Evere may be one of the low-profile communes of the Brussels-Capital Region, but it has one sure claim to fame. It hosts the headquarters of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) located along Boulevard Léopold III which straddles the territories of Evere and Haren.
Lying northeast of the Brussels region, Evere covers five square kilometers of land inhabited by a largely middle class population of 40,394. More than 25 percent of the commune’s residents are non-Belgians. Most of them come from Romania, Italy, Morocco, Poland, and France.
Evere is more or less a balanced mix of residential, commercial, and industrial districts. The commune is divided into two sections. Lower Evere which revolves around Saint Vincent Church combines both residential neighborhoods and areas of commercial activity. Upper Evere fans out from Saint Joseph Church and Chaussée de Louvain. This part of the commune, although still residential, gives way to a more business and industrial environment particularly in Rue de Genève, Rue Colonel Bourg, and Avenue Léon Grosjean.
Since 1947, Evere has been the bastion of socialists. After the 2012 communal elections, members of the Socialist Party (PS) continued running communal affairs with representatives from Socialist Party Differently (sp.a), and the Democratic, Federalist, Independent party (DéFI). Members of the Reformist Movement (MR), Ecolo-Groen, and the Humanist Democratic Center (cdH) were relegated to the opposition.
In recent years, the Evere leadership has invested substantially in projects dealing with Evere’s ever-increasing population which is foreseen to reach 50,000 by 2025. Progress has been made in creating more nurseries, increasing school facilities, building the commune’s first secondary school, and developing sports amenities. Meanwhile, lack of transparency and insufficient measures to monitor and prevent acts of incivility in public places were among the cited weaknesses of the legislature.
Aside from population growth, mobility issues will be among the greatest challenges awaiting the future leadership of Evere. With the presence of NATO’s new headquarters and the impending construction of seven new metro stations including three in Evere, the next leaders of the commune will have to come up with a rock-solid traffic prevention strategy, among other things.
This year, PS, DéFI, MR, the Ecolo-Groen alliance, and cdH will once again battle it out in the campaign ring. Will the socialists keep the torch or will they have to pass it on? We will find out after October 14, 2018.