|Municipality of Belgium|
Wemmel Town Hall
|• Mayor||Marcel Van Langenhove (LB)|
|• Governing party/ies||LVB|
|• Total||8.74 km2 (3.37 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2013)|
|• Density||1,800/km2 (4,500/sq mi)|
Wemmel [ˈʋɛməl] ( ) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality only comprises the town of Wemmel proper. On January 1, 2006 Wemmel had a total population of 14,774. The total area is 8.74 km² which gives a population density of 1,690 inhabitants per km².
The official language is Dutch, as everywhere in Flanders. In 1954, however, special linguistic facilities were given to local French-speakers. Although outside the Brussels-Capital Region, Wemmel is sometimes considered part of the suburbs of Brussels. The Brussels orbital motorway, known as the ring, cuts through the southern part of the town.
The official language is Dutch, as everywhere in Flanders. In 1954, however, special linguistic facilities were given to local French-speakers (according to an official census, they were more than 30% in 1947). They can request official documents from the local administration in French. Since Wemmel is part of the bilingual judicial and electoral district of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, French can be used before the courts. Some primary and maternity schools also teach in French.
The centre of Wemmel initially developed around the Sint-Servaaskerk (Dutch: Church of Saint Servatius), because the ground there was best suited for building. Around the year 370, Frankish invaders drove out the ruling Romans, who had settle the area around the 2nd century AD. Wemmel eventually became part of the Duchy of Brabant.
One of the first lords of Wemmel of which there is a historical record was marshal Goswinus van Wembelne, who lived at the beginning of the 12th century. His descendants would be the lords of Wemmel until the end of the 12th century, when Isabella van Wembelne married Aernout II of Kraainem, and Wemmel became part of the already considerable possessions of Kraainem. Many notable men would come from this noble family, including Aernout III, who would die fighting on the French king's side at the Battle of the Golden Spurs. His son Leo was a skillful diplomat, who would sign the 1366 treaty that resolved a dispute between the County of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant over the Lordship of Mechelen.
Leo's granddaughter married Gyselbrecht Taye, the lord of Elewijt, and Wemmel once again came under a different lord, this time belonging to the well known Coudenbergh family from Brussels. This family would govern the heerlijkheid as it was raised in status first to a barony and later to a margravate, only losing power in 1792 as France invaded the Low Countries as part of the French Revolutionary Wars.
In 1838, all the ruling family's possessions in Wemmel were sold to William Bernard of Limburg-Stirum, who then became mayor. Two of his daughters would continue to live in the chateau at the centre of the town until 1926. Their heirs donated the chateau to the municipality, and has served as the municipality's town hall ever since.