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French Lycee in Brussels

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French Lycee in Brussels

French Lycee in Brussels
9, Avenue du Lycee Francais
Brussels, 1180, Belgium
Funding type Public and private
Established c.November 1908
Gender M/F
Age 4 to 18
Language French

The Lycée Français Jean Monnet de Bruxelles (or LFB), literally The French High School of Brussels, is located in Uccle, Brussels, Belgium. It follows the French study curriculum and has students from nursery school up to the French baccalauréat. The school hosts over 2400 students from many nationalities.


  • History 1
    • Origins 1.1
    • Between the wars 1.2
    • Post-war 1.3
    • Later years 1.4
  • Notable alumni 2
  • References 3
  • See also 4



The French Chamber of Commerce in Brussels founded the French School in Belgium on the 22nd of November 1907. The school was founded under the patronage of Wladimir d'Ormesson, the minister of France in Brussels. Charles Rolland presided over the school’s executive committee. He was also president of the Chamber of Commerce. A bronze plate by Charles Samuel, a famous Belgian sculptor, is dedicated to him.[1]

At that time, the school ran primary education (where 25 subjects were taught, including Dutch) and a middle section (the equivalent of high school), it provided English and German classes, along with hygiene, calligraphy, accounting, law and stenography. The superior section (what would be referred to in France as the “Lycée”) opened in 1910 for the modern section and in 1924 for the classic section. The founding booklet stated that it would prepare students to “all exams, to every school, and to all jobs in France and Belgium”.

The school closed down from 1914 until 1918 as teachers were summoned to the war front. Its buildings were used to take care of wounded French soldiers, before the Germans invaders occupied the school. In 1918, the school reopened but suffered from financial difficulties. When Marshall Foch visited the school in 1920, 200 students attended the school of which only two were at “baccalauréat” level.

Between the wars

In 1934, the school separated itself from the commerce chamber and became an autonomous association under Belgian law. Paul Claudel, the French ambassador, founded the association. Members of this association were mainly male (188 men for 9 women), 60% of whom were Belgian nationals. Civil servants made up just 8% of members.

The objectives of the association are stated as follows: “To foster a French education and to prepare to the different certificates issued by the French State” - “this includes the learning of the history and geography of Belgium and of its colony” - "to instill into its students the love of France and Belgium, the respect of its institutions, along with the beliefs of each other”'.

In 1938, the “French School of Belgium” was renamed “French Lycee of Belgium”. Between May 1940 and January 1945, the “Lycee” closed down because of the German occupation. The school’s conference room is named in honor of Emmanuel Mounier, a professor of philosophy at the “Lycee” since 1936, who was imprisoned because of his writings in his journal “Esprit”. He was also head of an important French intelligence agency.


In 1945, the school reopened and on the 12th of October of that year, wartime hero Charles de Gaulle visited the “Lycee”. The following decade saw the school struggle and by 1955, it only had 400 students. From then on the school expanded until it could no longer fit the 1000 students it was schooling by the end of the 1950s. The Belgian state then sold to the association five hectares of land in Uccle where the Lycee had moved to move. The association dissolved itself and the school was given to the French state. From then on, the French ministry of education was in charge and started building the new school. Construction works began in 1962, but not until 1965 was it finished and the 1100 students transferred. The then education minister, Christian Fouchet presided over the inauguration ceremony in November 1966.

Later years

The following years, the school continued to develop. In 1988, the French Lycee was officially dedicated to the memory of Jean Monnet. He was chosen amid fierce debating about other possible namesakes, such as Arthur Rimbaud, Paul Verlaine and Jacques Brel. In the aftermath of the 30th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, they chose a man who is regarded by many as the chief architect of European unity and, who would have turned 100 that year. Jean-Bernard Raimond, the foreign minister, unveiled the commemorative plate for the event alongside Michèle Alliot-Marie, then secretary of state in charge of education. On this occasion, a videoconference (which was back then seen as a technological first) was set up and Jacques Delors, the President of the European Commission joined in.

In 1988, the school took a first step towards internationalizing its curriculum, by offering an English section to its bilingual or near-bilingual students. Since then, the French Lycee has given itself two major goals; to develop the learning of foreign languages and to promote cultural openness towards Europe and the rest of world. In 1990, many enrolled in a second foreign language and by 1991 languages were taught in level groups. 2003 saw the introduction of OIB and in 2004 the school set up DNL classes in English. Bilingual nursery classes were initiated in 2005, with equal learning time in either French and German or French and English. In 1990, the ‘Lycee’ became an EGD, which made it a decentralized unit of the newly created Agency for French education abroad (AEFE). On 19 May 2005, the AEFE’s status was modified to give it more power over state-owned EGDs. This has helped to establish a real-estate program of security control, renovation and upgrade of the facilities.

The French Lycee in Brussels celebrated its 100th year on the 5th of December 2008. On this day, events took place to pay tribute to all those who had contributed to the school over the past century. They have turned a small boy’s school near Gare du Midi (enrolling only 88 children) into a full-grown ‘Lycee’ covering over four acres of land in Uccle with over 2300 students of both sexes.

Notable alumni

  • David McNeil, author, composer, performer.
  • Agnès Varda, photographer, filmmaker and visual artist.
  • Emmanuel Pahud, flute soloist.
  • Michael Guttman, violin soloist.
  • Sophie Barjac, actress.
  • Nicolas Sirkis and Stéphane Sirkis, from rock-group Indochine.
  • Philippe Graton, photographer and author.
  • Emmanuel Mounier, philosopher, is a former teacher.
  • Yves Hernot, Auctionneer, Art adviser, painter and photographer ( Australia )


  1. ^ "French Lycee". Retrieved 14 June 2013. 

See also

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