The Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is a French-speaking university in Brussels, Belgium. It has 21,000 students, 29% of whom come from abroad, and an equally cosmopolitan staff. There are two universities called the Free University of Brussels, the French-speaking ULB, and the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), so the English name is ambiguous and not commonly used. Some facilities shared by both universities use the name "Brussels Free Universities", abbreviated BFU (e.g. the Brussels Free Universities Computing Center, BFUCC ). The history of the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) is closely linked with that of Belgium itself. When the nine provinces that broke away from the Kingdom of the Netherlands formed the Belgian State in 1830, there were three state universities in the country: Ghent, Liege and Leuven. Even though Brussels had been promoted to the rank of capital, it still had no university. For this reason, in 1831 a group of leading Brussels Masonic figures in the fields of the arts, science and education set themselves the objective of creating a university for the city.
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