Brussels Midi/Zuid

Discussion in 'International Transport' started by tivoli, 20 Dec 2016.

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  1. 317666

    317666 Established Member

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    One I find interesting is that Mons in Wallonia is called Bergen in Flemish - in English it would be called Mountains!
     
  2. paddington

    paddington Member

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    According to the French wikipedia, the above explanation is wrong. It was the terminus for the "South Railway" which initially went to Mons/Bergen and then later to the French border and beyond; the platforms extended into the "avenue du Midi" and the station became known as "Midi station".


    The proper English translation of "Bruxelles-Midi" would be "Brussels-Meridional".

    One may be more familiar with "oriental" and "occidental", the equivalents for east and west, and to save people from having to look it up, the word for north is septentrional.


    If I were in charge of Eurostar I would just have called it "Brussels South station" in all English announcements and printed matters. I would also put up English signs on the Eurostar platforms.


    The first time I went to Belgium, I was also very confused by the name since I thought Midi was just an affected way of saying central, as I couldn't understand why anyone would call a station "noon". Furthermore, the spelling "Zuid" does not look like "South", and only later when I went to the Netherlands did I realise that zuid in Dutch actually sounds like the English pronunciation of south which led me to understand the French name of Midi.
     
  3. W-on-Sea

    W-on-Sea Established Member

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    No map of Belgium is complete that doesn't stretch to Baarle-Hertog (granted, and being located about 12 km north of the main Belgian-Dutch border, Dutch is the sole language), but it is chopped up into lots of little parcels, some of which are Belgium, some of which are the Netherlands. Possibly the greatest geographic peculiarity of the country!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baarle-Hertog

    I don't understand why more of the signs are not bilingual across the entire country, though. Dutch and French are sufficiently different from one another for the corresponding forms of town names, etc, not to be obvious. It's odd, for example, to be travelling on a train that will be announced as going to either Courtrai or Kortrijk depending on where you get on it.
     
  4. duesselmartin

    duesselmartin Member

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    announcements in trains also often just use the "local" language, so when a train travels from Liegè to Leuven, announcements change from French to Flemish and in Brussels both are used. Once the trains leaves Brussels for Gent, its Flemish only again.
     
  5. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    The border between Baarle Nassau and Baarle Hertog finally came to rest in 1995.

    [​IMG]

    In France there are towns with Dutch names. Most famous is of course Lille with is Rijssel and Dunkerque which is Duinkerken/Duinkerke and apparently Dunkirk in English.
     
  6. gysev

    gysev Member

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    That is not correct. The station was called 'Bruxelles-Luxembourg' because this line was build by a private company, La Grande Compagnie du Luxembourg (GCL). After nationalisation of this company, the name changed to Bruxelles-Quartier-Leopold (Leopoldswijk) but in 2000, the station got it's original name back.

    As for 'Brussels-South', Midi is indeed another French word for 'south'. However, the name has nothing to do with the line towards the south (and France) because the original station for this line was situated somewhere else and had another name: 'Gare de Bogaerden' near the present Place Rouppe.
     
  7. EAD

    EAD Member

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    While I understand people may find the use of the relevant local language name confusing, that is a fact of the multilateral form of federalism Belgium has. Unlike other multilingual countries where it is a federal matter with the other main language(s) appearing out of region, this is not how Belgium functions. Indeed each region issues its information in its language and there have been battles over that where there are those trying to get information in another language. Of course the German speaking territory around Eupen is a quirk of history and technically I believe part of Wallonia for regional government purposes.

    As others have noted that means you get signs and announcements in the language of the region in question. Brussels is essentially the exception as the capital region meaning it is bilingual (although in reality on the ground most of the region is Francophone). I always felt sorry for foreigners when a train pulled away from Brussels given that the train reflects the linguistic boundaries as well.

    Looking at the original question, I really don't see how it is confusing or that Midi needs renamed. As others have pointed out there are many shared names across languages e.g. Monaco/München/Munich or Valence/Valencia and we do the same with our anglicised versions of place names.

    I always remember the name changes from my young childhood crossing Belgium on the way to/from Germany and beyond - it was and is a characteristic of the Kingdom .
     
    Last edited: 23 Dec 2016
  8. Senex

    Senex Established Member

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    Or after its origin al owners, the London & North Western Railway?
     
  9. Groningen

    Groningen Established Member

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    About Brussel-Luxemburg (Wikipedia):
    The station was built between 1854 and 1855 by the Grande Compagnie de Luxembourg as part of the Brussels-Luxembourg railway line it was constructing. The station was built to service the new Leopold Quarter, hence its original name of Leopold Quarter station. The lead architect was Gustave Saintenoy. He designed it in a neo-classical style in keeping with the other buildings around Place de Luxembourg which were designed around the same time. The station was Brussels' third, after those built in the Allée Verte and Rue des Bogards (which would eventually become Gare du Nord and Gare du Midi). Unlike those two however, Quartier Leopold station was designed as an intermediate stop rather than a terminal.
     
  10. Quakkerillo

    Quakkerillo Member

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    The name which is used on international trains is "Brussels South-Midi". And I can see what wikipedia says for the history, but the Dutch-language Brussels Newspaper Bruzz (or Brussel Deze week as it was called before) did a whole article about it earlier this year, where they said it was named after Le Midi, after talking with (railway) historians.
     
  11. AlexNL

    AlexNL Member

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    This is something which was changed last year, the station used to be called Brussel-Nationaal-Luchthaven. As Brussels Airport is on Flemish territory, the name of the station wasn't translated on signs and in the journey planner.
     
  12. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Established Member

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    Actually, the Wigan stations (North Western and Wallgate) were never called that in their pre-grouping days.
    They were simply the LNWR and L&Y Wigan stations, and were renamed by the new LMS in 1924.
    And they are both on Wallgate, and in the north-western part of town!
    Wigan Central (MS&L/GC) was better named but is long gone.
     
  13. Senex

    Senex Established Member

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    The identity of stations simply according to their owning companies was of course normal before the Grouping. There was of course a host of re-namings after that, as the four companies dealt with their inheritance. What I was suggesting was simply that in this case the LMS chose "North Western" rather than the rather long-winded "London & North Western", using a style of naming similar to the addition of "Midland" in one or two other cases.
     
  14. anme

    anme Established Member

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    The Belgian rail journey planner at nmbs.be and sncb.be accepts Dutch and French names for all stations. You can plan a journey from Bruges-Saint-Pierre or Anvers-Central to Luik-Guillemans or Namen. Even English variants such as Ghent and Antwerp work fine, and more or less any variation on "Brussels Airport" will get you there.
     
    Last edited: 12 Jan 2017
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