Stream of consciousness

Hanane Llouh wants to make the world a better place

6 min
Text Lise Wouters
Image Liz Dvorkina

In ‘Stream of consciousness’, we give the floor to someone from the UAntwerp community. Today it is Hanane Llouh’s turn. She graduated as a historian, but is currently doing her PhD on vacancy figures in Flemish commercial districts (Faculty of Business and Economics). 


What drives you?


The cliche of making the world a better place. Having realised this is difficult due to existing power structures, I’ve set myself a slightly more realistic goal: I hope to make my small microworld a better placed for my loved ones.


What trait do you admire most in your best friends?


My best friends are women I’ve known for 25 years. We grew up together and what I most admire in them is how down to earth they are.

Who was your inspiration?


My family. I come from a close family and everyone continually inspires me in different ways. From my entrepreneurial cousins and powerful aunts to my sisters, each of whom have a unique individuality.


What does the perfect Sunday morning look like for you?


Very Flemish and Moroccan: with rolls, fresh pastries and a pot of mint tea. And enough time to eat and chat at the table at length, without any obligations.


Which professor impressed you the most?


I studied history and each of the professors profoundly impressed me in their own way. Prof. Laes (Ancient History) motivated me to travel to Iran and visit Persepolis, Prof. De Smaele opened the doors to oral history for me, and Prof. Van Damme had a lot to do with me becoming the city historian I am today.

What is your favourite memory of your student days?


On a visit to the AfricaMuseum, we had a guide who was clearly nostalgic about the Belgian colony. The professor accompanying us shut down the tour when the guide started to downplay colonial violence. I also went on X to express my indignation about the statements. A media storm ensued and the guide was called to order by the museum.


What does UAntwerp still mean for you today?


I met my husband at UAntwerp, so that’s a pleasant memory for both of us. I also enjoyed my time as a student, and the surroundings made me into the person I am today. And now I’m back on campus every day, as a member of staff.

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I’ve set myself a slightly more realistic goal: I hope to make my small microworld a better placed for my loved ones.

Hanane Llouh

How did your friends and family react to your career choice?


After I graduated, I spent half a year working for the city of Antwerp as a heritage officer. For a historian, this was a logical career choice. After that, I was given the chance to start a PhD, but in economics. This raised some eyebrows, because I mainly trained in the qualitative aspect and generally avoided the quantitative one, but I’m always up for a challenge.


If you could change your profession for one day, what would you want to do?


I love animals and nature. I would change places with a zookeeper of forest ranger in a second.

What would you still like to achieve?


I would like to have visited every continent. Antarctica and Australia/Oceania are still on my list.


City or countryside?


Live and work in the city, but catch my breath in the countryside now and then.


Fiction or non-fiction?


Non-fiction, with a focus on Moroccan and Islamic history.


Working from home or at the office?


I enjoy the hybrid culture that COVID-19 has given us. I work at the office to be around people and work from home to get things done.

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