Walks - Is this Molenbeek?

Old Molenbeek

Long before the terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, Old Molenbeek had a serious image problem. We would like to show you the other side of the story. Our story begins with the construction of the Charleroi Canal in 1829, which opened up a chasm between Brussels and Molenbeek. The supply of coal and iron ore led to unprecedented industrial development. Around 1900, the area nicknamed ‘Petit Manchester’ was attracting thousands of migrant workers from Flanders and Wallonia. When the industry began to move away from 1970 onwards, the recent migrants, many from Morocco, stayed behind in the old working-class districts. 

Things became more diverse after 2000, with other newcomers and young, often creative city dwellers crossing the Canal. Gentrification can be a blessing, but it can also be a curse. Social housing, neighbourhood projects and the construction of playgrounds and parks are needed to give this densely populated area some breathing space.

And also ...

An interesting supplement to the walk is a visit to the municipal museum Momuse, or the former bronze foundry La Fonderie, which is now a museum devoted to the area’s industrial past.

Practical information  

Departure: by the Canal (e.g. Comte de Flandre or Porte de Flandre metro station) or possibly Ribaucourt or Beekkant metro station

Finish: somewhere in the district

Prices and practical details