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Opinions in Brussels divided over plan to rename Boulevard Léopold II

BRUSSELS: illustration picture shows Boulevard Leopold II / Leopold II laan which runs to Koekelberg Basilica in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO HERWIG VERGULT)
05:59 26/10/2021

The Leopold II tunnel in Brussels will be renamed after Belgian actress and singer Annie Cordy after renovation works on the tunnel are completed. The decision to rename the tunnel was taken earlier this year, on 8 March – International Women's Day, after a public vote. Brussels mobility minister Elke Van den Brandt now wants to rename Boulevard Léopold II after Baroness Cordy. The mayor of Koekelberg, Ahmed Laaouej, is against the idea.

Van den Brandt’s idea, which is supported by her colleague Nawal Ben Hamou, is based on the reasoning that the road that passes through the newly named tunnel should bare the same name.

"The government is in favour of changing the name of the road after the tunnel's name change," confirmed a spokesperson for the mobility minister’s cabinet. "It's important to stay consistent. If we change the name of the tunnel, it seems logical to give the boulevard the same name."

Boulevard Léopold II runs from Sainctelette in Molenbeek to the basilica of Koekelberg. As yet, minister Van den Brandt has not received an official response from the two mayors involved despite both Catherine Moureaux, mayor of Molenbeek, and Koekleberg’s Ahmed Laaouej voicing their opinions publicly.

Moureaux says she is in favour of a name change but wants it to go to a public vote. "It is necessary that we get all the inhabitants of the municipality involved," a spokesperson for her cabinet said.

However, Ahmed Laaouej has taken a stronger stance. He is against the idea. "It's a very sensitive issue," he said. "If we implement that decision, it will undoubtedly divide the community of Koekelberg. I have to take that into account. My job is to bring the population together, not to divide it."

Written by Nick Amies



New people to Brussels might use the new name but the old name will stick with people who know it as it is now.

Oct 28, 2021 12:19