Welcome to the home of R.S.C. Anderlecht, the most victorious Belgian football team in Europe. We are entering a commune also famous for its abattoirs and its marvellous parks.
Anderlecht occupies 17.74 square kilometers of land west of the Brussels-Capital Region. It is one of the most industrial yet greenest communes in Brussels. Factories and working class neighborhoods are most prominent in Cureghem and other areas east of Anderlecht. Green spaces, residential buildings, and shopping streets abound in the commune’s historic center built around Wayez, Saint-Guidon, and Aumale. To the west, Anderlecht bares a melange of rural and urban features especially in Neerpede and Vogelenzang.
Among the 19 communes of Brussels, Anderlecht ranks third in terms of population size. In 2017, the commune’s inhabitants totalled 118,241 with non-Belgians accounting for 32.2 percent of the population. Romanians and Moroccans are among the most represented foreign nationalities in the commune.
The residents of Anderlecht belong to the middle and lower classes. Disadvantaged households are concentrated in the eastern and central sections of the commune where unemployment and birth rates are high. On average, the percentage of people availing of social assistance and public housing is much higher in Anderlecht than at the level of the Brussels region. The commune relies heavily on regional allocations.
The strong industrial character of Anderlecht presents an enormous challenge to the local government traditionally dominated either by socialists or liberals. Policy decisions require finding ways to reconcile the demands of a dynamic industrial sector with the everyday needs of the populace.
In the last six years, the Anderlecht leadership has made significant advances in providing more childcare and school facilities, increasing daily efforts against petty crime, and making the communal hall a friendlier place. More action is needed in relation to raising the quality of life especially in the commune’s poorer neighborhoods, redeveloping public space, and formulating solid economic and social policies for a growing population.
From 2012 to 2018, Anderlecht was governed by a majority composed of representatives from the Socialist Party (PS), the Socialist Party Differently (sp.a), the Humanist Democratic Center (cdH), and the Reformist Movement (MR). Members of the Ecolo-Groen alliance and the Democratic, Federalist, Independent party (DéFI) sat on the side of the opposition.
In this year’s communal elections on October 14, candidates from PS, sp.a, and cdH are running under the mayor’s list or Liste du Bourgmestre (LB) while Ecolo and Groen are campaigning as one team. Other contenders will come from MR, DéFI, the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB), and the Christian, Democratic, and Flemish party (CD&V).