The Université libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel have shared origins that go back to 1834, the year that Théodore Verhaegen established the Université libre de Belgique. In 1842, it was renamed the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), an institution independent of church and state.
When the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) broke away on 1 October 1969 – after that memorable summer that saw man walk on the moon, the first Tour de France win for Eddy Merckx (later to become an honorary VUB doctor) and the halcyon days of The Beatles – the university was no newcomer but an established metropolitan institution. VUB had grown steadily as part of the Université libre de Bruxelles.
So in 2019-2020 we’re celebrating a double anniversary:185 years together, 50 years of collaboration.
We often meet people in other countries who still regard ULB and VUB as one university. And it must be said, the link between our two universities has never been so strong, with our aims running in parallel.
Today we are also more connected than ever to Brussels. Our diverse and multilingual city is a dream living lab that we encourage our students and researchers to make the most of. We call this approach weKONEKT.brussels.
The two independent universities can only be independent if they are also strong. And that is down to a huge number of people. Hundreds of professors and policymakers, thousands of scientists and support staff, tens of thousands of students and alumni. In this festive year, we want to bring them all together, starting at the academic opening ceremony on Friday 20 September 2019, to raise a glass to everything we’ve achieved. To independent research. And to the future!