Université Saint-Louis - Bruxelles
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Care of Moroccan female migrants by christian structures from 1964 to 2004: the example of "Vie Féminine" in Brussels

Coordination centre(s)

Centre de recherches en histoire du droit, des institutions et de la société (CRHIDI)
Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire sur Bruxelles (IRIB)
Institut de recherche société et interdisciplinarité (IRSI).


While, since the second half of the 20th century, Brussels has been one of the most important areas of concentration for foreigners in Belgium, no study from a historical perspective on the settlement of Moroccan immigrants in Brussels currently exists. Our research will help to fill this gap. To guarantee its feasibility and relevance, it will be limited to one of the most emblematic municipalities of the Moroccan presence in Brussels: Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. This project aims to study in particular the evolution and characteristics of the settlement of Moroccan immigrants on the territory of Molenbeek between 1964 - signature of the bilateral agreement between Morocco and Belgium - and 2004 - adoption of the law granting the right to vote to a part of the foreign inhabitants from countries outside the European Union. To do this, we will adopt a socio-historical approach to analyse different sources such as the municipal archives of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, public and audiovisual archives, private archives of immigrant families as well as semi-directive interviews with immigration pioneers and associations, political and administrative actors.

The challenges and objectives of the thesis project are particularly topical. Indeed, more than fifty years after the first agreement signed between Belgium and Morocco, the difficulties linked to the management of cultural diversity, often confused with migration issues, persist and are increasing. In addition, following the attacks of 13 November 2015 in France, media and political attention focused considerably on the municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean. By providing significant historical data, the research projected here will provide the explanatory keys to the Moroccan facility, which has undeniably shaped the current landscape of the municipality. Our ambition in this research is also to promote a inclusive history by taking into consideration one of the main components of the population of Molenbeek and, by extension, Brussels.



DE BROUX Pierre-Olivier, CAESTECKER Frank.


Inclusive history / Moroccan immigration / Brussels / feminism / women.

Research staff



Gent Universiteit.