Embedded in the chemo-dynamical properties of stellar populations in the inner Milky Way (MW), are clues to the formation history of our Galaxy. I will show how the chemo-dynamical properties of the inner MW, combined with tailored isolated N-body simulations of disc galaxies, lend support to a secular origin of the MW bulge - i.e. that it is a buckled bar, made up of the Milky Way's thin and thick discs. These models can explain various properties of stellar populations in the bulge, such as their morphology, kinematics and chemistry. I will also show recent results from state-of-the-art cosmological simulations which lend further support to this formation scenario of the inner Milky Way. Furthermore, I will show how the chemo-dynamical properties of the bulge in combination with cosmological simulations can help place constraints on the merger history of our Galaxy. Finally, I will discuss the effects of the bar on the disc of the Milky Way, and what we can learn about the bar itself from studying perturbations in the disc, such as those discovered in the recent Gaia DR2.
Followed by wine and cheese in Pupin 1402.