Help a European School to stay on the map!

*Update 15.05.2024 Neder-Over-Heembeek won’t be available in 2028 as originally planned, but in late 2030.*

Original article: Brussels staff with kids in European Schools lose sleep every time their kids’ school is threatened with closure or transfer. If you are one of them, please send the text below and share the action with others. If it’s not your school this time, it could well be next time! The European School of Evere is presented as a permanent solution in a temporary building.

While the political messages from Belgian authorities are supportive for the Evere school, the parents are concerned because of the lack of a written confirmation of this political will.

In fact, the only formal confirmation is the agreement by the Belgian Council of Ministers of 13/05/2022:

le Conseil des ministres a marqué son accord sur … la prolongation de l’école provisoire de Evere moyennant l’obtention d’un nouveau Permis d’urbanisme par la Région de Bruxelles-Capitale au-delà de la mise à disposition d’une cinquième école européenne”.

This wording could suggest that the Evere school is just temporary, and that after the 5th European School is established in Neder-Over-Heembeek in 2028, Evere would only remain if an urban permit is issued.

In fact, a new urban plan is being developed for the Evere area, without clearly taking into account the continuity of the school, which adds to the distress of parents in Evere and Woluwe, the two sites of European School Brussels II.

To be fair, the Belgian authorities have never formally questioned the continuity of Evere school. The concerns by the parents are justified, but it is still possible to achieve a solution acceptable for all parties. While there is no need for panic, it is better to be safe than sorry, so we invite you to help the Evere school to remain.

Generation 2004 supports the request by our colleagues whose children are schooled in Evere and invites you to reply to the Urban Plan for Evere, using the template message below (to be used as it is or to be adapted according to your own perceptions).

Your written remarks have to be signed and sent by 22/12/2023 either via email or via the dedicated form: Enquête publique pour le projet de Plan d’Aménagement Directeur “Défense”.

Our suggested reponse to the public survey on the Plan d’Aménagement Directeur (PAD) Défense:

 I, Brussels resident, and a parent of a pupil/pupils attending European Schools, request that the existing Brussels II European School Evere site, located on the site of the PAD Défense area, become a permanent site.

I also express my concern and formulate the requests below regarding the future of the Brussels II European School in the Evere site, which is located in the area covered by the Plan d’Aménagement Directeur (PAD) Défense currently undergoing a public survey.

It is important to recall that on 13 May 2022, the Belgian Council of Ministers took the decision to assign the Evere Site to the Brussels II European School Evere/Woluwe. The Board of Governors of the European Schools –  of which the Belgian government is part – built its long-term allocation of pupils and linguistic sections based this decision, as reflected in its Decisions of the Board of Governors concerning the guidelines for the 2024-2025 Policy on Enrolment in the Brussels European Schools.

However, the draft zoning plan submitted for public consultation considers the school only until 2027, with the possibility to extend it until 2037.

In addition, part of the current school building area (in particular the current school-bus arrival area) will be in conflict with the new zoning plan, namely one of the public accesses outlined in the plan (the “BHG: Stuctrurenrende openbare ruimte met bomen“), which might hamper the request to make the current school building permanent. 

It is also important to note that the area of the Evere site currently hosting the European School is not big enough to have adequate canteen, sports and leisure facilities for its planned full capacity of 1500 children.  It is therefore positive that the draft zoning plan contains multiple zones which could allow the construction of a permanent school of an equal size or bigger than the current school. 

 In the view of the above, I request that:

  1. the Belgian government deliver on its decision that the area will host a permanent Brussels II European school site as an integral part of the Brussels II European School Evere/Woluwe;
  2. the Belgian government allocate funding to and launch a construction project for a permanent Brussels II European school site in the PAD Défense area, with sufficient canteen/sports/leisure facilities, school bus parking , as well as an opening towards green surroundings; 
  3. the relevant authorities extend the permit of the current European school building until the permanent school in the PAD Défense area is ready for use;
  4. the relevant authorities ensure that the implementation of the new zoning plan does not impede the use of the current Brussels II European school Evere site building until the permanent European school in the PAD Defense area is ready for use, including by reserving enough space for school buses:
  5. the relevant authorities extend the Brussels II European School area to host enough canteen, sports and leisure facilities for 1500 children, and have a bridge/opening towards a green zone (for example at its rear face), until the permanent school in the PAD Défense area is ready for use. 

Of course, we will keep you posted on any developments and as always, we appreciate your feedback. 

If you appreciate our work, please consider becoming a member of Generation 2004. 

Leave a Reply