Université libre de Bruxelles

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Université libre de Bruxelles
Université libre de Bruxelles seal.svg
Seal of the ULB, created in 2013.
Latin: Universitas Bruxellensis
Former name
Université libre de Belgique
MottoScientia vincere tenebras
Motto in English
Conquering darkness with knowledge
TypeIndependent/Partly state funded
PresidentPierre Gurdjian
RectorYvon Englert
Administrative staff
Students24,236 (2012)[1]
LocationBrussels, Belgium
CampusSolbosch, Plaine, Erasme, Gosselies
Atomium Culture
Université libre de Bruxelles (logo).svg

The Université libre de Bruxelles (in English: Free University of Brussels), abbreviated ULB, is a French-speaking private research university in Brussels, Belgium.

It was established in 1834 by Belgian lawyer Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen, it is one of the most important Belgian universities. A major research center open to Europe and the world,[2][3] it has about 24,200 students, 33% of whom come from abroad, and an equally cosmopolitan staff.[1] In 2018, ULB was globally ranked 175th by The Times Higher Education, 151th by Shanghai Ranking (AWRU).


Brussels has two universities whose names mean Free University of Brussels in English: the French-speaking Université libre de Bruxelles and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Neither uses the English translation, since it is ambiguous.


Portrait of Théodore Verhaegen, founder of the ULB

When the Belgian State was formed in 1830 by nine breakaway provinces from the Kingdom of the Netherlands, it had three state universities, in Ghent, Liège and Leuven, but no university in the new capital, Brussels. Since the government was reluctant to fund another state university, a group of Freemasons and intellectuals led by Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen and Auguste Baron planned to create a private university, which was permitted under the Belgian Constitution. After the Catholic Church sponsored the foundation of the Catholic University of Mechlin in 1834, the Université libre de Belgique (Free University of Belgium) opened on 20 November 1834. In 1836, it changed its name to Université libre de Bruxelles.[4]

The school's football team won the bronze medal at the 1900 Summer Olympics.[citation needed]

As part of its commitment to academic freedom, the ULB closed down in 1941 rather than collaborate with the Nazi occupation of Belgium.[4]

Since 1935, some courses have been taught in both French and Dutch. Beginning in 1963, all faculties offered courses in both languages. In October 1969, shortly after the language dispute at the Catholic University of Leuven, the French and Dutch entities of the ULB separated into two distinct universities. With the act of 28 May 1970, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université libre de Bruxelles officially became two separate legal, administrative and scientific entities.[citation needed]

November 20, called Saint Verhagen (often shortened to St V) for Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen, is a holiday for students of both the Université libre de Bruxelles and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel.[citation needed]


The main building on the Solbosch campus

The ULB comprises three main campuses: the Solbosch campus, on the territories of Brussels and Ixelles municipalities in the Brussels-Capital Region, the Plaine campus in Ixelles, and the Erasmus campus in Anderlecht, beside the Erasmus Hospital.

The main and largest campus of the university is the Solbosch, which hosts the administration and general services of the university. It also includes most of the faculties of the humanities, the École polytechnique, the large library of social sciences, and among the museums of the ULB, the Museum of Zoology and Anthropology, the Allende exhibition room and the M. De Ghelderode Museum.

The Plaine campus hosts the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Pharmacy. There are also the Experimentariums of physics and chemistry, the Museum of Medicinal Plants and Pharmacy and student housing. This site is served by the metro station: Delta.

The Erasmus campus houses the Erasmus Hospital and the Pôle Santé, the Faculty of Medicine, the School of Public Health and the Faculty of Motor Sciences. There is also the School of Nursing (with the Haute école libre de Bruxelles - Ilya Prigogine), the Museum of Medicine and the Museum of Human Anatomy and Embryology. This site is served by the metro station: Erasmus.

The university also has buildings and activities in the Brussels municipality of Auderghem, as well as outside Brussels, namely in Charleroi on the Aéropole Science Park and in Parentville, Treignes [fr] and Nivelles.

Faculties, schools and institute[edit]

The Erasmus campus in Anderlecht

International Privileged Partnerships[6][edit]

University of California, Berkeley, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, Université de Montréal, Waseda University, Université Pierre et Marie Curie - Paris VI, BeiHang University, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Université de Lausanne, Université de Genève, University Ouaga I Pr. Joseph Ki-Zerbo, University of Lubumbashi

