Search form

menu menu

Brussels municipality Molenbeek aims for city status

16:05 05/05/2024

The vibrant but maligned Brussels municipality of Molenbeek could become a city, if MP Ahmed Mouhssin (Ecolo) gets his way, reports RTBF.

According to Mouhssin, the title of city would be a real asset, both in terms of tourism and as a major competitor in the race to become one of the three European Capitals of Culture in 2030.

Belgium is in the process of nominating a city or area for the title of Capital of Culture. Its previous participation in the prestigious initiative was Mons in 2015.

The other countries selected to take part in 2030 are Cyprus and an European Free Trade Association/European Economic Area country, candidate country or potential candidate country of the European Union.

“All the other competing municipalities are cities. So I think that being a city would strengthen Molenbeek’s bid to compete with Ghent, Leuven, Kortrijk, Bruges, Namur and Liege,” says Mouhssin, a councillor for Saint-Josse since 2000.

He believes city status would help to enhance Molenbeek’s international image, which suffered due to its notoriety following the 2016 Brussels terror attacks as well as its high unemployment rate.

“I’m sure that it will help us to strengthen Molenbeek’s reputation. For example, I’d rather go on holiday to a city than to a commune, which is a very vague term. You also have to bear in mind that Molenbeek has a very long history and is now a very active economic centre.”

It is also a lively multicultural area with beautiful parks and the Scheutbos wood, impressive sporting facilities, including an Olympic swimming pool, football and tennis clubs and cultural facilities such as the MoMuse history museum, La Fonderie industrial museum, MIMA contemporary art museum and an active cultural centre.

Molenbeek boasts stunning architecture, from the Diongre and de Saulnier garden cities to imposing industrial sites like la Raffinerie (Charleroi Danses) and l’Espace Hôtelier Belle-Vue.

Other notable buildings are the Art Deco Saint Jean the Baptiste church and the Flemish Neo-renaissance Karreveld Castle, which hosts numerous cultural events and festivals.

It’s now up to the Brussels region to decide whether to grant Molenbeek this title. Meanwhile, the Belgian city to become one of the three designated European Capitals of Culture will be selected in 2025.

Photo: courtesy I like Molenbeek Face page


Written by Liz Newmark