Mechelen

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Mechelen
Mechelen City Hall 01.JPG
Mechelen City Hall
Flag of Mechlin.svg
Flag
Wapen Mechelen.svg
Coat of arms
Belgium location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Mechelen
Location in Belgium
Mechelen municipality and arrondissement in the Flemish province of Antwerp
MechelenLocatie.png
Coordinates: 51°01′N04°28′E / 51.017°N 4.467°E / 51.017; 4.467 Coordinates: 51°01′N04°28′E / 51.017°N 4.467°E / 51.017; 4.467
Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
Region Flemish Region
Province Antwerp
Arrondissement Mechelen
Government
  Mayor Bart Somers (VLD)
  Governing party/ies VLD, CD&V, Groen! , N-VA, Ind.
Area
  Total33.71 km2 (13.02 sq mi)
Population
(1 January 2017) [1]
  Total85,665
  Density2,500/km2 (6,600/sq mi)
Postal codes
2800, 2801, 2811, 2812
Area codes 015–03
Website www.mechelen.be

Mechelen (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɛxələ(n)] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ), French : Malines, traditional English name: Mechlin [n 1] ) is a city and municipality in the province of Antwerp, Flanders, Belgium. The municipality comprises the city of Mechelen proper, some quarters at its outskirts, the hamlets of Nekkerspoel (adjacent) and Battel (a few kilometers away), as well as the villages of Walem, Heffen, Leest, Hombeek, and Muizen. The Dyle (Dutch : Dijle) flows through the city, hence it is often referred to as the Dijlestad ("City on the river Dijle").

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Municipalities of Belgium administrative division of Belgium

Belgium comprises 581 municipalities grouped into five provinces in each of two regions and into a third region, the Brussels-Capital Region, comprising 19 municipalities that do not belong to a province. In most cases, the municipalities are the smallest administrative subdivisions of Belgium, but in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, on the initiative of the local council, sub-municipal administrative entities with elected councils may be created. As such, only Antwerp, having over 500,000 inhabitants, became subdivided into nine districts. The Belgian arrondissements, an administrative level between province and municipality, or the lowest judicial level, are in English sometimes called districts as well.

Flemish Region Region of Belgium

The Flemish Region is one of the three regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders. It occupies the northern part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,522 km2. It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 480 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Contents

Mechelen lies on the major urban and industrial axis BrusselsAntwerp, about 25 km from each city. Inhabitants find employment at Mechelen's southern industrial and northern office estates, as well as at offices or industry near the capital and Zaventem Airport, or at industrial plants near Antwerp's seaport.

Flemish Diamond

The Flemish Diamond is the Flemish reference to a network of four metropolitan areas in Belgium, three of which are in the central provinces of Flanders, together with the Brussels Capital Region. It consists of four agglomerations which form the four corners of an abstract diamond shape: Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and Leuven. Over five million people live in this area, with a population density of about 820 per square kilometre.

Brussels Capital region of Belgium

Brussels, officially the Brussels-Capital Region, is a region of Belgium comprising 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels, which is the capital of Belgium. The Brussels-Capital Region is located in the central portion of the country and is a part of both the French Community of Belgium and the Flemish Community, but is separate from the Flemish Region and the Walloon Region. Brussels is the most densely populated and the richest region in Belgium in terms of GDP per capita. It covers 161 km2 (62 sq mi), a relatively small area compared to the two other regions, and has a population of 1.2 million. The metropolitan area of Brussels counts over 2.1 million people, which makes it the largest in Belgium. It is also part of a large conurbation extending towards Ghent, Antwerp, Leuven and Walloon Brabant, home to over 5 million people.

Antwerp Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Antwerp is a city in Belgium, and is the capital of Antwerp province in Flanders. With a population of 520,504, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium, and with 1,200,000 the second largest metropolitan region after Brussels.

Mechelen is one of Flanders' prominent cities of historical art, with Antwerp, Bruges, Brussels, Ghent, and Leuven. It was notably a centre for artistic production during the Northern Renaissance, when painters, printmakers, illuminators and composers of polyphony were attracted by patrons such as Margaret of York, Margaret of Austria and Hieronymus van Busleyden . [2] [3] [4]

Bruges Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.

Ghent Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Ghent is a city and a municipality in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is the capital and largest city of the East Flanders province, and the second largest municipality in Belgium, after Antwerp. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Leie and in the Late Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of northern Europe, with some 50,000 people in 1300. It is a port and university city.

Leuven Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Leuven or Louvain is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium. It is located about 25 kilometres east of Brussels. The municipality itself comprises the historic city and the former neighbouring municipalities of Heverlee, Kessel-Lo, a part of Korbeek-Lo, Wilsele and Wijgmaal. It is the eighth largest city in Belgium and the fourth in Flanders with more than 100,244 inhabitants.

