Networking: Place du Luxembourg as an added value of Brussels
Networking is a key aspect for a successful professional life: when done well, not only it helps you land a job faster, but it also gives you a competitive edge throughout every stage of your career. If you are working in Brussels, then Place du Luxembourg – also known as ‘Plux’ – is the place to go for building up your own network.
Experts say that the most connected people are often the most successful, but not always making small-talk with strangers is at the top of our to-do list: it can be time-consuming, extremely draining and sometimes awkward. We must take into consideration though that networking is not only an exchange of information with others; networking is especially about establishing and nurturing long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with the people you meet. It also helps us develop and improve our skill set, stay on top of the latest trends, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective partners or clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that could foster our career development. Young professionals working in Brussels know all of this very well – and every Thursday they meet in Place du Luxembourg to discuss the latest EU topics over a drink or two.
Located in the European Quarter, right in front of the European Parliament, Plux is already a natural place of transit for whoever deals with the EU. Over the last decade though, as the power of the European institutions grew, so did the popularity of the square, to the point that it is now considered the ‘beating heart of EU Brussels’. The picturesque venue is lined with rows of cafes, bars and small restaurants, welcoming whoever deals with the European institutions: lobbyists, assistants to Members of the European Parliament, company executives, journalists, diplomats, and many more.
So, when is the best time to go to Place du Luxembourg? Surprisingly, on weekends the square is deserted, except for a few tourists. On a weeknight, however, it is bursting with life: as the working day draws to a close, Plux starts to fill with young professionals on the hunt for networking opportunities. Especially on a Thursday night it is hard to find a seat, not only because everyone takes advantage of cheap happy hour offers, but also because most of the parliamentary business takes place from Monday to Thursday, to allow MEPs time to travel to their constituencies for the weekend. Moreover, being multilingual here is considered an asset: with people from all 28 EU Member States working in the European institutions, different languages are spoken at every table.
Then, it should not come as a surprise that Place du Luxembourg is considered by many an added value of Brussels. Since it is a more informal and relaxed occasion for networking, it is easier not to be a ‘wall flower’ and actually socialise with other young professionals: conversation flows smoothly and you can introduce yourself to new people in many occasions – even when you are ordering a beer at the counter. Plux is a valuable resource especially for newcomers who have been in Brussels just for a few weeks, as it can help them lay the foundations for a successful network. Furthermore, in such occasions it is simpler to ask questions about occupation, goals and even education background: networking is all about meeting new people, and those people may have a wealth of information and expertise that could help in personal and professional growth.
To conclude, it is never too early to invest time and energy in building an effective network – and if you live in Brussels, there is no better place to go than Place du Luxembourg.