Can a sports facility be more than just a place to exercise? The swimming pool at the Free University of Brussels is a multidisciplinary and international location, where the local community can also enjoy sport as well as create social connections.
The pool is one of a kind. It uses less energy thanks to efficient technologies, it contains recycled rain and wastewater. It also produces less CO2 than conventional pools.
But the Free University of Brussels' pool is more than the technology and ecology it uses, it's a place for well-being and making social contact. Dirk Van de Wiele is the head of the Sporting Infrastructure Administration Department at the university. He had this to say about what the university has to offer:
"The VUB is not only a university that focuses on education and research.
"We have a third pillar and that's the social service we want at the university.
"And I've seen people change due to sports.
"They get a better quality of life, not only physically but also mentally and also social contact. And one of the things that we can do with this pool is bring people together, get them exercising good, healthy movement and improve their quality of life."
The University's swimming club already has over 200 members from varying cultures and nationalities. Communication here is not just language-based; body language, pictures, and signs help facilitate language barriers. The university and its pool combine the best of people and technology.