The Josaphat site is often thought of as a wasteland where nothing happens, a non-space for the city. This is not at all true.
A railway station
The SNCB-NMBS Evere stop is served by four S lines. It is located on both sides of the De Boeck Bridge at the northern end of the site.
It already provides a good service during the week and there is real potential for improving the night and weekend service within the RER-GEN (Regional Express Network):
- 7 minutes to the European Quarter, with four departures per hour in each direction,
- 5 or 7 minutes to the Metro (Lines 1 and 5) with five departures per hour in each direction,
- two connections per hour to the airport in both directions (via Bordet).
A semi-natural wasteland
The railway marshalling yard was dismantled and the land was cleaned up, levelled and planted as flowering grassland in 2013. It has gradually evolved, turning it into a wilder semi-natural wasteland with a richer biodiversity. The project aims to conserve some of the natural zones to maintain the site’s biodiversity as far as possible.
An industrial zone
An urban industrial zone is located on that part of the site's east embankment that was not used for railway activities. It has developed without any overall plan, and more importantly without public investment. The dynamism of its businesses today calls for investment to make the zone a more attractive and pleasant place.
For many local residents, the entrance to the site is via the sports area. Accessible from the road leading to the industrial zone, the Tennis Club Set Wahis is open to young and old alike in both summer and winter, and organises numerous courses and events. Accessible from Avenue des Jardins, the Royal Kituro Rugby Club lives up to its reputation. It has 524 registered players, numerous junior teams and several first XV teams that play at the highest level.
The two clubs lead completely separate existences, however; the ambition of the project is to develop a proper sports campus with shared facilities.
Since the marshalling yard’s closure, numerous activities have taken place on the site, helping to make it better known. Some of these activities are transient, such as the Royal Flemish Theatre’s travelling show Kamyon. Others are closely linked to the site, such as the Rock Oasis Festival, which has been organised by local residents in the district since 2002 and at Josaphat since 2015; Les Nouveaux Disparus performing arts company, which is based there and holds an annual festival; and the collectives present on the site at the instigation of ‘Commons Josaphat’, which recently combined to form a non-profit organisation, ‘JOSAPH’AIRE’, and will continue to pursue various activities encouraging participation by the general public on the site.
The SAU-MSI’s ambition is to reaffirm the temporary activities already present on the site and to invite others through a call for projects. However, the rule is that all activities must be mobile in order to remain responsive to the developing needs of the project.