Last updated
Herstal w.jpg
Flag of Herstal.svg
Blason Herstal.svg
Coat of arms
Belgium location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Belgium
Location of Herstal in Liège province
Herstal Liege Belgium Map.png
Coordinates: 50°40′N05°38′E / 50.667°N 5.633°E / 50.667; 5.633 Coordinates: 50°40′N05°38′E / 50.667°N 5.633°E / 50.667; 5.633
Country Belgium
Community French Community
Region Wallonia
Province Liège
Arrondissement Liège
  MayorFrédéric Daerden (PS)
  Governing party/ies PS, E.P.H.
  Total23.54 km2 (9.09 sq mi)
 (2018-01-01) [1]
  Density1,700/km2 (4,400/sq mi)
Postal codes
Area codes 04
Website www.herstal.be

Herstal, formerly known as Heristal, or Héristal, is a municipality of Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region and Province of Liège along the Meuse river. Herstal is included in the "Greater Liège" agglomeration, which counts about 600,000 inhabitants.

Municipality An administrative division having corporate status and usually some powers of self-government or jurisdiction

A municipality is usually a single administrative division having corporate status and powers of self-government or jurisdiction as granted by national and regional laws to which it is subordinate. It is to be distinguished (usually) from the county, which may encompass rural territory or numerous small communities such as towns, villages and hamlets.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Wallonia Region of Belgium

Wallonia is a region of Belgium. As the southern portion of the country, Wallonia is primarily French-speaking, and accounts for 55% of Belgium's territory and a third of its population. The Walloon Region was not merged with the French Community of Belgium, which is the political entity responsible for matters related mainly to culture and education, because the French Community of Belgium encompasses both Wallonia and the majority French-Speaking Brussels-Capital Region.


Herstal municipality includes the former communes of Milmort, Vottem, and Liers (partly, the other part being incorporated into Juprelle). A large armaments factory, the Fabrique Nationale or FN, and the biggest industrial zone of Wallonia (Haut-Sart) provide employment locally.

Vottem is a town in the Belgian province of Liège, with a population of 38,750. It is near Rocourt, Liers, and Milmort, and lies in the municipality of Herstal.

Juprelle Municipality in French Community, Belgium

Juprelle is a municipality of Belgium. It lies in the country's Walloon Region and Province of Liege. On 1 January 2006 Juprelle had a total resident population of 8,405. The total area is 35.36 km² which gives a population density of 238 inhabitants per km².


Merovingian and Carolingian golden age

The proximity of the Meuse River and the abundance of local resources attracted settlers in this area since the fifth millennium BC. Around the end of the Roman era and at the beginning of the Merovingian period, the hamlet had become a fortified stronghold. The major road that linked Tongeren to Aachen crossed the Meuse here, where a ferry likely carried travelers to Jupille.

Ancient Rome History of Rome from the 8th-century BC to the 5th-century

In historiography, ancient Rome is Roman civilization from the founding of the Italian city of Rome in the 8th century BC to the collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD, encompassing the Roman Kingdom, Roman Republic and Roman Empire until the fall of the western empire. The civilization began as an Italic settlement in the Italian Peninsula, conventionally founded in 753 BC, that grew into the city of Rome and which subsequently gave its name to the empire over which it ruled and to the widespread civilisation the empire developed. The Roman Empire expanded to become one of the largest empires in the ancient world, though still ruled from the city, with an estimated 50 to 90 million inhabitants ) and covering 5.0 million square kilometres at its height in AD 117.

Tongeren Municipality in Limburg, Belgium

Tongeren is a city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Limburg, in the southeastern corner of the Flemish region of Belgium. Tongeren is the oldest town in Belgium, as the only Roman administrative capital within the country's borders. As a Roman city, it was inhabited by the Tungri, and known as Atuatuca Tungrorum, it was the administrative centre of the Civitas Tungrorum district. The city is a member of the Most Ancient European Towns Network.

Aachen Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Aachen, also known as Bad Aachen, and in French and traditional English as Aix-la-Chapelle, is a spa and border city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Aachen developed from a Roman settlement and spa, subsequently becoming the preferred medieval Imperial residence of Charlemagne, and, from 936 to 1531, the place where 31 Holy Roman Emperors were crowned Kings of the Germans.

The name Herstal is of Franconian origin, consisting of the elements hari ("army") and stal ("resting place", compare "stable"). The first mention of Herstal is in Latin documents from ±718 (Cheristalius corrected to Charistalius) and 723 (Harastallius). The first possibly non-Latinized occurrences are Eristail (in 919) and Harstail (1197). [2]

Franconian languages language family

Franconian includes a number of West Germanic languages and dialects possibly derived from the languages and dialects originally spoken by the Franks from their ethnogenesis in the 3rd century AD. A famous likely speaker was Emperor Charlemagne. Linguists have different views about whether these languages and dialects have descended from a single Franconian proto-language, also known as Istvaeonic.

