Molenbeek-Saint-Jean or Sint-Jans-Molenbeek , often simply called Molenbeek, is one of 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region (Belgium). Located in the western part of the region, it is bordered by the City of Brussels, from which it is separated by the Brussels–Charleroi Canal, as well as by the municipalities of Anderlecht, Berchem-Sainte-Agathe, Dilbeek, Jette and Koekelberg. The Molenbeek brook, from which it takes its name, flows through the municipality. In common with all of Brussels’ municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch).
|• Mayor||Catherine Moureaux|
|• Total||5.89 km2 (2.27 sq mi)|
|• Density||16,000/km2 (43,000/sq mi)|
Several rundown industrial buildings have been renovated and converted into prime real estate and other community functions. Examples include:
- The Fonderie, a former smelter of the Compagnie des Bronzes de Bruxelles, operational from 1854 to 1979, now home to Brussels’ Museum of Industry and Labour. The museum focuses on the industry, coupled with the social history of the Molenbeek, and the impact of industrialisation on the development of the municipality.
- The Raffinerie, a former sugar refinery, now the site of a cultural and modern dance complex.
- The Bottelarij, a bottling plant that housed the Royal Flemish Theatre during its renovation in the centre of Brussels.
- The Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art (MIMA), a museum dedicated to culture 2.0 and to urban art opened in April 2016, in the former buildings of the brewery Belle-Vue, and is the first of the kind in Europe.
- The impressive buildings of the former goods station of Tour & Taxis and the surrounding area bordering the municipality, which will be turned into residences, as well as commercial enterprises.
- Brussels’ Circus School, installed in the buildings of Tour & Taxis.
- A brewery, the Brasserie de la Senne.
Other points of interest include:
- The Town Hall of Molenbeek, in eclectic style, located on the Municipal Square.
- The Church of St. John the Baptist, an Art Deco Roman Catholic church built between 1931–1932, which has been listed as a protected monument since 1984.
- The neo-Gothic Church of St. Remigius, completed in 1907.
- The Church of St. Barbara, another neo-Gothic building, completed in 1894 and listed since 1998.
- The Molenbeek Cemetery contains remarkable monuments, including funerary galleries and a columbarium built in 1880.
- The Municipal Museum of Molenbeek (MoMuse), housed in the prestigious building of the Academy of Drawing and Visual Arts.
- The Vaartkapoen statue, on Sainctelette Square.
- The Karreveld Castle and surrounding park is used for cultural events and the meetings of the municipal council. At the beginning of the 20th century, it was one of the birth places of Belgian Cinema. At the request of Charles Pathé (Pathé Cinéma), the director Alfred Machin commissioned the first film studio in the country, together with a workshop for the construction of film sets and a mini zoological garden for exotic animals, such as bears, camels and panthers used as ‘extras’ in films. Several films, including the first two Belgian feature films La Fille de Delft and the sadly prophetic Maudite soit la guerre (in hand-painted colours) were shot by Alfred Machin in the studio of the Karreveld Castle. Since 1999, the castle hosts from mid-July to September the Festival Bruxellons! a theatre festival open to other performing arts (magic, music, circus, etc.)
Parks and green spaces
Green spaces in the municipality include:
- Scheutbos Park, a regional nature park of 6 ha (15 acres)
- Semi-natural site of the Scheutbos, a protected area of 44 ha (110 acres)
- Karreveld Park 3 ha (7.4 acres)
- Marie-José Park 6 ha (15 acres)
- Albert Park
- Muses’ Park
- Hauwaert Park
- Bonnevie Park
- Fonderie Park
There are 17 French-language and six Dutch-language primary schools in Molenbeek.
- Athénée royal Serge Creuz (French-speaking)
- Athaneum Toverfluit (Dutch-speaking)