There is limited green space in the densely populated region around Brussels. By opening the Woluwe stream in Diegem and Zaventem, we aim to create a blue-green network from the Sonian Forest to the mouth of the Woluwe stream in Vilvoorde. 

The Woluwe valley in north-east Brussels has traditionally been swampy and alluvial. The pressure on the waterway has increased with intensive urbanisation and industrialisation in the area. To solve this problem, a system of carrier drains and sewers will be built.

The area is densely populated and natural, green areas are rare. It is therefore crucial to link the small pieces of green in Flanders and Brussels; it will often allow rivers and valleys to become major carriers in these blue-green corridors. In this project, we are linking green areas in two locations.

1. The introduction of a new tram line in Diegem is creating room for the Woluwe stream to be brought back above ground.

There are already many different perspectives on this opportunity, but in this phase, a technical design is needed to investigate whether it is technically and financially possible to have the river resurface in the area. It would present a large number of benefits: the two central parts of Diegem would be linked by a blue-green corridor (instead of a major road), there would be space for water, the water quality and the natural quality of the river would improve. By developing this river, we can keep rainwater out of the main sewers for longer and buffer it in a less expensive manner.

The feasibility study for opening the Woluwe stream in Diegem has been completed and a route has been chosen. This will now be further developed in order to request an environmental permit and to allow for drafting of tendering dossiers.

2. The reconstruction of the Leuvensesteenweg in Zaventem creates space for opening a new section of the Woluwe stream.

At the top of the Leuvensesteenweg in Zaventem, the Woluwe stream has disappeared into a small cased-piping tunnel that runs under the road. With the reconstruction of the Leuvensesteenweg, a new area of cased-piping is being constructed to join it to a nearby green area. This allows the Woluwe stream to be re-opened and means above-ground buffering can be created.

By the end of 2017, the new section has to be completed. The design of an above-ground Woluwe stream in this zone will begin in early 2018.

Site photos of the installation of the cased-piping tunnel.