La Libre Belgique

La Libre Belgique
Type Daily newspaper (six times per week)
Format Tabloid
Owner(s) La Libre Belgique S.A.
Publisher IPM publishing group
Editor Vincent Slits
Founded As Le Patriote: 1884
As La Libre Belgique: 1915
Headquarters Rue des Francs 47,
B-1040 Brussels, Belgium
Circulation 42,000 (2010)

La Libre Belgique (French: [la libʁ bɛlʒik]; literally, "The Free Belgium"), now sold under the name La Libre, is a French language daily newspaper in Belgium. It is seen as roughly equivalent to De Standaard in Flanders. The paper was originally pro-catholic, but it is now often critical about the Catholic Church. Along with another high circulation French-speaking newspaper Le Soir, it dominates the market in Wallonia and Brussels.

History and profile

A La Libre Belgique of 1915 when the paper was produced clandestinely during World War I

La Libre Belgique originated as Le Patriot in 1884 and had a pro-Catholic stance.[1] It was renamed La Libre Belgique and was published as part of the underground press in February 1915 during the German occupation of Belgium during World War I.[1][2] The publishers were the brothers Louis and Victor Jourdain who had been active in the world of newspaper publishing before the war. Hence its name which was at the same time an allusion to the collaborationist paper La Belgique. Several weeks before the end of the hostilities, both of the Jourdain brothers died of natural causes. Their work was continued by Victor’s two sons Joseph and Paul Jourdain.

The newspaper was also published secretly during World War II in a number of unofficial editions.[3] Until 1999 the paper had a strong Catholic stance and has a centrist leaning.[2]

La Libre is published six times per week (from Monday to Saturday) by the IPM publishing group[4][5] and has its headquarters in Brussels.[2] The current editor in chief is Vincent Slits. The online edition of the paper was started in 2001.[6] The paper has been published in tabloid format since 2002.[2][6]

La Libre was noted widely as one of the papers involved in a feud with Google relating to which content that could be linked and cached by Google. In July 2011, the paper was totally removed from Google News and Google's normal web search.


During its existence as an underground newspaper during World War II, La Libre Belgique was 40,000 copies in summer 1941.[7] In 1959 the paper reached a record circulation of 190,000 copies.

In 1990 the paper sold 170,000 copies.[8] However, by 1999 it had dropped to 68,212 copies. The 2002 circulation of the paper was 61,463 copies with a market share of 9.6%.[9] The circulation of the paper was 42,000 in copies in 2010.[2]


Aspects of the newspaper's history reflecting the Belgian Resistance appeared in the 1942 feature film Uncensored and the 1941 documentary short Out of Darkness, part of The Passing Parade series.

See also


  1. 1 2 "Communicating Europe Manual: Belgium" (PDF). European Stability Initiative. July 2010. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "La Libre Belgique". Euro Topics. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  3. "London Remembers, Aiming to capture all memorials in London". Brussels remembers. 17 June 1913. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  4. "Belgian French-language news publishers, authors societies and Google reach partnership agreement" (PDF). Copie Presse. Brussels. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  5. Georgios Terzis, ed. (2007). European Media Governance: National and Regional Dimensions. Intellect Books. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-84150-192-5. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
  6. 1 2 "La Libre Belgique". VoxEurop. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  7. E.K. Bramstedt (27 September 2013). Dictatorship and Political Police: The Technique of Control by Fear. Routledge. p. 216. ISBN 978-1-136-23059-2. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  8. Pierre Musso; Philippe Souêtre; Lionel Levasseur (1995). The Printed Press and Television in the Regions of Europe. Council of Europe. p. 133. ISBN 978-92-871-2807-2. Retrieved 19 February 2015.
  9. David Ward (2004). "A Mapping Study of Media Concentration and Ownership in Ten European Countries" (PDF). Dutch Media Authority. Retrieved 12 August 2014.

Further reading

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