VUB and ULB commemorate founder Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen

VUB and ULB commemorate founder Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen

Theme of St-V 2021 is CLIMATE and REFUGEES

On Friday 19 November, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Université libre de Bruxelles honour their founder, Théodore Verhaegen, as they do every year. In doing so, the VUB-ULB university community expresses its loyalty to the spirit of the founders and its gratitude to all who have served it, even under difficult circumstances. It is also the moment when our students celebrate their university and their folkloric rituals, with a critical look at a particular theme.

This year, due to the pandemic, it will take place in a safe manner at a party village in the centre of the city.


The official commemorations will take place from 8.00 to 13.45. As always, students will honour those who have contributed to building the two universities’ identities.

From 12.00 to 16.45, the students will gather at the party village on the Grote Zavel, consisting of stalls for the various student circles decorated in a traditional way, with satirical frescos of the students.

VUB rector Caroline Pauwels: “This St-V is very special. It’s not just that our students can finally go back into the city and celebrate with each other and with the city. Getting to know each other, getting to know the city they are studying in, is so important. And the themes the students have chosen this year could not be more topical. Our students show that they are true possibilists, hopeful without being naive and with a strong willingness to make an effort for this world. That makes me particularly proud. Vive St-V!”

Mayor of the City of Brussels Philippe Close: “Brussels is particularly moved this year that students can celebrate the traditional St-V together on 19 November. With the graduation ceremony on the Grote Markt last month, the ties between Brussels and its two universities have never been stronger. I wish everyone a happy St-V day.”

For Annemie Schaus, rector of ULB, “this year’s St-V Day takes on a very special touch: on the one hand, it offers students the opportunity to come together and fraternise, whereas last year the pandemic prevented this; on the other hand, it brings the university community together around strong commitments that reflect the image of what ULB is: free, critical, vigilant and rebellious!”

Climate and refugees

This year, the student organisations Association des Cercles Étudiants (ACE) and the Brussels Studentengenootschap (BSG) have chosen the theme “Free to destroy but not to welcome. Emissions allowed, limits set”. The students’ aim is to draw attention to the problems of global warming and refugees.

They point out: “We are in a critical situation with regard to our environment. In a few years’ time, a significant part of the world’s population will no longer be able to survive in their native areas. And yet we humans live in total contempt for this earth. And yet we refuse to take in refugees, regardless of the cause of their flight.”

Sint-Verhaegen included in Brussels cultural heritage since 2019

Since 2019, Saint Verhaegen has been part of the Brussels-Capital Region’s inventory of intangible cultural heritage. It received this recognition for its contribution to the “multifaceted, independent and rebellious character of the city, as well as to its identity”. This recognition also shows that the event is much more than a parade in which more than 7,000 people take part every year. It is above all a celebration of freedom. Through speeches and banners, the participants call for freedom of research, education, thought and expression.


Press contacts

VUB: Matthias Molineaux, vice-president, BSG, 0478 63 95 02

ULB: Clara Michel, external vice-president, ACE, 0470 47 49 41, Brice Prince, ACE, 0471 84 31 23

City of Brussels: Wafaa Hammich, spokesperson for the mayor of Brussels, 0484 87 06 61

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Vrije Universiteit Brussel is an internationally oriented university in Brussels, the heart of Europe. By providing excellent research and education on a human scale, VUB wants to make an active and committed contribution to a better society.

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The Vrije Universiteit Brussel assumes its scientific and social responsibility with love and decisiveness. That’s why VUB launched the platform De Wereld Heeft Je Nodig – The World Needs You, which brings together ideas, actions and projects based on six Ps. The first P stands for People, because that’s what it’s all about: giving people equal opportunities, prosperity, welfare, respect. Peace is about fighting injustice, big and small, in the world. Prosperity combats poverty and inequality. Planet stands for actions on biodiversity, climate, air quality, animal rights... With Partnership, VUB is looking for joint actions to make the world a better place. The sixth and last P is for Poincaré, the French philosopher Henri Poincaré, from whom VUB derives its motto that thinking should submit to nothing except the facts themselves. VUB is an ‘urban engaged university’, strongly anchored in Brussels and Europe and working according to the principles of free research.


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