Belgians chose “This is not a street” as one of 28 new Brussels street names

Tour & Taxis features foreboding 19th century architecture.
Tour & Taxis features foreboding 19th century architecture.
Image: Getty
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If you could name a street in your hometown, what would you choose? Belgian citizens had the opportunity to mull just that question as part of an initiative to name 28 streets, squares, and walkways in the Belgian capital’s Tour & Taxis district.

The city crowdsourced the names as part of an ongoing regeneration project in the Tour & Taxis district—a formerly industrial area now set to become one of the city’s cultural and residential meccas. After receiving nearly 1,400 suggestions from the public, the final list was chosen by a jury of city officials, historians, and the site’s property developer, Extensa.

The results are pretty eclectic. One street is named after a type of traditional spiced cookie (Passage du Speculoos). Another is named after a cheese and endive dish—one of Belgium’s national dishes (Passage du Chicon). Another street, Ceci n’est pas une rue, bears the title “This is not a street”—a nod to one of Belgian artist René Magritte’s most famous surrealist paintings. Others are more romantic in nature, including the Chemin d’Un Monde Meilleur—path to a better world.

The district is named after the famous Thurn and Taxis, a German noble family that was a key player in European postal services until the fall of the Holy Roman Empire. Many of the submissions, Extensa said, were inspired by the family’s rich history and involvement with the district.

Many people also wrote in with submissions suggesting that streets be renamed after famous women, “to readdress the underrepresentation in the public domain,” Extensa said. And so Brussels now features Rue Chantal Akerman, named after the famous Belgian feminist and avant-garde filmmaker, and Rue Isala Van Diest, after Belgium’s first female medical doctor and university graduate.

Here are all 28 names of the streets, which the city will list in both French and Dutch, in accordance with Brussels’ official bilingual status.

Correction: An earlier version of this story described Passage of Chicon as referring to a Belgian cheese and potato dish. We now understand that was wrong.