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Brussels square to be named after Brontë sisters

The basilica of Koekelberg. Credit: Belga

A public square in Brussels will be named after the Brontë sisters, three famous literary women from the 19th century.

Two of the sisters, Charlotte and Emily Brontë, came to Brussels in 1842 to study French. It was the only time the sisters went abroad, according to Helen MacEwan, author of ‘The Brontës in Brussels.’

On 1 July, councillors in Koekelberg, a municipality in North-West Brussels, voted to have a square at the end of Rue des Braves named ‘Place des Soeurs Brontë’ after the three sisters, paying tribute to them as “models of emancipation.”

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This recognition is part of the “feminisation” of Koekelberg’s street names, with seven other streets around the Simonis area to be renamed after women. A special commission was called to life for this purpose, which will take into account experts’ recommendations and well as those of the public.

“The Bronte square will be the first step in this initiative,” said MacEwan. “In Koekelberg, the sisters are thus set to be pioneers in the 21st Century as they were in the 19th,” she added.

Until now, the sisters’ only recognition in Brussels was a small plaque on the Bozar cultural venue, close to where Charlotte and Emily lived and studied French. The school in question has since been demolished.

The Place des Soeurs Brontë will feature a complex which includes a library.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times

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