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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.