implies? ArticCynda (talk) 09:09, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
You just can't let it go, can you? Hobbitschuster (talk) 11:44, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Whether you like the word or not doesn't change its meaning/definition, nor where it can be linguistically correctly applied. If the district is a ghetto by definition, then we should simply call it a ghetto. ArticCynda (talk) 12:08, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Who gets to decide what is and is not a ghetto? Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:14, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: The government's statistics report 90% of Molenbeek inhabitants are immigrants of which 1/3 does not have Belgian nationality. By definition, such a large concentration of (in this case economic) immigrants makes the district a ghetto. Why is that so hard to follow for you? ArticCynda (talk) 18:42, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
Would you say the same about an expat district in Saudi Arabia filled almost exclusively with rich westerners? Would that be a "ghetto"? Why, why not? Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:44, 23 July 2018 (UTC)
What is so hard about just saying "high immigrant population, bad crime rate, history of terrorists"? Why are you so keen to use the word "ghetto", when instead of being vague (it has several different definitions, open to interpretation) and insulting (for the reasons which have been stated already), you can be specific, accurate and non-controversial?
Hobbit, I think you'll find rich westerners aren't classed as "immigrants", no matter where they settle. They have the unique appellation of "expat" and the uniquely privileged position of not having to change their lifestyle or language to "integrate" into the local population, and they certainly don't live in ghettos, just gated communities with security guards and high fences... --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 18:51, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

Brussels districts, several important things[edit]

Swept in from the Pub

First of all, the majority of the districts mentioned under Brussels#Districts redlink. Second of all, there is the extremely problematic district name "Ghetto", which I think should not be used unless that is in fact the official name or it has a historic justification (and even then, there is the question of whether to invoke said link). Third of all the district articles that do exist lack the rapid transit lines in the dynamic maps. I was going to fix that last one but I could not find the Wikidata thingy to put into the mapshapes template. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:14, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

