Citizen movement wants to renovate the facade of future asylum centre

In the city of Zoutleeuw (Flemish Brabant) a few inhabitants have founded a group to counter the negative reactions to the arrival of the asylum centre in the neighbourhood Dormaal. The group called "Gastvrij Zoutleeuw” (Hospitable Zoutleeuw) is now planning to renovate the facade of the centre, which is now covered with graffiti.

It is still not clear when the asylum centre in Dormaal will be opened. There are still some works to be done, and Fedasil is also waiting for the fire report. But normally the first asylum seekers would arrive this month. The asylum centre will be located in a former residential care centre in Dormaal, where Fedasil wants to accommodate 130 asylum seekers.

The asylum centre is fiercely contested by the local action committee "Genoeg is genoeg" (Enough is enough). Over the past two months it took the matter to the Council of State, organised human chains and other demonstrations with black flags. The Action Committee believes it is unacceptable that a village with barely 200 families is faced with such a large group of migrants.

In the meantime, there is a counter-movement under the name "Hospitable Zoutleeuw", which also collects winter clothes. This group wants to show "a human face" to the asylum seekers and make it clear that they are welcome.

Bart Ipers from the action committee explains : "We want to make the centre more beautiful for the people when they arrive. In the meantime, the centre has also been covered with graffiti and other things. We want the people who come here to feel welcome. We thought about making a beautiful welcome painting at the entrance or having it made by an artist."