In loving memory, Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel shares their founder's story

In the spirit of “sharing is caring,” and because the members of the Zonta Club of Brussel Zavel, Belgium, feel that more significant, important women should have their own square of a street named after them, the club started looking for ways to honor their founding motjer, Jeanne Van Ginderachter. Jeanne died on 9 January 2018 at the age of 93, still a member of the club she helped create.

Jeanne was the daughter of an important brewer. She ran the brewery, first together with her father and then later on her own with other family members. Within this role, she was very involved in the social status of the workers - especially the women in the brewery. This led to Jeanne, together with her two friends, founding the Zonta club in Brussels in 1979.

The initiative to name a street or square in Merchtem after Jeanne came from club president, Régine Claeys. On behalf of the club, Régine addressed a request to the Merchtem alderman of culture, David De Valck to honor their founder with a street or a square. After several months of negotiations, the College of Aldermen granted this request. The little square at the corner of Kattestraat and Langensteenweg will be furnished with a bench and adapted greenery and will be named after Jeanne Van Ginderachter.

"Jeanne Van Ginderachter has always been a very special woman, who has not only always put fellow men/ women first, but she was also a feminist avant la lettre: in which she encouraged young women to leave their comfort zone. Never, ever, has she put herself in the foreground," said Régine.

In September 2021, the square will be the final piece of the Ginder-Ale renovation project that gave the center of Merchtem a new look. Mark Vanderstraeten, chairman of the Royal Concordia Music Association, of which Jeanne was honorary chairman, is pleased with this tribute. In 2015, Concordia had a special beer brewed which, to honor her, was named Madam Jeanne.