User ArticCynda has set up a great map for Brussels recently. The districts on the map should be used instead of the ones in the article. This seems to be work in progress currently. "Ghetto" is a no-go for sure. The district named "Uccle" is also funny: "inhabited by those with more money than brains." Smells like vandalism. --Renek78 (talk) 21:19, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, and check out the description that was written about this district called "Ghetto":
"Residential area with a predominantly immigrant population, and internationally best known for its municipality Molenbeek as hatchery of the Islamic terrorists responsible for the Charlie Hebdo Paris terror attack, and the bombing of the Brussels metro and airport in 2016. Once playing an important commercial role in the city, the area is now infested with muslim terrorists, and a refuge for criminals of all trades. It is of little interest to the average traveler, but unfortunately needs to be traversed to get to other districts. Do not venture into the ghetto alone, and never go here at night!"
That description should be changed from "population" onwards so it doesn't have assumptions and opinions that can't be proven. Selfie City (talk) 21:31, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
So I did some research about the demographics of Brussels, and it's true that it has a pretty high Muslim population. But saying these are terrorists is getting really opinionated and could absolutely be considered stereotyping. Look at it this way: if "Ghetto" was 100% Muslim, and 10% of those were terrorists (which isn't the case), there are still 90% who aren't terrorists, so is it really "infested with" them?
And then saying "a refuge for criminals of all trades." Seriously? If there are danger-related concerns, describe them in the stay safe section, but don't just turn people against the area, unless it's really as dangerous as the description says. Selfie City (talk) 21:37, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Virtually no place in Europe is even as "bad" as the "worst" parts of several US cities. I think this was just one of the very opinionated "EVUL MUZZLIMZZ DESTOYIN' US" editors we get from time to time who want to insert stuff like "CRIMINAL GANGS OVERRUNNING TOWN!!!!!!" into numerous European destination guides. I think we should be more careful to catch stuff like that. Hobbitschuster (talk) 21:51, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
@Hobbitschuster: as you're probably aware from the districtification roadmap, districtification for Brussels has just started, which is why most of the districts are still redlinks. Creating the corresponding articles and migrating listings is more helpful to resolve the problem than complaining about it, though.
@Renek78: thanks for the appreciation for the ongoing efforts! ArticCynda (talk) 21:58, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Well judging by the map I am not sure all the district borders do the best possible job in assembling a sufficient number of POIs per district. Maybe the number of districts is too high? And surely the "Ghetto" thing is some sort of very misplaced joke, isn't it? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:00, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I think the Ghetto section needs to change. But just take a look at this search about the topic and see all the headlines. I think there could be a little more to that description, although of course it's going too far. Selfie City (talk) 22:08, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Some people would call certain parts of Dresden a "ghetto" (albeit one with scarcely any immigrants), but we shouldn't. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:16, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
I've long held the opinion that district borders should be defined based on the personality of the district (dominant land use, look and feel, historic significance, ...) and not just based on their number or area. A predominantly industrial district of course doesn't have much listings, but that doesn't mean it should be merged with an adjacent residential district, for instance.
As a side note, Hobbitschuster, your concerns on district definitions are rather poorly timed, voicing them after a map has been drawn up. You've had 5 years to voice your opinion on districtification since PrinceGloria first raised the issue... ArticCynda (talk) 22:17, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
First of all, there is no deadline. Second of all, merging or splitting should not be all that hard. I did precisely that in Berlin; I even moved around a small part of one district to another more than once. If there are geotags, it's just a matter of looking at the map. Have a look at what I did with Berlin/South, which was a "all of the rest" district due to lack of POIs for a while before I did something about it... Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:20, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
I find the comparison between Dresden and Brussels rather far fetched. Following Selfie Citys remark I checked sources, and pretty much all agree that the terrorists behind the Paris and Brussels bombings indeed originated from the Molenbeek ghetto. On the contrary for Dresden I can't find any evidence for such a link, so both cities are not comparable at all in my opinion. ArticCynda (talk) 22:27, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Murdered in Dresden. Originated in Dresden. No proven links to Dresden, but who knows?. Oh and don't forget this. I think it is folly from both sides to make it seem that either only "Muzzlimzz" are the only source of problems or that there is no problem whatsoever with radical islamism. There is however a huge issue with radical nationalism. And the Islamists on one hand and the fascists on the other are damn similar in many, many regards. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:40, 18 July 2018 (UTC) Anyway, that all is thoroughly besides the point. And quite frankly I also do not understand why this was swept here so fast, given that I put this pointer into the pub to alert more people than those who already have Brussels on their watch list (I, for one, do not) Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:55, 18 July 2018 (UTC)

