After hours of intense operations, the man was found out to be a student of nuclear radiation at a university in Brussels. He was researching radiation and radioactivity in the city.
The man has been arrested and taken by the police for hearing.
The operation had resulted in the blockade of a large swathe of blocks, and the evacuation of several shops around Place de la Monnaie.
Special forces and the bomb disposal unit were also called in to assist the operation.
"The way he reacted was totally abnormal, which is why we had to use all these means," Christian De Coninck of Brussels police told Belgian broadcaster RTBF.
The incident came one day ahead of Belgium's National Day, with heightened security in Brussels in the wake of Nice attacks which killed at least 84 people.
Earlier this year, Brussels was struck by three coordinated suicide bombings, which killed at least 32 civilians.
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