Wezembeek-Oppem

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Wezembeek-Oppem
Municipality of Belgium
Flag of Wezembeek-Oppem
Flag
Coat of arms of Wezembeek-Oppem
Coat of arms
Wezembeek-Oppem is located in Belgium
Wezembeek-Oppem
Wezembeek-Oppem
Location in Belgium
Coordinates: 50°51′N 04°29′E / 50.850°N 4.483°E / 50.850; 4.483Coordinates: 50°51′N 04°29′E / 50.850°N 4.483°E / 50.850; 4.483
Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
Region Flemish Region
Province Flemish Brabant
Arrondissement Halle-Vilvoorde
Government
 • Mayor Frédéric Petit (LB-Union)
 • Governing party/ies LB-Union
Area
 • Total 6.82 km2 (2.63 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2013)[1]
 • Total 13,830
 • Density 2,000/km2 (5,300/sq mi)
Postal codes 1970
Area codes 02
Website www.wezembeek-oppem.be

Wezembeek-Oppem [ˌʋeːzəmbeːk ˈɔpəm] ( ) is a municipality in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, ten kilometres east of the centre of Brussels. The municipality only comprises the town of Wezembeek-Oppem proper. On January 1, 2006 Wezembeek-Oppem had a total population of 13,504. The total area is 6.82 km² which gives a population density of 1,980 inhabitants per km².

Wezembeek-Oppem is home to a large community of international expatriates, in part because of the presence of the Internationale Deutsche Schule Brüssel (iDSB) in Wezembeek-Oppem itself, and the British School in nearby Tervuren.

Language controversies[edit]

Wezembeek-Oppem town hall

Wezembeek-Oppem is one of the six municipalities with language facilities in the Flemish Region surrounding the Brussels-Capital Region. Wezembeek-Oppem is the only one of these that does not border Brussels directly since a narrow landstrip belonging to the municipality of Kraainem lies in between.

When the last official language census was taken in 1947, just under 30% of the population in Wezembeek-Oppem had French as their mother tongue.[2] In 1963, when the official language border was finalised in Belgium, the municipality was designed as officially Dutch-speaking, however with facilities for French-speakers. In 1993, when Belgium was turned into a federation, the municipality was included in the newly established Flemish Region.

The official language is Dutch (as everywhere in Flanders), but the facility status means citizens have the right to request official documents from the local administration in French, may get primary school education in French as well as certain other public services.

Orphanage in World War II[edit]

During the Nazi German occupation in the Second World War, Wezembeek was the home of an orphanage set up by the Association of Belgian Jews (fr) (AJB), a Judenrat-like authority forcibly organised by the German occupational force and collaborating with the Nazis.[3] The orphanage was for Jewish children who had been orphaned because their parents were sent to death camps. From August 1944, the AJB, under hard pressure of the Comité de Défense des Juifs (C.D.J.) (the Jewish Defence Committee) decided to hide the children until the end of the occupation. When the school was again taken over by the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge, the children hid in the basement until the United States Army liberated them.

References[edit]