Whether islamists or fascists are similar or not is not very relevant to a travel guide. I support Selfie Citys point of view: if it's a ghetto (and evidence seems to point in that direction) then we should call it a ghetto to warn the traveler appropriately. Our primary objective should be to inform and/or warn the traveler, even if the Brussels ministery of tourism would undoubtely rather have all these articles removed from the Internet.
Meanwhile I've done further research and found these crime statistics from the Belgian federal police. It looks like the officially recorded incidents of violent robberies and pickpocketing (crimes relevant to the traveler) are indeed off the charts for Molenbeek. If you check the statistics for armed robberies in 2017, it's 10 times higher (that's 1000%) in Molenbeek than in the south (Watermaal), north east (Evere) or north west (Ganshoren) of Brussels. I'm not a mathematician, but that seems statistically significant. So combining the Google search results with crime statistics, it appears to me that the description of a crime infested ghetto is hardly an exaggeration. ArticCynda (talk) 23:01, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
The murder rate in the United States of America is ten times as high (actually more than that) as in Germany. And what exactly is the "just the facts, no opinion" definition of w:Ghetto? We can of course write paragraphs in the "stay safe" section, if we want to be particularly alarmist we might even add a huge red warning box but please don't call any neighborhood "ghetto" just because some media reports make it into "Lord of the Flies". Hobbitschuster (talk) 23:08, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
I think it's clear that we need to mention it's dangerous, whether or not we call it a ghetto. It seems like it's true that people shouldn't go into this area at night. What we need to avoid is pointing fingers at the Muslims as the cause of the crime. The terrorist attacks may well be Muslim-related, but I don't think there's any evidence that the Muslims cause the crime.
In the brief overview of the district provided in the Brussels article, let's just say that there's crime, the area should be avoided at night, give some more neutral/positive descriptions of this "Ghetto" and then maybe mention its immigrant population. We just need to avoid sounding like a nationalist's guide to Brussels and take a neutral point of view, neither praising nor blaming based on their religion. While normally we say that we should write lively descriptions, etc., I think in more sensitive, political-related issues like Islamic terrorism we should be careful about what we say since otherwise we turn Left and Right-wing readers away from the website. Selfie City (talk) 23:20, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Again, comparing crime rates in Germany with a developing country seems rather pointless since I'd expect no less than all developing countries having higher crime rates than Germany! I can't find the statistics right away, but I'd be curious to compare the German average crime rate with the one in Molenbeek. That should be a fair comparison, since both are developed countries and geographically in each others proximity. ArticCynda (talk) 23:31, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
Just a minute, ArticCynda. The US isn't a "developing" country. Selfie City (talk) 23:37, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
The US is actually a whole separate story, where we could go on blaming certain groups of people for certain issues and perhaps we would be accurate. But that's besides the point. I don't think we should blame environmentalists, fascists, right-wing groups, left-wing groups, Muslims, Christians, individual racial groups, or any individual groups on Wikivoyage. I think the fairest thing we can do is not blame anyone unless we're talking about somewhere like Afghanistan or Iraq. If we say the Muslims are at fault for this, we could loose readers, Wikivoyage writers, and be looked at as a Fascist/Extreme Right-wing organization. If we say Christians or Nationalists are at fault for anything in particular, we could also loose readers and Wikivoyage writers. We should probably warn readers about Islamic terrorism, but the original overview text about this "Ghetto" definitely doesn't do that in the correct way. Selfie City (talk) 23:44, 18 July 2018 (UTC)
It's one thing describing a district as a ghetto (which is already a strong claim) and another making the name of the district "Ghetto". Districts can change and get gentrified over a short space of time. And there are many cities/districts all over the world with higher crime rates that don't get tarnished the same brush since the districts are named after the district itself. Los Cabos, which redirects to Cabo San Lucas, has the world's highest murder rate as of 2017 and doesn't have a warning box or even a mention of murder and crime (stay safe only talks about dangerous waves and pickpockets). Anyone who sees the word Ghetto used in this way will associate the district not just with the worst in Belgium but among the worst on the planet. And of course there is a huge undercurrent of xenophobia with that label. Gizza (roam) 00:07, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Maybe one of us should plunge forward and add that information to Cabo San Lucas. Selfie City (talk) 01:10, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

