The funeral of Julie Van Espen took place at the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ten-Hemel-Opgenomen church in the Schilde commune at 10am on Saturday. Only friends and family were permitted to attend the actual ceremony, which was led by the bishop of Antwerp Johan Bonny. However, hundreds of people gathered on the square in front the church to pay their respects.
Julie Van Espen was killed while cycling to see friends in Antwerp at the beginning of May.
Several members of the victim’s family and some of her friends had already arrived at “Witte Kirk” in Schilde by 9am. Many were dressed in white with a hint of colour at the family’s request.
Hundreds of people were standing on the square in front of the church when the ceremony began. A sound system was set up to broadcast it to those outside.
Pupils from the victim’s former school Vita et Pax in Schoten walked there from their school. There were also members of the Gravenwezel football club, where Miss Van Espen played for a while. Everyone was able to write in the condolence book.
The family didn’t want any politicians at the ceremony. Journalists, cameramen and photographers were also asked to stay away. The family “wanted to pay our last respects to Julie in peace”.