Colonial University of Belgium

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The building of the former Colonial University currently serves as the rectorate of the University of Antwerp and seat of the Antwerp University Association. Campus Middelheim Building A.jpg
The building of the former Colonial University currently serves as the rectorate of the University of Antwerp and seat of the Antwerp University Association.

The Colonial University of Belgium (Dutch : Koloniale Hogeschool van België) was a Belgian institute of higher education, located in Antwerp. Founded in 1920 and discontinued in 1961, the institute prepared students for a life in the Belgian Congo, the Belgian colony.



By 1908, public pressure and diplomatic manoeuvres led to the end of Leopold II's personal rule of the Congo Free State and to the annexation of the Congo as a colony of Belgium, known as the "Belgian Congo". In order to train future settlers for a (high) administrative function in the colony, the initiative was taken to found the École coloniale supérieure (Dutch: Hogere Koloniale School) by the Royal Decree of 11 February 1920 by Louis Franck, Minister of Colonies. In 1923, the school was restructured to become the Université coloniale de Belgique (Dutch: Koloniale Hoogeschool van België (UNIVOG)). The buildings near the Middelheim Open Air Sculpture Museum were officially inaugurated in November 1923 by King Albert I of Belgium. Colonel Charles Lemaire was the director, who was succeeded at the time of his death in 1926 by lieutenant Laude. In March 1929, the main building was damaged by a violent fire, but was immediately rebuilt. This new building was inaugurated in May 1931. [2]

The institute was again renamed in 1949 to Institut universitaire des territoires d'outre-mer (INUTOM) (Dutch: Universitair Instituut voor de Overzeese Gebieden). Being an institute at university level, it issued degrees of colonial and administrative sciences, as well as commercial and colonial sciences.

After the independence of Congo in 1960, the INUTOM was discontinued in 1962. [3] Its library was sold in 1963, and INUTOM merged with the Rijkshandelshogeschool (English: National Business School) and the Hoger Instituut voor Vertalers en Tolken (English: Institute of Higher Education for Translators and Interpreters) to the Rijksuniversitair Centrum Antwerpen (RUCA) (English: National University Centre Antwerp). From the merger of the institution with the department international cooperation of the Rijkshandelshogeschool, the College voor Ontwikkelingslanden (English: College for Developing Countries) emerged. [4] In 2000 The College voor Ontwikkelingslanden merged again, this time with the Centrum Derde Wereld (English: Third World Centre) of the Saint Ignatius University Centre to form the Institute of Development Policy (IOB). [5]

Nowadays, the university building functions as Building A of the Middelheim Campus of the University of Antwerp. [6] In front of the main entrance, the five-pointed star of the Belgian Congo's flag is still visible.


The student association Association des Étudiants was founded at the École coloniale supérieure in 1921, and ceased to exist in 1965.


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  1. "Detailed Middelheim Map" (PDF). University of Antwerp. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  2. "Koloniale Hogeschool". Inventaris onroerend erfgoed. Agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed. Retrieved 16 November 2020. Begin 1929 werd het hoofdgebouw van de school door een felle brand geteisterd. Meteen werd met de wederopbouw gestart en in mei 1931 werd het herstelde hoofdgebouw feestelijk heropend.
  3. "A brief history of IOB". Institute of Development Policy (IOB). Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  4. "A brief history of IOB". Institute of Development Policy (IOB). Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  5. "A brief history of IOB". Institute of Development Policy (IOB). Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  6. "Detailed Middelheim Map" (PDF). University of Antwerp. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  7. Radio 1 (3 September 2011). "De verloren olifant". Radio 1 . Retrieved 12 November 2020.
  8. Bruyndonckx, Celine (30 June 2020). "Universiteit Antwerpen gaat grote aula naar Patrice en Pauline Lumumba noemen" (in Dutch). Antwerp. Retrieved 16 November 2020.