YesDone. Selfie City (talk) 01:13, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
On a more serious note, I think we should replace the "Ghetto" information with something along the lines of this text:
[Name of district]: This is a residential area in the south of Belgium with a high immigrant population. Part of it, Molenbeek, is known for being the home of many of Brussels' terrorists, including those responsible for the two notable Islamic terrorist attacks in the city that have occurred. The district has in the past played an important commercial role in the city. Nowadays, however, it is best not to go into this district at night.
I'm not saying exactly this, necessarily, but something that doesn't sound as extreme as the current text. Selfie City (talk) 01:20, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
@SelfieCity: what makes you say the US is not a developing country? Its high income disparity, minimal social security, low average education quality, dependence on fossil fuels etc. are key indicators that its state of development is at least far lower than Western Europe, which was the point I tried to make: don't compare Germany to the US but to a country of similar development level (and thus similar crime level expectations). If the violent crime rate is 10x higher in the US than in most Brussels districts then that is probably normal, but if the average of Molenbeek itself is 10x higher than another Brussels district 2 km further away, then that says a lot about Molenbeek. ArticCynda (talk) 07:41, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I think it's totally rational to say that Germany and the US shouldn't be compared for other reasons than the one you suggested: like the population difference between these countries, their vastly different areas, different cultures, and the fact that Germany was divided for over 40 years, while the US has only been divided for a few short years of its existence that occurred way back in the 1860s. But I think the United States has fully developed as a country; you just have to remember that a country with as large a population as America is bound to have some poor people, uneducated people, etc., while a country like Germany, which has a completely different culture and economic climate, will not have so many poor people (but, due to its weaker emphasis on capitalism, not as many rich people either). So I think I agree with you in this respect, but for different reasons. Selfie City (talk) 15:55, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Oh, and found more descriptions where it feels like the lively travel writing was taken too far:
North-East: "A residential and commercial district, and home base of the NATO headquarters, making it the perfect target for tactical nukes. Don't forget to bring a flak jacket when visiting! Otherwise of relatively little interest to the average traveler." I think with these descriptions we're doing more to destroy Belgium's tourist industry than actually help people have a good vacation in Brussels. Selfie City (talk) 16:07, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Uccle: "Upscale residential district bordering the Sonian Forest to the south, and inhabited by those with more money than brains. The Louise quarter in the shadow of the Law Courts building is the most overpriced shopping area in the city.
Matonge: "Brussels banana republic, home to much of its African population, and thriving on hakuna matata and unemployment. Worth a visit for the distinct African vibe, the colorful outfits that go with it, and the many African specialties that can be purchased in this neighbourhood."
Centre: "The small medieval centre of Brussels, with at its heart the Grand Place, the most beautiful square in the world and  UNESCO World Heritage site. The centre is a pedestrian only area with small streets, and dotted with attractions and oblivious American tourists 'trying to do Europe'. You'll find ample opportunities to try waffles, Belgian beer or fries here."
Some lively travel writing is excellent, but I think this is going a little too far. Fortunately, the rest of the article, particularly Brussels#Stay safe, seems to not have any issues. Selfie City (talk) 16:07, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
Given this it doesn't seem inconceivable that somebody or more than one somebody has an agenda to make Brussels look bad. Why, I do not know, but "Brussels" is often understood to mean "the EU" in a similar fashion that "Washington DC" is understood to mean "the US federal government"... Maybe that's where the wind is blowing from, as we say in Germany. Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:02, 19 July 2018 (UTC)
I agree, there is a lot of nonsense in the Stay safe section and it probably should be rewritten. Updating/improving the Stay safe section has a lower priority than finishing the districtification though, so I suggest to continue the ongoing districtification efforts first. After pulling out all the listings from the main article, much (if not most) of it will need to be rewritten anyway.
As for the lively writing style and humor in the district summary, I think that's one of the better features of the article as it stands now. I've read through the content, and although most of it is very well written, the descriptions of many attractions seem to be a little dry. That's understandable because it's hard to write in a lively style about attractions like the European Commission, European Parliament, or the very long list of architectural sights in the city. The humorous/lively writing style in the summary and district overview offers a counter weight to that dryness, and in my opinion, the contributors to the article did a great effort to get it balanced. ArticCynda (talk) 10:03, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
Self-praise? :) --Renek78 (talk) 10:12, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
A compliment to all constructive contributors to the article so far, including you! ArticCynda (talk) 10:18, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
You know what I think, ArticCynda? You are a smart guy and wrote all those polemic sentences in the district overview to draw attention to the Brussels article. By getting this debate going many people are fixing and adding information and improving Brussels in no time. Am I right? Hopefully. Because a few of those sentences are definitely not acceptable. There should be no room for racism and prejudices on any wiki. --Renek78 (talk) 10:56, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Hobbitschuster, not totally sure if you knew this or not in your above comment, but the reason Brussels is associated with the EU is due to the fact that it is the capital city of the EU. Belgium isn't the most important country in the European Union, of course, but it's essentially the capital city of Western Europe when it comes to EU issues. That's of course all the more reason to make sure this article is a good one!

