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Home » Whose Brussels? Whose voice? Democratic participation in the capital of Europe

Whose Brussels? Whose voice? Democratic participation in the capital of Europe

On Sunday 2 July 2023, we joined the final day of the Brussels2030 Summer Assembly to lead a workshop inspired by the vision and results of Brussels Voice.

The interactive session gathered Belgians and non-Belgians to explore what it means to live in the hyper-diverse capital of Europe. We started with a series of exercises to reflect on the varied identities and challenges of the different groups who call Brussels home. Which labels and experiences can be shared by Belgians and non-Belgians? Which distinguish International Brusselers from the rest of the popuation? And which make International Brusselers different from each other?

With those ideas in our minds, we then examined some of the proposals from the Manifesto of the International Brusseler, asking ourselved who was in the room when they were drafted – and who was not. This served as springboard to a broader debate about the importance of genuinely inclusive diversity in policy discussions and democratic participation projects.


Finally, we took some time to explore whether Brussels’ unique status as the capital of Europe could offer opportunities to unite our population. Ideas included cultural celebrations to showcase the diversity of the city and local outposts or events to bring Europe to all the areas of the Region.

All in all, this workshop was a precious opportunity to step back from detailed policy work and look at the bigger context: why does Brussels Voice exist, and for whom? It offered lots of food for thought for the Brussels Voice team, and  was hopefully an enriching experience for the participants!