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Arlon centre with bell tower of St. Martin's Church
|• Mayor||Vincent Magnus (cdH)|
|• Governing party/ies||cdH, PS|
|• Total||118.64 km2 (45.81 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2013)|
|• Density||240/km2 (620/sq mi)|
|Postal codes||6700, 6704, 6706|
Arlon (French pronunciation: [aʁlɔ̃]; Luxembourgish: Arel; Dutch: Aarlen, pronounced [ˈaːrlə(n)]; German: Arel; Walloon: Årlon) is a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in and capital of the province of Luxembourg. With a population of just over 28,000, it is the smallest provincial capital in Belgium.
|(Margraviate) County of Arlon|
|State of the Holy Roman Empire|
|Historical era||Middle Ages|
|-||Raised to margraviate||ca 1167|
|-||United with the County of Luxemburg||1214|
|-||Annexed to the Duchy of Luxembourg||1221|
Roman and medieval times
Before the Roman conquests of Gaul, the territory of Arlon and a vast area to the southeast were settled by the Treveri, a tribe of mixed Celtic and Germanic origins. The local population adapted relatively easily to Roman culture. The number and quality of sculpted stones and monuments that have been unearthed in the area demonstrate that the vicus of Orolaunum quickly became a vibrant commercial and administrative centre of Roman civilization. The Germanic invasions of the 3rd century destroyed most of these early advances, despite the defensive walls that had been built on the Knipchen hill to protect the vicus.
During most of the Middle Ages, the population still used the earlier buildings such as the thermae. In 1060, Waleran I of Limburg, Count of Arlon, built a castle on the Knipchen hill. In the 13th century, the only women's Cistercian abbey known to date was built in Clairefontaine.
15th century until the French Revolution
The Duchy of Luxembourg itself, of which Arlon was dependent, became part of the Burgundian Netherlands under Philip the Good in 1441. After Charles V's abdication of his empire to his son Philip II of Spain in 1556, a troubled period started for the whole region as continuous wars opposed France, Spain, and the Southern Netherlands. In 1558, nearly half of the city, including its castle, was destroyed by the French troops of Francis, Duke of Guise. In the 17th century, Capuchin monks built a convent on the ruins of the castle and the French strengthened the defensive walls according to Vauban's designs. An accidental fire destroyed a large part of the city again in 1785.
On 9 June 1793 the French Revolutionary troops opposed the Austrians just outside of Arlon. The French emerged victorious and occupied the city. They expelled the Capuchin monks and used their convent as a hospital. After the Battle of Waterloo, Arlon's history is entwined with that of Belgium.
Arlon was one of the first victims of the German invasion in 1914 as 121 inhabitants were executed on 26 August, on the orders of Colonel Richard Karl von Tessmar. Its territory was again among the first to be invaded at the onset of World War II. During the second world war the mayor collaborated with the Germans. He was shot in 1946.
Being situated very close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Arlon has continued to expand with new residential areas and commercial development zones, and many people cross the border everyday to work in the Grand Duchy. One of the largest industrial employers is the Ferrero Rocher chocolate factory. All International express trains make a stop in Arlon, as it is the last station on the main Brussels—Luxembourg City railway line.
- Arlon is best known for holding one of the richest archeological museums in Belgium. It houses numerous examples of Roman sculpture and Merovingian funerary art.
- A fragment of the Gallo-Roman defensive wall that was built in the 3rd century still stands in Arlon.
- The Gaspar Museum is well known for its furniture, paintings, ceramics, and religious art.
- Saint Donat's church now stands on the Knipchen hill, where Waleran I of Limburg once built his castle and the Capuchin monks built their convent.
- Arlon cemetery has the largest Jewish section of all Walloon cemeteries.
- The carnival of Arlon takes place at mid-Lent. It includes the traditional handing of the city keys to the carnival prince and a colourful parade composed of various folk dance groups.
- The Maitrank (German for "drink of May") is the city's most popular refreshment. It is made of white wine in which a local flower, the Asperula odorata, has macerated. Some recipes also add cognac or substitute woodruff for the Asperula. The Maitrank festivities take place in the city every fourth Sunday of May.
People born in Arlon
- Johann Kaspar Basselet von La Rosée, Bavarian general (1710–1795)
- Godefroid Kurth, historian (1847–1916)
- Benoît Lamy, film director (1945–2008)
- Ingrid Lempereur, swimmer (1969)
- Jeroen van Busleyden, humanist (1470-1517)
- Anthony Moris, Belgian footballer (1990)
- Timothy Castagne, Belgian footballer (1995)
Twin towns — sister cities
Arlon is twinned with:
- Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France since 1962
- Diekirch, Luxembourg
- Bitburg, Germany since 1965
- Sulphur, Louisiana, USA
- Hayange, France
- Alba, Italy since 1 March 2004
- Market Drayton, UK
- Population per municipality on 1 January 2013 (XLS; 607.5 KB)
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Arlon.|
- Official site
- Alternative to official site (French)
- Official Maitrank web site (French)
- Official Saint-Martin parish website of Arlon city (French)