There is a special term for when a place name is representative of something other than the actual place itself but I can’t remember what it is.
For example: ‘Brussels’ may be used to refer to the European Union or ‘Washington’ to refer to the U.S. political establishment.
Does anyone know what this term would be?
It’s a metonym.
A word, name, or expression used as a substitute for something else with which it is closely associated. For example, Washington is a metonym for the US government.