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Leopold II tunnel renamed after Belgian singer

Credit: Belga

The Leopold II tunnel in Brussels has been named the Annie Cordy tunnel after the recently deceased Belgian singer and actress received a fifth of the votes in a competition that allowed the public to vote on the name change.

In the month of February, around 30,700 people cast their votes to decide on the name change of the longest tunnel in Belgium (2.5 km long), choosing from a list of 15 women’s names, which aimed to equalise the gender ratio of streets named after people.

“This is a first, symbolic step towards a better balance in the naming of public spaces. And this list will also inspire us to rename other places and give women in Brussels the recognition they deserve,” said Elke Van den Brandt, Minister of Mobility.

Currently, 43% of the streets in Brussels bear the name of a person, of which only 6.1% are named after a woman, whilst 93.9% have taken the name of a man.

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On Monday, International Women’s Day, Bruxelles Mobilité announced the outcome of the renaming procedure, which aimed “to symbolically reinforce the place of women in the public space.”

The singer and actor from the Laeken area in Brussels, who died at the age of 92 at her home near Cannes in the south of France in September last year, recorded over 700 songs and appeared in musical comedies, films, TV series, and plays, as well as 10,000 live shows.

“It means a lot that the name Annie Cordy has been chosen,” her niece Michèle Lebon-Cooreman said. “I see this as the choice of the people of Brussels to include the artist and her work in the memory of the city where she was born.”

The renovation of the tunnel will be completed in the autumn of 2021 when the name change will be official and the signage will be adjusted.

Lauren Walker
The Brussels Times