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Call for more Brussels streets to be named after women

09:45 04/03/2020

Only 6% of streets in Brussels that carry a person's name are women, according to new research by a feminist collective which is collecting suggestions for new names.

Sixty volunteers from Open Knowledge Belgium and the Noms Peut-Être collective trawled through every street name in the Brussels region to calculate the imbalance between men and women's names.

According to their research, 2,006 Brussels streets are named after men (coloured yellow on the map), 138 after women (in purple), and one after a transgender person (champion cyclist Willy De Bruyn).

With the exception of Avenue Louise, named after the Belgian princess, most of the major axes through the capital are named after significant men in history. The researchers found that most of the women's names were assigned to smaller roads.

A new website,, allows users to zoom in on a street and follow a link to Wikipedia to read more about the person behind the name.

Camille Wernaers, from Noms Peut-Être, said: "A street is a place where people live, meet and work. It is a place that will remain in the collective memory. It is a shame to forget the women who have done remarkable things."

She added: "We know that it is complicated to change the names of existing streets. This is what the municipalities explain to us. To work towards equality, we would like every new street to have a female name."

The collective is organising eight workshops in different Brussels neighbourhoods between now and the end of the year, to gather suggestions for new names. The first will be at the Maison des Femmes in Schaerbeek on 23 March.

The suggested names - and a biography for each woman - will be published at and sent to municipalities for their consideration.

Written by The Bulletin


Frank Lee

Many streets are named after politicians or generals. As women slowly get equal representation in government, business, and all areas of the public sphere, they are bound to also be recognized with more street names.
My favorite street names, though, are those with names of plants, animals, constellations, ancient gods, countries, and so on.

Mar 4, 2020 11:58
Frank Lee

I forgot to mention goddesses. How insensitive of me. Typical male...

Mar 4, 2020 15:50

In Etterbeek, most streets seem to be named after men who were killed in WWI, not only generals.

Mar 5, 2020 12:18