Monument to Charlemagne, Liege, Louis Jehotte, sculptor, 1867 Charlemagne-liege-2.jpg
Monument to Charlemagne, Liège, Louis Jéhotte, sculptor, 1867

Pippin of Herstal (ca 635–714), Mayor of the Palace and de facto ruler of Austrasia and Neustria and founder of the family that established the Carolingian dynasty, probably chose this location as his main residence because of its proximity to the major cities of Tongeren, Maastricht, and Liège. Pippin was the father of Charles Martel, victor of the decisive Battle of Tours that stopped the Arab-Muslim advance into northwestern Europe, and grandfather of Charlemagne, also supposedly born in Herstal. Charlemagne lived for at least fifteen years in Herstal but later established his capital in Aachen, ending Herstal’s period of medieval glory as capital of the empire.

Under the Merovingian dynasty, the mayor of the palace or majordomo was the manager of the household of the Frankish king. The office existed from the sixth century, and during the seventh it evolved into the "power behind the throne" in the northeastern kingdom of Austrasia. In 751, the mayor of the palace, Pepin the Short, orchestrated the deposition of the king, Childeric III, and was crowned in his place.


Austrasia was a territory which formed the northeastern section of the Merovingian Kingdom of the Franks during the 6th to 8th centuries. It was centred on the Meuse, Middle Rhine and the Moselle rivers, and was the original territory of the Franks, including both the so-called Salians and Rhineland Franks, which Clovis I conquered after first taking control of the bordering part of Roman Gaul, now northern France, which is sometimes described in this period as Neustria.

Neustria western part of the kingdom of the Franks

Neustria, or Neustrasia, was the western part of the Kingdom of the Franks.

Late Middle Ages until now

The town was incorporated into the Duchy of Lower Lotharingia, which became part of the Duchy of Brabant at the end of the 12th century. Despite its proximity to Liège, the territory of Herstal did not become part of the Bishopric of Liège until 1740, date at which the prince-bishop Georges-Louis de Berghes bought it from Frederick II of Prussia. [3] By that time, the town was mainly known for its able craftsmen: ceramists, blacksmiths, and clockmakers.

Duchy of Brabant State of the Holy Roman Empire

The Duchy of Brabant was a State of the Holy Roman Empire established in 1183. It developed from the Landgraviate of Brabant and formed the heart of the historic Low Countries, part of the Burgundian Netherlands from 1430 and of the Habsburg Netherlands from 1482, until it was partitioned after the Dutch revolt.

In the 19th century, Herstal became a city of coal and steel. It would, however, become world-famous thanks to the foundation of the Fabrique Nationale, a major armament factory, in 1889. Several motorcycle manufacturers also established themselves in town. On August 7, 1914, at the very beginning of World War I, the invading German army executed 27 civilians and destroyed 10 homes in Herstal.

Engraved firearm from the Fabrique Nationale GP35 Grave JPG1.jpg
Engraved firearm from the Fabrique Nationale

After World War II, heavy industry saw a prolonged period of decline, drastically reducing the number of jobs in these areas. Today, Herstal’s economy is picking up again, with more than 200 companies established on its territory, including Techspace, which manufactures precision parts for the European Space Agency’s Ariane rocket.


Municipal head
Mayor Frédéric Daerden (PS)
Deputy Franco Ianeri (PS)
Marc Haeken (PS)
Jean-Louis Lefebvre (PS)
Christian Laverdeur (PS)
Léon Campstein (PS)
André Namotte (E.P.H.)
Isabelle Thomsin (PS)
Party%Diff. 2000SeatDiff 2000Leader
PS [4] 50,86-1,1420-1Albert Crépin
EPH (PSC)18,99+2,596+1Norbert Weytjens
MR [5] (PRL)14,14+3,244+1Jennifer Maus [6]
PTB [7] 9,38+2,1820Nadia Moscufo
ECOLO [8] 6,62-2,281-1Anne-Marie Meunier-Balthasart

Herstal is a left-wing/socialist stronghold. It was also the strongest area in support of the far-left Workers' Party of Belgium in the 2019 elections, gaining 27.55% of the votes in Herstal. [9]


Notable people

Twin cities

Related Research Articles

Pepin of Herstal Mayor of the Palace

Pepin II, commonly known as Pepin of Herstal, was a Frankish statesman and military leader who de facto ruled Francia as the Mayor of the Palace from 680 until his death. He took the title Duke and Prince of the Franks upon his conquest of all the Frankish realms.

