The steeple at Brüsseler Platz, © Timo Klein

Brus­sels Square

Your go-to place for kiosk beer

The Brussels Square in the heart of the Belgian Quarter in one of the few places in Cologne with a certain charm and an atmosphere that makes you want to sit in the openair on a sunny evening with a beer in your hand. While in the afternoon, on a weekday, maybe two handfuls of people populate the square, on weekends in the summer, several hundreds go there. That makes Brussels Square the hottest nightlife open-air place in town, but it drives residents to madness. For many years now, they complain about the nocturnal noise. Attempts to mediate between the Ordnungsamt and party-happy revelers fail constantly. In the evenings, a fun spectacle can be watched as cleaning crews sweep away the night owls, just to watch them all return shortly thereafter.

The reason for this is not only the central location of the Brussels Square in the middle of the Belgian Quarter, although the many pubs around the Aachener Straße and the side streets, numerous theaters and clubs play a role. Above all, Brussels Square has been the hotspot for Cologne's music and art scene since the early 1990s. The editors of the music magazine "Spex" had their offices only a few streets away and started their long party nights with all their friends in Hallmackenreuther, nights that ended at the bar of of the Six Pack. And here in this area of the Brussels Square at the beginning of the 1990s, the "Sound of Cologne" was created. This sound turned the city in the 90s with labels like a-musik and kompakt, record shops like Groove Attack and kompakt (all in walking distance of the square) and his computer music without stars, without choruses, without hits into a world-famous mecca for electronic music.

Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars told how this scene evolved:

"At some point I shared a basement flat with Georg Odijk and Marcus Schmickler on Brüsseler Platz. Then we persuaded Georg to sort all the mail-order stuff in such a way on the shelves that we could open the door once or twice a week. Everything was sorted so that not only Georg but also others could find things, and twice a week we opened our door – and suddenly we had a record store. At the same time, there was the record store called Delirium. It’s a chain, like a kind of mini-techno franchise for Germany. And at some point, the guys there said: ‘We’re going to do our own thing. We’re going to call it Kompakt and turn it into our own store.’ That happened almost at the same time. And it was similar with Kompakt and Groove Attack."

Further information:
Brüsseler Platz, 50674 Cologne

Ulis Musikladen:

Bariton Live Music Club:


Historische Aufführungspraxis:

Zentrum für Alte Musik:

The atmosphere at Brüsseler Platz, © Ole Löding

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