Braine-l'Alleud

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Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium
Municipality of Belgium
Braine-l'Alleud JPG01.jpg
Flag of Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium
Flag
Coat of arms of Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium
Coat of arms
Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium is located in Belgium
Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium
Braine-l'Alleud, Brabant, Belgium
Location in Belgium
Coordinates: 50°41′N 04°22′E / 50.683°N 4.367°E / 50.683; 4.367Coordinates: 50°41′N 04°22′E / 50.683°N 4.367°E / 50.683; 4.367
Country Belgium
Community French Community
Region Wallonia
Province Walloon Brabant
Arrondissement Nivelles
Government
 • Mayor Vincent Scourneau (MR-IC)
 • Governing party/ies MR-IC, PS
Area
 • Total 52.12 km2 (20.12 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2013)[1]
 • Total 38,882
 • Density 750/km2 (1,900/sq mi)
Postal codes 1420, 1421, 1428
Area codes 02
Website www.braine-lalleud.be

Braine-l'Alleud (Dutch: Eigenbrakel) is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant, about 20 kilometers south of Brussels. The Braine-l'Alleud municipality includes the former municipalities of Braine-l'Alleud proper, Ophain-Bois-Seigneur-Isaac, and Lillois-Witterzée. It also includes the hamlet of Sart-Moulin, the inverted name of which inspired Hergé’s Moulinsart castle. The famous Lion of Waterloo is actually located on the territory of Braine-l'Alleud. Bordering Flanders, the town is home to a minority of Dutch-speakers.

History[edit]

Middle Ages[edit]

Several archaeological finds point to prehistoric settlements in this area. The first historical mention of a parish on Braine-l'Alleud's current territory, then called Dudinsart, dates from 1131, date at which Godfrey I, Duke of Brabant ceded it to the Abbey of Gembloux. The Duke, however, still owned exempt land (or franchise) on this territory, as specified in a legal document by Henry I dated 1197. The name of the municipality changed to the current one, derived from “Braine”, former name of the stream that crosses its territory (now called the “Hain”), and “alleu”, a medieval French word designating exempt land. The latter name was added to the former to distinguish this community from two neighbouring ones also called Braine.

At the beginning, the franchise might not have been much more than a right to local administration. By 1489, however, the local lord enjoyed complete juridical power on its territory, which was still formally part of the fiefdom obtained from the Duke of Brabant.

Battle of Waterloo[edit]

In 1815, part of the fighting that took place at the Battle of Waterloo actually occurred on the territory of Braine-l’Alleud. The town’s church of Saint-Étienne became a field hospital.

Sights[edit]

  • The Butte du Lion, erected on the famous Battle of Waterloo, attracts thousands of visitors every year. A nearby visitor centre, a wax museum and a painted panorama also help retrace the events that led to Napoleon’s defeat in 1815.
  • Converted into a tourist information centre, the former house of Cardinal Mercier is a good starting point to explore the town.
  • Braine-l'Alleud is also home to a (slightly) smaller version of the well-known Manneken Pis, with the name "Il Gamin Quipiche" (the peeing kid).


Sport[edit]

Braine l'Alleud is home to RCS Braine football club. One of the best clubs in the region for training youngsters. Notably, this was the first club of Belgium and Chelsea star Eden Hazard.

Folklore[edit]

  • Both Ophain and Braine-l'Alleud host yearly carnivals featuring giant puppets like in most other Belgian towns.

Famous inhabitants[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Braine-l'Alleud is twinned with:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Population per municipality on 1 January 2013 (XLS; 607.5 KB)
  2. ^ "National Commission for Decentralised cooperation". Délégation pour l’Action Extérieure des Collectivités Territoriales (Ministère des Affaires étrangères) (in French). Retrieved 2013-12-26. 

External links[edit]