They say you don’t know shopping in Brussels until you’ve been to Woluwe-Saint-Lambert. The commune is renowned for its shopping district which vaunts, among others, the Woluwe Shopping Center or “The W”. This commercial area is surrounded by a string of parks including Malou, Neerveld, René Pechère, and Roodebeek.
There are two Woluwe communes within the Brussels region: Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, both named after the Woluwe stream that traverses them. Woluwe-Saint-Lambert spreads over 7.22 square kilometers of land divided into eight neighborhoods and occupied by 41,217 people. More than one-third of its population are foreign nationals with the French topping the list, followed by the Italians, the Spaniards, and the Poles. Apart from the Europeans, the Americans are also well represented in the commune.
Like its neighbor communes in the east and south of the Brussels-Capital Region, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert has a population of middle to upper-class households. Aside from business and commerce, the health and education sectors are significant sources of internal employment due to the presence of the Saint Luc University Hospital and the Université Catholique de Louvain or UCL campus.
Since 1976, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert has been under the reign of regionalistic social liberals from the Democratic, Federalist, Independent party or DéFI, formerly FDF. The party won the 2012 communal elections with an absolute majority outcome and formed a governing coalition with the Humanist Democratic Center (cdH) and other independent liberals. The Reformist Movement (MR), Ecolo-Groen, and the Socialist Party (PS) served as the opposition.
In the last six years, the key projects of the commune revolved around maintaining public green spaces and playgrounds, renovating roads and sidewalks, providing free sports activities for the youth, and setting up home support services for the elderly. Income tax was slightly reduced while property tax was raised but still falls below average rates in the region. Efforts have been made to reduce both the communal expenses and debt. However, inadequate parking space and the steep cost of social housing remain a problem in Woluwe-Saint-Lambert.
Will DéFI continue reigning over Woluwe-Saint-Lambert after this year’s communal elections? Or will another party seize the throne? The cards will start showing on October 14, 2018. The campaign period will see DéFI and Indépendance Libérale as one team under the mayor’s list or Liste du Bourgmestre (LB). Other liberals have forged an alliance called MR+. They will compete with Ecolo-Groen, the cdH-led citizens’ list WolHu, PS together with sp.a (Socialist Party Differently), and local party Demos.