I'm looking back to see who added this information about the "Ghetto" and the original districts did not include anywhere called "Ghetto". Yes, it seems as though ArticCynda named the area "Ghetto". I say that now we should get the district descriptions/Ghetto name changed and we move on with the project of creating the article districts. Selfie City (talk) 17:11, 20 July 2018 (UTC)

If you look up the WP page on what is the EU's capital you'll get an article about many things, including Brussels, but it is not so straightforward. Basically, most but not all important EU decisions are usually made somewhere in the w:Blue Banana, just like most (but not all) important decisions in the US are usually taken in w:BosWash and sometimes on the w:Left Coast, which of course breeds resentment among w:Flyover country. Let's hope they don't deny overflight rights any time soon... Hobbitschuster (talk) 18:24, 20 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the compliment, Renek78, you're right, and looking at the attention the Brussels article has received over the course of the last week, and the considerable improvements that have been made, I would dare to say that the strategy was a success so far.
Now let's try to keep it up; districtification has mostly completed meanwhile, but all the involved articles still require a thorough clean-up. ArticCynda (talk) 15:18, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
I do hope that I'm misunderstanding this last comment - are you saying that you made highly controversial comments and edits only to attract the attention of editors (to the Brussels article)? Please keep in mind that travelers are actually reading and using this guide while it is edited. Let alone that editors have better things to do than cleaning up after others. However, if there is a misunderstanding on my side, a clarification would be great. Xsobev (talk) 08:55, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
Edits were not controversial at all, Xsobev, but some other WV editors interpreted them as such. And if that helps to draw editing efforts to the article, then I'm all in favor of them. If you trace the history of the article back, you'll see that nothing (in my opinion) even remotely controversial was ever written in the article or any of its districts. ArticCynda (talk) 10:46, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
So I did not misunderstand your comment. These edits are controversial, and I'm unpleasantly surprised that I have to repeat what was said before by many editors: calling a district a ghetto is disregarding the historic context, insulting residents, ... (see my summary here), making morbid jokes about "not getting out alive", or either blaming religion or an ethnic group for crimes committed by a few (such as "overrun by muslim immigrants", "mass immigration from north Africa turned many neighborhoods of this district into islamic ghettos"; example, example, example). As far as I'm concerned, I do not want to see these methods to attract attention any more at all. If you need help with an article on WV, then just ask for it. As a positive remark in that whole matter, I saw that you added a lot of listings and content to Brussels in the recent past, which is great. I would be far happier to see more of these kinds of edits, and none of the above mentioned ones. Xsobev (talk) 12:05, 27 July 2018 (UTC)
Like I said, to me these edits are not controversial at all, but I understand it might be controversial to other editors, an opinion I do respect. I personally enjoy some humor in a lively writing style for Wikivoyage (unlike Wikipedia where that's understandably inappropriate), but that's clearly a matter of preference. ArticCynda (talk) 12:39, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────Which Travel Guide makes jokes about people dying? If the "you won't get out alive" was an exaggeration, well, why write it? If it is true, well why the flippant tone? And sorry to say "they are not controversial to me" is sophistry. Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:21, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

Getting people to contribute to an article as important as this one doesn't require writing exaggerated descriptions and labeling districts; it means getting in touch with users and asking if they want to contribute. And I'm not actually keen on jokes that could be taken the wrong way for a travel guide that needs all the readers and contributors it can get. Let's always keep in mind that every edit published can be seen from anyone who has access to the internet, around the world. I agree with Xsobev's point about getting attention for article contributions: why would you want to write something you know isn't going to be popular with other contributors, just to get this article's districts added, when you (ArticCynda) know you can always come to us and ask us to improve the article and create the districts. This doesn't need to be political. Unfortunately, the word "controversial" is overused and makes this discussion sound more political than it needs to be, but what is true is that most Brussels residents would not be happy if they had been reading the Brussels and "Ghetto" articles only a short while ago.
On a related note, I'm not super keen on our attitude about "lively travel writing", and the Brussels edits are an example of where it can be problematic. The facts are that people either write without being lively, as they do in most cases, or they get too lively in their travel writing and could cause issues. Maybe our current policy of travel writing needs to be edited a little so we stick to reasonable travel descriptions. Selfie City (talk) 18:24, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
Although Wikivoyage:Plunge_forward#...But_don't_be_reckless! should really be enough. Selfie City (talk) 18:31, 30 July 2018 (UTC)
Well I am not sure in which culture "lively writing" includes flippant jokes about terrorism and whatnot. But nobody wants to read a dry, bureaucratic travel guide... Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:00, 31 July 2018 (UTC)
No, I don't mean that we should make the travel guide boring. The point is that some people use "lively writing" as an excuse for jokes about things that aren't to be joked about, especially on a travel guide. Selfie City (talk) 16:14, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Discussion continued at Talk:Brussels/International District

