Short history of the Institute of Sociology

Founded by Ernest Solvay (1838-1922), the Institute of Sociology offered the first organised form of research in the field of Social Sciences in Belgium. Its origins can be traced back to 1894 when Solvay, an industrialist and politician with a liberal-progressive leaning, decided to set up an Institute of Social Science whose aim would to be study the questions related to their social theories. Following this first attempt, the Institute of Sociology was founded in 1902 under the direction of Professor and Engineer Emile Waxweiler (1867-1916). In those days, the Institute was situated in Leopold Park. Tackling a variety of subjects, carrying out long-term scientific research and examining current topical issues, the work directed by Waxweiler and financed by Solvay covered all the concerns of the Social Science and the Sociology of the early years of the 20th Century.


The former Solvay Institute of Sociology in Leopold Park (restored in 1994)

In 1922, after the death of E.Solvay, the Institute became part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels). The decision was taken in 1967 to relocate to the building where the Institute is still situated today, at 44, avenue Jeanne,  on the Solbosch campus.



The new Institute of Sociology situated in Avenue Jeanne (1969)


The Institute of Sociology in 2003



Emile WAXWEILER,
First Director of the Institute of Sociology


List of Directors:

Emile WAXWEILER (1902 - 1916)
Maurice ANCIAUX et Georges BARNICH (1916 - 1920)
Georges BARNICH et Georges HOSTELET (1920 - 1923)
Ernest MAHAIM (1923 - 1935)
Georges SMETS (1935 - 1952)
Henri JANNE (1952 - 1959)
Arthur DOUCY (1959 - 1980)
Nicole DELRUELLE-VOSSWINKEL (1980 - 1989)
Jacques NAGELS (1989 - 1998)
Alain ERALY (1998 - 2003)
Firouzeh NAHAVANDI (2003 - 2008)
Nathalie ZACCAI-REYNERS (2008 -