VUB and ULB celebrate birthday with powerful call for cooperation between communities

VUB and ULB celebrate birthday with powerful call for cooperation between communities

King Filip presents awards at unique Academic Opening with more than 7,000 attendees

Today VUB and ULB celebrate their 50th and 185th anniversaries respectively with a joint Academic Opening in the presence of His Majesty King Filip and more than 7,000 guests. The shared kick-off at Brussels’ Cinquantenaire Park is a first in the history of both universities. Rectors Caroline Pauwels (VUB) and Yvon Englert (ULB) have called for more cooperation between the communities at the session devoted to ‘free thinking without frontiers’. The official ceremony is followed by a festival with live music and food trucks.


VUB and ULB are opening their academic year together for the first time in half a century. They share a history that goes back 185 years, and this unique event has important symbolic value: it is a call for more intense cooperation and dialogue between all the communities in our country.

The festival is a high point in the collaboration between the universities of Brussels. The two institutions are working together on a variety of projects, such as the Learning & Innovation Center, AI Experience Center, the BRUFACE joint engineering course, the Interuniversity Institute for High Energies IIHE, the Interuniversity Institute of Bioinformatics IB², the football association’s knowledge centre, multilingual education for the city,...

The rectors have pledged to continue playing an active role in Brussels. The city is a ‘living lab’ for students, researchers, inhabitants of Brussels and the many Flemish and Walloon people who travel here every day for work.

Award ceremony by King Filip

At this opening of the academic year, His Majesty King Filip presented three prizes to students who have made a special contribution to cooperation and dialogue between communities. The first prize winners are law students Ellen Van Begin (VUB) and Louis Cornet (ULB), who participated in the language tandem VUB-ULB, in which students from different parts of the country improve their language skills together. Davide Militello (VUB) and Baptiste Conversano (ULB), representatives of the student associations, won for the contribution of their student circles to Saint-Vé and student life in Brussels. Six students from the VUB-ULB Executive Master in Conservation and Restoration of the Architectural, Urban and Landscape Heritage, represented by Melek Surgun and Thierry Henrard, are honoured for discovering unique building plans of the Palace of Justice of Brussels.

A birthday cake parade - 235 cakes in total - with the logos of VUB and ULB marked the end of the official ceremony.

Festival in Cinquantenaire Park

At the end of the festive opening, VUB and ULB are organising a real festival for the 7,000 guests, with music performances by Straz, Blu Samu, l’Or du Commun, DJ Fox Adam and Kara, among others.

Attachment: Text of the rectors’ speech

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