Louvain la neuve != zanzibar

02 Jul 2008 | 265 words | belgium urbanism

Although the sign pictured below seems to suggest some kind of connection between a fast food store in Louvain la neuve and Zanzibar, i have so far failed to find one, which is unfortunate as this is about the most desolate place that you can imagine.

Catharina has called it a post-nuclear cityscape, and the brochure of the UCL mentions that the university was ‘implanted’ here in 1972, which is exactly how the city looks. According to wikipedia this is the result of inter Belgian strife in the 1906s:

Louvain-la-Neuve is a planned city in the municipality of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. To a great extent, it still lives following the rhythms of the university that is its raison d’être. However, with the recent construction of L’Esplanade shopping complex, the Aula Magna exhibition centre and auditorium, as well as a large cinema complex, it is beginning to grow beyond its academic roots. Louvain-la-Neuve is a product of the linguistic quarrels that took place in Belgium during the sixties. After Flemish claims of discrimination at the Catholic University of Leuven, the decision was made to split the institution into the Dutch language Katholieke Universiteit Leuven which remained in Leuven, and the Université Catholique de Louvain. The administration decided to create a new town to host the French-speaking university. The chosen site was situated 30 km southeast of Brussels, in the French-speaking part of Belgium.

Our host have mentioned that this actually confuses foreigners a great deal and there has been many a scholar who ended up in Leuven when he was supposed to be in Louvain la Neuve.