Brussels prosecutors say a Belgian bomb squad had found no explosives after a man who claimed to be carrying a bomb in his car was stopped by police in the district of Molenbeek.
He was detained after leading police on a chase, speeding through a red light, until police shot at the wheels of his car to slow him.
The number licence plates on the Citroen Picasso he was driving indicates the car is from Germany.
The suspect was unarmed and believed to be mentally unstable.
The area was cordoned off and there have been reports of at least two controlled explosions.
Molenbeek is known for being the home to the ISIL members who carried out the Paris attacks in 2015.