Meulebroeck, Frédéric-Joseph van de

   Frédéric-Joseph van de Meulebroeck was born in Laeken on 17 November 1876. He acquired a degree in medicine at the Université libre de Bruxelles in 1901. Drawn equally to politics, he was elected as a Liberal to the communal council in Laeken in 1908. In World War I he served as a doctor at the front. Elected a communal councillor in Brussels in 1921, he worked to secure completion of public hospitals as an alderman. He oversaw modernization of public utilities and construction work for the World's Fair of 1935.
   Appointed burgomaster by royal decree on 28 November 1939, van de Meulebroeck confronted the German occupiers in World War II by refusing to implement a regulation lowering the age limit of elected officials. Proclaiming that "I am, I remain, and I shall remain the sole legitimate burgomaster of Brussels" he was arrested on 1 July 1941 and incarcerated at the prison in Saint-Gilles. He was removed formally from office on 9 September. He later escaped from prison and returned to his post on 4 September 1944. Following the war, van de Meulebroeck oversaw completion of the Gare Centrale and construction of the new Palais du Centenaire. Declining health led to his gradual retirement from political life, and his resignation was accepted by a royal decree of 13 February 1956. He died in Uc-cle on 14 December 1958.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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