Chilperic II, known as Daniel prior to his coronation, was the youngest son of Childeric II and his half-cousin, king of Neustria from 715 and sole king of the Franks from 718 until his death.

Ansegisel was the younger son of Saint Arnulf, bishop of Metz. He served King Sigebert III of Austrasia (634–656) as a duke and domesticus. He was killed sometime before 679, slain in a feud by his enemy Gundewin. Through his son Pepin, Ansegisel's descendants would eventually become Frankish kings and rule over the Carolingian Empire.

Theuderic III King of the Franks

Theuderic III (c.651–691) was the king of Neustria on two occasions and king of Austrasia from 679 to his death in 691. Thus, he was the king of all the Franks from 679. The son of Clovis II and Balthild, he has been described as a puppet – a roi fainéant – of Ebroin, the Mayor of the Palace, who may have even appointed him without the support of the nobles.

Lambert of Maastricht Bishop of Maastricht

Saint Lambert was the bishop of Maastricht-Liège (Tongeren) from about 670 until his death. Lambert denounced Pepin's liaison with his mistress Alpaida, the mother of Charles Martel. The bishop was murdered during the political turmoil that developed when various families fought for influence as the Merovingian dynasty gave way to the Carolingians. He is considered a martyr for his defence of marriage. His feast day is September 17.

The Pippinids or Arnulfings were a Frankish aristocratic family from Austrasia during the Merovingian period. They dominated the office of mayor of the palace after 687 and eventually supplanted the Merovingians in 751, founding the Carolingian dynasty.

Dagobert III (c.699–715) was Merovingian king of the Franks (711–715).

Chlothar IV King of Austrasia

Chlothar IV was the king of Austrasia from 717 until his death. He was a member of the Merovingian dynasty, and was installed by Charles Martel, a candidate for the office of mayor of the palace, in opposition to Chilperic II, whose realm was thus reduced to Neustria. This marks the first time since 679 that the kingdom of the Franks was divided. Following Chlothar's death, it was reunited under Chilperic.

The Battle of Compiègne was fought on 26 September 715 and was the first definite battle of the civil war which followed the death of Pepin of Heristal, Duke of the Franks, on 16 December 714.

Grimoald II, called the Younger, was the mayor of the palace of Neustria from 695. He was the second son of Pepin of Herstal and Plectrude and his father placed him in the office of mayor of the palace in the Neustrian kingdom in 695, when he was still young.

Drogo was a Frankish nobleman, the eldest son of Pippin of Heristal and Plectrudis. He was the duke of Champagne from the early 690s.

Theudoald was the mayor of the palace, briefly unopposed in 714 after the death of his grandfather, Pepin of Herstal. Then in 715 the nobility acclaimed Ragenfrid mayor of Neustria and Charles Martel mayor of Austrasia.

Plectrude Frankish regent

Plectrude was the consort of Pepin of Herstal, the mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks, from about 670. She was the daughter of Hugobert, seneschal of Clovis IV, and Irmina of Oeren. She was the regent of Neustria during the minority of her grandson Theudoald from 714 until 718.

The Battle of Tertry was an important engagement in Merovingian Gaul between the forces of Austrasia on one side and those of Neustria and Burgundy on the other. It took place in 687 at Tertry, Somme.

Hugobert was a seneschal and a count of the palace at the Merovingian court during the reigns of Theuderic III and Childebert III. He was a grandson of the dux Theotar, and it is assumed, but not proven, that his father was Chugus, who in 617 became mayor of the palace of Austrasia. The juxtaposition of names in the Vita Landiberto episcopi Traiectensis may imply a relationship between him and the family of Saint Lambert.

The Battle of Cologne was fought near the city of Köln in the year 716. The battle is known chiefly as the first battle of Charles Martel's command and is the only defeat of his life.

Quierzy Commune in Hauts-de-France, France

Quierzy is a commune in the Aisne department in Hauts-de-France in northern France, straddling the Oise River between Noyon and Chauny.


  1. "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. Maurits Gysseling, Herstal in the Toponymical Dictionary of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Northern France and West Germany (before 1226).
  3. Histoire de la principauté de Liège, B. Dumoulin, J.L. Kupper, éd. priv., 2002, ( ISBN   2708947753)
  4. OVH. "Félicitations ! Votre domaine a bien été créé chez OVH !".
  5. MR : Section de HERSTAL Archived 2012-06-05 at Archive.today
  6. "Jennifer Maus".
  7. liege.ptb.be: Actuel [ permanent dead link ]
  8. "ECOLO - Ecolo - Groupe local de Liège".
  9. https://www.ptb.be/resultats2019

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Herstal at Wikimedia Commons