Brussels renames the Leopold II Tunnel to the Annie Corde Tunnel, named after a well-known singer and comedian in French-speaking Belgium.
In the coming days and weeks, many Flemish travelers may wonder who Annie Corde is. After a competition over who could give the new name to the Leopold II tunnel, the traffic hub connecting Koekelberg Church to downtown Brussels, it emerged as the biggest winner.
The Brussels region decided in March of last year to rename the Leopold Tunnel 2. This happened before the death of George Floyd in the United States, revived the Black Lives Matter movement and sparked a debate about the colonial past.
The main reason for the name change lies elsewhere: The Minister of Mobility in Brussels, Ilke van den Brandt (Groen) at the time, gave the reason that only six percent of the streets and squares in Brussels had a female name, which is disproportionate to the role they play Women in our history.
This is why offering shortlisted eleven female names, Brussels residents can choose from. They include writer Margaret Urcinar, French scientist Marie Curie, US civil rights leader Rosa Parks, first president of the European Parliament, Simone Fell and Smira Adamou, who died in 1998 when five Belgian gendarmes expelled her as an asylum seeker. .
Five million records
She eventually became Annie Corde, a Belgian singer and actress who passed away last year. She recorded more than 600 songs, starred in musicals and seventeen films. It has sold over five million records, but is mainly known in French-speaking Belgium. The text on its Dutch Wikipedia page contains 2000 characters. The French language version is 22 times longer.
“Choosing Annie Corde’s name means a lot to me,” replied her cousin, Michelle Lebon-Corman. I see this as the choice of the people of Brussels to include the artist and her work in memory of the city in which she was born. This moves me a lot.
Annie Corde defeated Samira Adamu and Marie Curie, who finished second and third.
The large number of voters encourages us to take other initiatives to highlight more women in Brussels, but also for their contribution to Brussels, Belgian or international culture. “ We believe these are positive factors for promoting equality between women and men in public spaces, ” says Nawal Bin Hamou, Minister of State for Equal Opportunities in Brussels.