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Brussels' hidden Senne river to be uncovered at Maximilian Park

19:47 12/12/2021

A proposal to uncover part of Brussels' buried Senne river has received preliminary approval from the City of Brussels and the region.

As this 150th anniversary of the burying of the Senne through downtown Brussels comes to a close, it has been announced that Maximilian Park will undergo a major renovation with as central feature the uncovering of the river for a length of 650 metres.

The project, officially known as Max-sur-Zenne, is in the home stretch for the submission of the permit request. Brussels environment minister Alain Maron announced that nearly €25 million will be invested there under the Maximilian-Vergote urban renovation contract.

Along the river, the original sluiceway will be preserved and transformed into a long walk starting from the current location of the Maximilian urban farm and ending at the Vergote basin.

Along with an increase in green spaces and biodiversity, sports and recreational facilities will be expanded and diversified with an accent on security in order to meet the needs of a wider range of users, particularly young women and older people. To make room for the project, Maximilian Farm will be moved near the housing units of the Foyer Laekenois.

This project, managed by Brussels Environment in close collaboration with the City of Brussels and Brussels Mobility, included a participatory process in which several hundred local inhabitants were asked for their input so that Max-sur-Zenne could address their needs and their vision for the future of the neighborhood.

"As part of the overall redevelopment plan of the northern district and with the participation of the inhabitants, we want to include this district in our vision of the city where no one is more than ten minutes away for all their needs,” said mayor Philippe Close.

"That is to say to provide all inhabitants with green spaces, youth centres, new housing, public transport, sports centres, nurseries and schools and shopping facilities.

"This is one of the biggest redevelopment projects in the city and we are keen to carry it out hand in hand with the inhabitants within the framework of the district contract which binds us."

Maron added: "This project is fully in line with the initiatives taken by the Brussels government in order to restore the citizen's right to nature and in particular to the Senne.

"The ambition is to reconcile nature and city, to face the effects of climate change and promote the health and well-being of residents. The Covid-19 crisis has further highlighted the vital role of parks and green spaces in our city."

Written by Richard Harris