The Brussels public transit operator STIB will rename 17 of its stops in the coming years after important women throughout history.
Seven will receive their new names this year, including two bus stations next month: one called Clémence Everard, after the first woman to graduate with a degree in medicine, surgery, and obstetrics in Belgium; and another named after Rosa Parks, an African-American woman who fought for civil rights.
Other names to make the list include Marie Curie – the physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity – and actress Audrey Hepburn who was born in Brussels and served as an ambassador for UNICEF.
Author Marguerite Duras, and Marie Depage, a nurse known for tending to the wounded in World War I, will also have their names featured on transport stops.
With seven changes being made this year, the remaining ten will take place in 2022 and 2023.
But for 8 March, which is International Women’s Rights Day, STIB has temporarily changed the names of ten metro stations for 24 hours.
“This is a way of paying tribute to women who have historically had little presence in Brussels’ public space,” says the transit authority.
The temporary names include climate activist Greta Thunberg, philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, along with Belgian women like Lucia de Brouckère, the first woman to teach higher education in the sciences in the country, or Sainte-Gudule, the patron saint of Brussels alongside Saint Michael.
Travelers on the metro today will be able to scan QR codes that direct them to more information about each woman.
Because changing the names of metro stations is quite difficult, the 17 permanent changes to come will be focused on bus and tram stops.
A full list of the changes can be found on STIB’s official website.