The University of Antwerp strives to marry its research activities with optimum use of the campuses, both in and outside of Antwerp’s city centre.
Green roofs and swifts’ nests in the city
- Wherever technical limitations allow, the university installs green roof constructions. The green roof on the Meerminnecampus has benches where students and staff can sit and unwind for a while, and other campuses in the university district also have gardens.
- In addition, the University of Antwerp has a number of nesting spots for swifts, a species which survives in the city as though it were a kind of modern rocky landscape.
Bee hotels on the outer campuses
In 2013, the University of Antwerp opened a number of ‘bee hotels’ on the outer campuses. As a result of the disappearance of green spaces and certain nectar plants, caused by all kinds of diseases and the use of pesticides, the wild bee population is in decline.
“The impact of this campaign has been enormous,” says sustainability coordinator Carla Uwents. “Bees are now pollinating thousands of flowers, plants and fruit trees in the immediate area. This way, the University of Antwerp is helping to develop valuable new wildlife areas.”
Campus Drie Eiken is situated near the site of Fort 6, part of the ring of fortifications around Antwerp. The forts are known for the populations of bats that spend the winter there, although some species also have summer broods.
UAntwerp consults regularly with the authorities in order to ensure that the colonies can stay on the site, but also to ensure that the necessary maintenance and construction works can be carried out.
The sheer number of bats on site is so exceptional that a bat is now the mascot of both the Environmental Office and Prevention and Protection at Work.
During the toad migration season, the amphibians at our campus get special treatment and all pedestrians and cyclists have to take a small diversion so as not to disturb them.
Water management demo project
The Kleine Struisbeek, a small stream, runs through Campus Drie Eiken in Wilrijk. In cooperation with Antwerp provincial authorities, an educational demo project is being run around the stream in order to demonstrate various types of bank reinforcement. In this way, Water Technology students get to see the techniques they hear about in class being applied in practice just outside.