MIXITY Walk: Auderghem

Auderghem is a haven for expats who are looking for a bit of nature. A walk through Auderghem takes you back to a time of cloisters and abbeys, old villages and laundries in their hundreds.
 

GREEN AND URBAN

Auderghem is an elongated municipality extending between the late-19th century boulevards and the Forêt de Soignes/Zoniënwoud. It is a green municipality, which will be evident during this walk. But Auderghem is also a municipality with great contrasts. Except for forest and a lot of parks, it has crowded traffic axes, such as the E411, chaussée de Wavre/Waversesteenweg and boulevard du Souverain/ Vorstlaan. In between you will find charming residential districts, some with an intense community life and a diverse population. During the tour, we also hop across the border of Watermael- Boitsfort/Watermaal-Bosvoorde. There, you will find the garden suburbs Logis and Floréal, an architectural and urban development highlight of the interbellum. The need for housing during and after the First World Ware was given a very nice solution with it.

JAPANESE POPULATION

Of the 33,000 inhabitants, 28 percent is of foreign nationality. The majority of them originate from countries in the European Union. The French are represented the strongest by far, followed by the Japanese and then the Polish and Italians. The Japanese presence is partly owed to the Japanese school, that has been located in Auderghem for over 30 years. In that area (near metro station Beaulieu) you will also find several Japanese restaurants and stores. Other attractions for the expats are the many green areas in the vicinity of the European school and the metro.

LAUNDRY WOMEN AND EUROCRATS

Laundry women? Yes, in the 19th century, hundreds of family-run laundry facilities were active in Auderghem.’ Washing linen was their main activity. This had to do with the presence of streams and springs and the connection to the capital. The huge market, only 7 kilometers away, also stimulated the growth of mills, spinning mills, dyeing mills, breweries, glass makers, etc. The construction of modern roads and a railway accelerated the progress: the companies grew bigger, sometimes got industrial allures and required more workers. The population grew and the municipality grew richer. Over the course of the 20th century, the industry of the laundry facilities gradually disappeared; it made place for retailers (chaussée de Wavre/Waversesteenweg), office clerks (avenue Herrmann-Debrouxlaan) and clerks of the European Institutions (Beaulieu district).

ANCIENT DISTRICT

The name ‘Oudrenghem’ was first used in 1251, but given the suffix ‘-ghem’ its origin is probably much further back in history, in the Frankish era. The village was a rural settlement near the forest for centuries. There still are historic sites for you to admire, such as the great abbeys Val Duchesse/Hertoginnedal and Rouge- Cloître/Rood Klooster. But in most areas, time has not stood still. The construction of chaussée de Wavre/Waversesteenweg early 18th century, introduced economic development fairly early. And in the years 1960 and 1970, Auderghem resolutely opted for modern urban development.

CYCLIST MUNICIPALITY

In Eastern-Western direction, Auderghem is almost cut entirely in half by metro line 5, in Northern-Southern direction by tram line 94. Both paths cross at Herrmann-Debroux, the starting point of the walk. The municipality is also ideal for cycling. Most major traffic arteries (except for chaussée de Wavre/Waversesteenweg) have a cycling path and there are various cycling routes to further explore the many green areas. But – important note – observe the presence of cobblestones and in particular the sometimes-steep slopes on the flanks of vallée de la Woluwe/Woluwevallei. What is the best time to explore Auderghem? If you like flea markets, without a doubt early Sunday morning; you’ll be guaranteed to find one on the track. If you would rather eat at a restaurant, make sure to pick a Saturday. During the week is a possibility as well, but it will be very crowded at the big axes.

STARTING POINT: HERRMANN-DEBROUX (METRO LINE 5)