Pubs in France and Soho, London[edit]

The statement "Check the prices of food items before ordering, as you should when visiting pubs in France and Soho, London." in the eat section is unclear to me. What is so special about pubs in France and Soho, London? It would be great if someone could explain it, otherwise, the second part of the sentence doesn't make any sense and should be removed. Thanks, Xsobev (talk) 10:23, 26 July 2018 (UTC)

Doesn't make sense indeed, probably an artifact from long forgotten times. Let's remove it and rewrite the Eat section completely. ArticCynda (talk) 15:20, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Many comparisons of this type seem to crop up from an editor thinking his or her own background is also that of any possible reader. In most cases those editors are wrong. Hobbitschuster (talk) 15:58, 26 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation. I removed that part now. Xsobev (talk) 08:37, 27 July 2018 (UTC)

Crucial thing about single tickets (which should be included on the main page when answered)[edit]

So I understand that single tickets are valid for one hour regardless of distance or number of transfers. That is largely the same in Berlin (as long as you stay inside the zones of validity), but there is one crucial difference: The two hour single ticket in Berlin is not valid for round trips (say, you go three stops to a place, notice it's closed; you'll need a new ticket to go back). Is the Brussels ticket valid for round trips within the one hour limit? Hobbitschuster (talk) 00:27, 28 July 2018 (UTC)

On STIB-MIVB (Buy > Single fares & multiple journeys) there is a "Return Ticket Jump" (which oddly costs twice as much as a single ticket, but comes with restrictions), so return trips might not be allowed by the "Single Ticket Jump". But this should be confirmed by someone with local knowledge.
On a related note: The geographical area where these tickets are valid is the following: "Geographical area: the MTB area, i.e. (i) the entire STIB network (except the Bourget-Brussels Airport section) with the possibility to change lines, (ii) the TEC and De Lijn urban networks in the Brussels-Capital Region and (iii) the SNCB rail network in the Brussels-Capital Region. So it seems that the first paragraph in Brussels#By_metro,_tram,_or_bus is outdated, and that tickets are valid in buses from other operators. Xsobev (talk) 08:12, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

Dangerous "Baltic states"[edit]

I see there has been a lot of back and forth editing on whether "Brussels is nowhere near as dangerous as certain cities in the Baltic states". I don't know who came up with this idea in the first place but it is complete nonsense. Neither Tallinn nor Riga or Vilnius or Kaunas or any other of the handful of cities in the Baltic states are particularly dangerous for the average tourist. If there is statistical evidence pointing to the contrary I would like to see it (and would probably be very surprised). Anyway, I vote for the removal of the passage. —The preceding comment was added by Maltatal (talkcontribs)

