|— Municipality of Belgium —|
|• Mayor||Vincent De Wolf (MR)|
|• Total||3.15 km2 (1.22 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2012)|
|• Density||14,000/km2 ( 37,000/sq mi)|
Etterbeek (French: [ɛtəʁˈbek]; Dutch: [ˈɛtərˌbeːk] ( listen)) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. It neighbours the municipalities of the City of Brussels, Ixelles, Auderghem, Woluwe-Saint-Pierre, Woluwe-Saint-Lambert and Schaerbeek.
The main campus of the Dutch-speaking Vrije Universiteit Brussel is called Campus Etterbeek, although it, along with the adjacent de la Plaine campus of the French-speaking Université Libre de Bruxelles, is technically part of Ixelles.
Origins and etymology
According to legend, Gertrude, daughter of Pippin of Landen, founded a chapel here in the 8th century. A document by Otto I, dated 966, mentions the church of Iatrebache. The name Ietrebecca – possibly from the Celtic root ett meaning “rapid movement” and the Dutch word beek meaning “stream” – is found for the first time in a document dated 1127. The current spelling appears eleven years later in 1138, around which time a newer and larger church was built.
In the Middle Ages, Etterbeek was a rural hamlet mostly independent of Brussels, if we don’t count the taxation rights on beer given to Brussels around 1300 by John II, Duke of Brabant. The following two centuries counted several grievous moments: in 1489, Albert, Duke of Saxe ravaged Etterbeek in his pursuit of the rebels who fought against Maximilian of Austria; in 1580, the village is destroyed once more, this time by the iconoclasts during the Protestant Reformation wars. Peace came back under the reigns of Archdukes Albert and Isabella.
Barony and municipality
In 1673, Etterbeek gained its independence from neighbouring Sint-Genesius-Rode, when Charles II of Spain promoted it into a barony. The first baron was Don Diego-Henriquez de Castro, general treasurer of the Netherlands armies. The Castro house was sold in 1767 and can still be seen today as Etterbeek’s oldest building.
Under the French regime, Etterbeek was made into a commune, within the canton of Sint-Stevens-Woluwe. From then on, and especially after the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and the development of Brussels as a capital city, the population of Etterbeek grew quickly. In 1876, there were more than 10,000 inhabitants, in 1900 more than 20,000, and in 1910 more than 33,000. In the 1900s (decade), under the reign of Leopold II, construction boomed and changed the town’s character with the addition of the broad avenues and residential areas that we know today.
Places of interest
- Two catholic churches are located in Etterbeek (Saint-Antoine or Sint-Antonius church and Notre-Dame-du-Sacré-Coeur). A third one (Sainte-Gertrude or Sint-Gertrude church) was destroyed in the 1990s as it threatened to collapse.
- The Fondation René Carcan, a foundation and museum in René Carcan’s old studio, was located in Etterbeek.
- The Cauchie house was built in 1905 by Art Nouveau architect, painter and designer Paul Cauchie. Its façade is remarkable for its allegorical sgraffiti.
- Of a completely different character, the Barony dates from 1680 and is the oldest building in town.
- Etterbeek has a few green areas, including the Jean-Felix Hap garden. The better known Cinquantenaire park lies on the terriory of both the City of Brussels and Etterbeek. Park Leopold borders the municipality’s territory.
Born in Etterbeek:
- Constantin Meunier, painter and sculptor (1831–1905)
- Arthur Maurice Hocart, anthropologist (1883–1939)
- Georges Rémi a.k.a. Hergé, comics writer and artist, creator of The Adventures of Tintin (1907–1983)
- Jean Brachet, biochemist (1909–1998)
- Monique De Wael a.k.a. Misha Defonseca (1937) writer of Misha: A Mémoire of the Holocaust Years
- André Franquin, cartoonist, creator of Gaston and the Marsupilami (1924–1997)
- Giani Esposito (1930–1974), actor
- Alexandre de Merode, member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) (1934–2002)
- Roland Lethem, filmmaker and writer (born 1942)
- Daniel Hulet, cartoonist (1942–2011)
- Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, German politician (born 1947)
- Herman Van Rompuy, politician (born 1947) and 1st permanent President of the European Council
- Charles Picqué, politician, freemason, and mayor of Saint-Gilles (born 1948)
- Philippe Francq, comic book artist (born 1961)
- Georges Grün, football defender (born 1962)
- Amélie Nothomb, writer (born 1966)
- Lara Fabian, international singer (born 1970)
- Richard Makela a.k.a. Monsieur R, rap artist (born 1975)
- Jérôme d'Ambrosio, racing driver (born 1985)
- Marouane Fellaini, football player (born 1987)
Lived part of their life in Etterbeek:
- Adrien de Gerlache, officer of the Belgian Navy and leader of two Belgian Antarctic Expeditions (1866–1934)
- Jean Absil, composer and organist (1893–1974)
- Edgar Pierre Jacobs, comic book artist, creator of Blake and Mortimer (1904–1987)
- René Carcan, engraver and sculptor (1925–1993)
- Jean-Baptiste Baronian, Belgian-Armenian writer (born 1942)
- W.F. Hermans, Dutch writer (1921–1995)
Buried in Etterbeek:
- Moise Tshombe, a Congolese politician
There is a rail station called Gare d'Etterbeek or Etterbeek-Station but, like the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, it is also located in Ixelles or Elsene. Presently, Etterbeek has one rail station (Mérode) and three metro stations (Mérode, Thieffry and Pétillon).
- Etterbeek hosts two football clubs (R.R.C. Etterbeek and Armenia) playing in Belgian Provincial leagues at the Guy Thys stadium, named after the famous Belgian manager in summer 2003. He led Belgium national football team to fourth place at the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
- In the summer of 1996, the municipal swimming pool burnt down. It has now been rebuilt and is again open to the public.
Proposed redevelopment "Les Jardins de la Chasse"
A project is currently proposed to redevelop an area of Etterbeek near the Avenue des Casernes. This project would result in the town hall and police station being relocated to new buildings in a central administrative centre on this site. The new site is being called the Jardins de la Chasse (French) or Tuinen van de Jacht (Dutch).
Etterbeek hosts an annual medieval market at the end of May on the Avenue du 2ème Régiment de Lanciers in the south of the municipality.
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