Geraardsbergen is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. It came into existence close to the settlement of Hunnegem. In 1068, Geraardsbergen was one of the first communities in Western Europe to be granted the city status.
Geraardsbergen was destroyed in 1381 by Walter IV of Enghien and his troops. The legend goes that during the siege the people of Geraardsbergen threw some of their food which was left over the city wall. By this they wanted to show that they had enough food to survive a siege for a long time. This bravado notwithstanding, the city was still captured by Enghien's troops. This event lives further in the city. Every year during carnaval the city organizes on top of the Oudenberg (111m) the 'krakelingenworp' to celebrate this historical event.
On 29 May 1815, shortly before the battle of Waterloo, Wellington and Blücher reviewed the Allied cavalry here. Some 6,000 troops were paraded in meadows on the banks of the Dender between Geraardsbergen and Jedeghem.