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History & anecdotes

Bouvy funeral parlour is an Ixelles family business with a long tradition. The profession as we know it today, passed on from father to son, is not as old as we might think.

It was at the start of the last century that René Bouvy started offering a funeral service for several customers. The supply of coffins quickly followed, as well as a service to arrange a wake at the deceased’s home.

In 1953, his son Henri Bouvy set up his own business on 22-24 rue Gustave Biot, also in Ixelles. Since he trained as a carpenter, he dedicated himself to making coffins and carried on his father’s business, turning it into a full-time occupation.

It was in January 1990 that Patrick Bouvy gave the company its final name: Funérailles Henri Bouvy & Fils.

Today the business remains in the family and it offers the only funeral parlour in Ixelles. Throughout its long history, the Bouvy family has performed exceptional services. Here are just a few examples:

– 1978, in the month of May, the French legion and the Belgian parachutists jumped into Kolwezi to free over 3,000 European hostages held by rebels. Although this operation only caused very few military casualties, over 170 civilians lost their lives. Bouvy funeral parlour organised the ramp ceremony for the repatriated Belgian bodies in Belgium.

– 1978, in the month of July, a new catastrophe plunged this year into mourning, a propylene tanker lorry veered off the road and burst into flames. It caused an apocalyptic explosion and 280 deaths. 36 Belgian bodies were repatriated by an air force C-130. Bouvy funeral parlour organised the wake on the Melsbroek site and the funeral ceremony.

– 1987, in the month of March, the Herald of Free Enterprise sank just outside the port of Zeebrugge. there were 193 victims. In three days, Bouvy funeral parlour’s carpentry workshop supplied the wooden coffins as well as the internal zinc coffin for the funerals of the first victims of the wreck. Another anecdote about the disaster: the Belgian armed forces’ lorries transporting the coffins took over five hours to reach the coast because of the vast numbers of onlookers going to the same place to see the stranded wreck.

– 1994, in the month of November, funeral of Louis Henry, deputy burgomaster and alderman for civil status in Ixelles, he married 26,000 couples during his 25-year term of office.

– 1996, in the month of July, a C-130 from the Belgian armed forces crashed at Eindhoven airport in the Netherlands. The crew acted heroically to save the passengers and they lost their lives there. H. Bouvy & Fils funeral parlour arranged four of victims’ funerals.

For many years now, H. Bouvy & Fils funeral parlour have specialised in the repatriation of bodies to other countries. Countries such as Tunisia, Angola and the Congo regularly use our services to repatriate their citizens to their native soil.