The question isn't whether Baltic states are "particularly dangerous for the average tourist". The only question is whether they are statistically less safe than Brussels, and you frankly don't know, so for you to further the edit war by removing that phrase while you "vote" for its removal is quite unhelpful. The way to be constructive is to challenge people to bring statistics to bear, not to edit war. Ikan Kekek (talk) 15:50, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
From reading the 'Stay safe' sections of the Baltic states article and of the region's three countries, there doesn't appear to be a particularly significant safety issue in those countries. Since our own guide doesn’t portray the Baltic states as dangerous, I would argue the opposite of Ikan, that the burden of proof is on the person who claimed they were comparably unsafe to begin with.
All in all, the comparison with far off regions of the world (Baltic, USA, LatAm) is not very helpful, and I think it would suffice to say that although Brussels is reasonably safe, it is less safe than the extremely safe European average. The exact risks can then be quantified, rather than relying on a bizarre system of comparison which requires the reader to know how safe other, irrelevant, parts of the world are. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 16:44, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
ThunderingTyphoons makes the case much more clearly than I did. As a three-year resident of Brussels I can honestly say that it is a considerably more dangerous place than the other major cities in the area. As a frequent traveler to Eastern Europe I can honestly say that there is nothing particularly dangerous about the Baltic states. Since the two anonymous edits apparently came from different people in Monaco and Poland I am apparently not the only one to note the bizarreness of the comparison. All in all, the whole partial sentence could be deleted. However, if the community considers it helpful I assume my most recent addition is as well. --Maltatal (talk) 17:15, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
I'd too argue that the Baltic states are somewhat less safe than on the Europe in general, though this is because there aren't really any places in Europe that on a global scale are seriously unsafe (except possibly the war zones in Eastern Ukraine?). Especially if you watch where you leave your car and what drinking establishments you go to you'll most likely be fine. ϒpsilon (talk) 18:59, 25 August 2018 (UTC)
To clarify, I don't have an opinion about this edit, except that while an edit war is occurring, the proper procedure is to discuss things here and come to a consensus about how to go forward, not to engage in the edit war, and that's why I provisionally restored the preexisting text. I will support any consensus that seems to be based on good statistics or empirical experience or both, but not on only one person's say-so. Ikan Kekek (talk) 00:06, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
To be precise there were 4 votes (3 anonymous + mine) against the edit since it was first introduced on 26 July by user Hobbitschuster with the explanation "Look up crime statistics if you don't believe it..." I assume he saw the latest Eurostat table on intentional homicide in the EU in 2016 and somehow thought this relevant for the article. As there are good reasons to oppose this view I would suggest to delete the whole subordinate clause "though ... Latin America" since as ThunderingTyphoons has pointed out it really does not add any relevance.--Maltatal (talk) 14:40, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
I think that would be problematic, because if all we're left with is "Brussels is increasingly dealing with the reputation of being a rather unsafe city by Western European standards", that makes it sound overly dangerous. How about "Brussels is increasingly dealing with the reputation of being a rather unsafe city by Western European standards, but the great majority of visits will be trouble-free if you take a few precautions", or some other kind of disclaimer? Ikan Kekek (talk) 16:43, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
As long as that is true, I can get behind that.--ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 17:18, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
Well phrased, I support your version. Based on my experience I would say it is true (except perhaps that the main official way of "increasingly dealing" with the bad reputation seems to be denial).--Maltatal (talk) 18:49, 26 August 2018 (UTC)
@TT: Ikan suggested it. You agreed. I agreed. Noone disagreed. If that does not constitute agreement please specify what does.--Maltatal (talk) 12:40, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
User:Ypsilon and User:Hobbitschuster don't appear to agree. Am I wrong? I want to change this as much as you, but we need to follow the correct procedure. --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 12:42, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
Alright, let's wait for their input then.--Maltatal (talk) 12:45, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
The Baltic states are not dangerous to the average traveler with common sense, though we need to remember that compared to Western Europe (let alone Singapore...) almost everywhere in the world is less safe. I completely agree with Ikan's text above. ϒpsilon (talk) 13:07, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
Now we're closer to a consensus. Herr Hobbit? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 13:20, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

Unsafe Baltic States indeed[edit]

This is what the original reference was about... Judge for yourself, whether the stats are "feyknoos". Hobbitschuster (talk) 06:59, 30 August 2018 (UTC)

What's "feyknoos"?
I'm not sure the homicide rates are particularly pertinent, as most people who are murdered are killed by someone close to them. Of course it happens, but people don't tend to get murdered by a stranger while on holiday. Do we have any comparable comparisons for other types of crime which are more likely to affect travellers? --ThunderingTyphoons! (talk) 09:20, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
Moreover, your map only classifies entire countries. The intentional homicide rate in Brussels was ca. 5/100k inhabitants in 2015 and ca. 4/100k in 2016 (7/100k if you include the victims of the terrorist attacks) according to this article and own calculations.--Maltatal (talk) 11:45, 30 August 2018 (UTC)
murder rate is an imperfect proxy but the only one with global applicability. It's easy to hide rapes or robberies or to define them away with statistics slight of hand. Murder, not so much... Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:02, 30 August 2018 (UTC)