Pascal Verbeken / Pascal Verbeken – Brutopia

Pascal Verbeken – Brutopia

Pascal Verbeken – Brutopia

Read our sample translation of Brutopia

About the book

Brussels is the most contested city in Belgium and the European Union. The capital city for half a billion European citizens conjures up images of disrepair, poverty, chaos and bureaucracy. ‘It’s like a hell hole,’ Donald Trump declared. But Brussels is also the unsuspected breeding ground of utopias and urban experiments. Karl Marx wrote his Communist Manifesto there, Salafis are incubating the creation of a religious utopia and the European Union is developing the most ambitious political project since WWII. Moreover, Brussels has demonstrated itself to be a refuge for dissident revolutionaries and artistic iconoclasts like Charles Baudelaire, the greatest Brussels-hater of all time. Some dreams changed the world, others shattered on the city’s cobblestones. In Brutopia, Pascal Verbeken retraces the footsteps of the dream chasers. He explores European salons and slums, listens to thinkers, the homeless, prostitutes, political leaders and ambitious new arrivals. Verbeken superbly guides the reader through the history of Brussels dreams.

It was, above all, after the Second World War that it often teemed before my eyes, the city was changing at such a dizzying pace that I almost tumbled from my spire. Within a relatively short period, Brussels became a quilt of about a hundred and eighty nationalities. A centrifuge of globalization.

Brussels is not just one city, she is many cities, and for that reason so elusive, even to her residents. Step off the underground just a stop further, walk around a corner, and you have arrived in another world, in another time, in another language area. That writhes and rubs. In Brussels it is easier to feel lost than secure. And yet different communities have never once turned on each other with machine guns. Of all the miracles that have happened in this city, that is perhaps the most extraordinary.

About Tranzyt Antwerpia:

A dazzling meditation on Europe then and now. Important and heartrendingly beautiful. - De Correspondent


Pascal Verbeken (b. 1965) is an author and screenwriter. He wrote, among other works, Poor Wallonia, Grand Central Belgium, Tranzyt Antwerpia and tv-scripts such as 100 Years Ahead. His books made the shortlists for the ABN-AMRO Prize for Non-fiction and the VPRO Bob den Uyl Prize for Best Travel Book. Poor Wallonia won the M.J. Brusse Prize.

(c) Michiel Hendryckx

Additional book information

  • Cultural history
  • ISBN 9789403144306
  • Number of pages: 288
  • World rights: De Bezige Bij
  • Price: € 22,99
  • English sample available