Faculty or Institute Bachelor's degrees Master's degrees Complementary master's degrees
Faculty of Architecture Architecture Architecture
Faculty of Philosophy and Letters Ancient Languages and Literature:
1. Classic orientation;
2. Oriental orientation
Ancient Languages and Literature:
1. Classic orientation (1 or 2 years)
2. Oriental orientation (1 or 2 years)
African Languages and Cultures
Pedagogy in Higher Education
Language Sciences
Art History and Archaeology Art History and Archaeology (1 or 2 years)
Art History and Archaeology: Musicology Art History and Archaeology: Musicology (1 or 2 years)
French and Roman Languages and Literature Cultural Management
History Ethics
Information and Communication French and Roman Languages and Literature (1 or 2 years)
Modern Languages and Literature French and Roman Languages and Literature: French Foreign Language
Modern Languages and Literature:
1. General orientation
2. Germanic orientation
3. Oriental orientation
4. Slavic orientation
History (1 or 2 years)
Philosophy Information and Communication (1 or 2 years)
Religious and Secular Studies Information and Communication Sciences and Technologies
Modern Languages and Literature (1 or 2 years)
Modern Languages and Literature:
1. Arab orientation
2. Germanic orientation (1 or 2 years)
3. Oriental orientation (1 or 2 years)
4. Slavic orientation (1 or 2 years)
Multilingual Communication
Performing Arts
Philosophy (1 or 2 years)
Religious and Secular Studies
Faculty of Law and Criminological Science Law Criminology Economic Law
Law International Law
Public and Administrative Law
Social Law
Tax Law
Faculty of Psychological Science, and of Education Psychology and Educational Sciences Educational Sciences Pedagogy in Higher Education
Psychology and Educational Sciences: Speech Therapy Psychology Psychoanalytic Theories
Speech Therapy Risk Management and Well-being at Work
Faculty of Sciences
(recently absorbed the Institute of Environment Gestion (IGEAT))
Biology Actuarial Science Nanotechnology
Chemistry Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology
Computer Sciences Bioengineering: Agricultural Sciences
Engineering: Bioengineering Bioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industries
Geography Bioengineering: Environmental Sciences and Technologies
Geology Bioinformatics and Modeling
Mathematics Biology (1 year)
Physics Chemistry (1 or 2 years)
Sciences (Polyvalent first year) Computer Sciences (1 or 2 years)
Environmental Sciences and Management (1 or 2 years)
Geography (1 or 2 years)
Geology (1 or 2 years)
Mathematics (1 or 2 years)
Organismal Biology and Ecology
Physics (1 or 2 years)
Tourism Sciences and Management (1 or 2 years)
Faculty of Applied Sciences/Polytechnic School Engineering: Bioengineering Bioengineering: Agricultural Sciences Conservation and Restoration of Immovable Cultural Heritage
Engineering: Civil Bioengineering: Chemistry and Bio-industries Nanotechnology
Engineering: Civil Architect Bioengineering: Environmental Sciences and Technologies Nuclear Engineering
Civil Engineering: Architectural Transportation Management
Civil Engineering: Biomedical Urban and Regional Planning
Civil Engineering: Chemistry and Material Science
Civil Engineering: Computer
Civil Engineering: Constructions
Civil Engineering: Electrical
Civil Engineering: Electro-mechanical
Civil Engineering: Mechanical
Civil Engineering: Physicist
Faculty of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Biomedical Sciences
Dentistry Dentistry
Medicine Medicine
Veterinary Medicine
Institute of Pharmacy Pharmaceutical Sciences Biomedical Sciences Clinical Biology (for pharmacists)
Pharmaceutical Sciences Hospital Pharmacy
Industrial Pharmacy
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences Human and Social Science Anthropology
Political Science Human Resources Management
Sociology and Anthropology Political Science (1 or 2 years)
Political Science: International Relations
Population and Development
Public Administration
Sociology and Anthropology (1 year)
Work Science (1 or 2 years)
Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management Business Engineering Business Engineering Industrial Management and Technology
Economics Economics (1 or 2 years) Microfinance
Institute of European Studies European Studies European Law
Interdisciplinary Analysis of European Construction


University rankings
ARWU[7] 2-4
ARWU[8] 101-150
QS[9] 168
Times[10] 176

Notable alumni and faculty[edit]

Amélie Nothomb, Belgian Francophone novelist

Nobel Prize Winners[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-09. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
  2. ^ "Université libre de Bruxelles". QS Top Universities. Retrieved March 17, 2017.
  3. ^ "ARWU World University Rankings 2016 | Academic Ranking of World Universities 2016 | Top 500 universities | Shanghai Ranking - 2016". www.shanghairanking.com. Retrieved 2017-07-07.
  4. ^ a b "A University born of an idea". Université libre de Bruxelles. Retrieved 2016-08-04.
  5. ^ "Home". www.iee-ulb.eu. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  6. ^ "Les relations internationales de l'ULB". www.ulb.ac.be. Retrieved 2018-06-25.
  7. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017: USA". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  8. ^ "Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017". Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  9. ^ "QS World University Rankings® 2018". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  10. ^ "World University Rankings 2016-17". THE Education Ltd. Retrieved September 21, 2016.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 50°48′42″N 4°22′52″E / 50.81167°N 4.38111°E / 50.81167; 4.38111