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What is the Brussels Stock Exchange?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 17, 2024
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The Brussels Stock Exchange (BSE) is an institution that has survived several centuries. It is one of the major world stock exchanges for the European region. The Brussels Stock Exchange has now merged with other exchanges, but still occupies its traditional place in Brussels, Belgium.

Unlike some other market exchanges, the Brussels Stock Exchange was founded by a Napoleonic order, rather than a more gradual process. This happened around the beginning of the 19th century. The BSE quickly became a major regional center of commerce.

Located in the “Grand Square,” or Beursplein, the building that houses the Brussels Stock Exchange is part of what has become a UNESCO recognized historic site. The building is a major landmark to locals, and still houses the major operations of the BSE. The Brussels Exchange maintains various financial operations including large indexes like the BEL20, a collection of regional blue chip stocks.

During its history, the Brussels Stock Exchange was a place frequented by merchants and traders who would travel long distances to access regional “purses” in order to make transactions now regarded as somewhat primitive. Nowadays, many visit the Bourse simply to photograph and view its Neoclassical Palladian design as part of a routine tour of Brussels. The development of this European financial center shows how the general progress of global markets changes both the character of local institutions, and the role of national markets within a larger “geocapital” collaborative environment.

Around the beginning of the 21st century, about 200 years from its founding, the Brussels Stock Exchange merged with several other European exchanges to form what’s alternately called Euronext N.V. The Euronext Exchange group includes an exchange in Lisbon, as well as others in Paris and Amsterdam. All of these local financial institutions have become a collective powerhouse of European commerce with full trading and investing functionality including modern derivatives and other investment choices. World investors look to these modernized exchanges for a range of investing activities, including access to national stocks, international currency holdings, or other modern opportunities to pursue profit or yield. Those who are looking at institutions like the Brussels Stock Exchange from afar can use this knowledge to critically evaluate how aspects like regulation, access, and volume are handled in different areas of the world.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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