History

Mechelen: Grote Markt (Large Market square), St. Rumbold's Cathedral Mechelen Sint-Rombouts.JPG
Mechelen: Grote Markt (Large Market square), St. Rumbold's Cathedral
Mechelen on the Ferraris map (around 1775) Mechelen, Belgium ; Ferraris Map.jpg
Mechelen on the Ferraris map (around 1775)

Early ages

Archaeological proof of habitation during the La Tène era in the triangle Brussels-Leuven-Antwerp, mainly concentrated around Mechelen which originated in wetlands, includes an 8.4 metre long canoe cut from an oak tree trunk and a settlement of about five wooden houses, at Nekkerspoel. [5]

Nekkerspoel

Nekkerspoel is a hamlet of Mechelen, Belgium, immediately east of the city. The name means pool of one or more Nekkers or water demons, and it is assumed that in earlier centuries locals taking a shortcut trodding through the marshlands of which the Mechels Broek still remains, may have strayed off safer pathways and lost their lives. In 1904, remnants dating from the La Tène era of a settlement of several wooden houses and an 8.4 metre long canoe cut out of an oak tree-trunk, were found at a depth of 5 metres.

The area of Mechelen was settled on the banks of the river during the Gallo-Roman period as evidenced by several Roman ruins and roads. Upon Rome's declining influence, during 3rd–4th centuries the area became inhabited by Germanic tribes. A few centuries later Christianized assumedly by the Irish or Scottish missionary St Rumbold (Rombout in Dutch) who was also said to have built a monastery. Work on the cathedral that is dedicated to the saint started around 1200.

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 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, dating from the 8th century 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.

Germanic peoples peoples who are, or are related to, native speakers of a Germanic language

The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethnolinguistic group of Northern European origin identified by their use of the Germanic languages. Their history stretches from the 2nd millennium BCE up to the present day.

Christianization is the conversion of individuals to Christianity or the conversion of entire groups at once. Various strategies and techniques were employed in Christianization campaigns from Late Antiquity and throughout the Middle Ages. Often the conversion of the ruler was followed by the compulsory baptism of his subjects. Some were evangelization by monks or priests, organic growth within an already partly Christianized society, or by campaigns against paganism such as the conversion of pagan temples into Christian churches or the condemnation of pagan gods and practices. A strategy for Christianization was Interpretatio Christiana – the practice of converting native pagan practices and culture, pagan religious imagery, pagan sites and the pagan calendar to Christian uses, due to the Christian efforts at proselytism (evangelism) based on the Great Commission.

Antwerp lost profitable stapelrechten (rights as first seller) for wool, oats and salt to Mechelen in 1303 when John II, Duke of Brabant, granted City rights to the town. This started a rivalry between these cities that would last well into the 20th century.

15th Century and beyond

In the 15th century, the city came under the rule of the Dukes of Burgundy, marking the beginning of a prosperous period. In 1473 Charles the Bold moved several political bodies to the city, and Mechelen served as the seat of the Superior Court until the French Revolution. In 1490, a regular postal service between Mechelen and Innsbruck was established.

The highly lucrative cloth trade gained Mechelen wealth and power during the Late Middle Ages and it even became the capital of the Low Countries (very roughly the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg) in the first half of the 16th century under Archduchess Margaret of Austria.

During the 16th century the city's political influence decreased dramatically, due to many governmental institutions being moved to Brussels. Mechelen compensated for this by increasing prominence in the religious arena: in 1559 it was proclaimed the Archdiocese of Mechelen, seat of religious authority over the territory that would eventually become Belgium. In 1961, "Brussels" was added to the title, resulting in the current Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels.

Mechelen also retained further relevance as the Great Council of Mechelen remained the supreme court of the territory until the French Revolutionary Wars. In 1572, during the Eighty Years' War, the city was burned and sacked by the Spanish. After this pillaging, the city was rebuilt. It was during this time that the tradition of furniture making, still seen today, began.

In 1718 a major rebellion took place in the city, angry mobs entered the town hall. During this time Lord Pierre de Romrée was mayor of Mechelen. The chaos ended when the Emperor formally requested the President of the Great Council to restore peace. On 18 June, Christophe-Ernest de Baillet received a full list of the people who led the troubles. The President received the support of multiple regiments that had been sent by imperial command. Ten persons were arrested during the night, however this failed

and the people managed to pursue the rebellion. After negotiations de Baillet restored peace and order in the city. [6]

In 1781, Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor, ordered the destruction of the city's fortified walls – their former location however continues to be referred to in the Latin terms intra muros (within the walls) and extra muros (outside), and meanwhile the site became that of the inner ring road. [7]

The city entered the industrial age in the 19th century. In 1835, the first railway on the European continent linked Brussels with Mechelen, which became the hub of the Belgian railway network. This led to a development of metalworking industries, among others the central railway workshops which are still located in the town today. During the Second World War, the extensive Mechlinian [n 1] railway structure had caused the Nazi occupation forces to choose Mechelen for their infamous transit camp. Over 25,000 Jews and Roma were sent by rail to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp from Mechelen. The site of the transit camp now houses the Jewish Museum of Deportation and Resistance.

Several famous meetings on the Christian religion are connected to the name of the city. One in 1909 is thought to have inaugurated the Liturgical Movement. Between 1921 and 1925 a series of unofficial conferences, known as the Malines Conversations, [n 1] presided over by Cardinal Mercier and attended by Anglican divines and laymen, including Lord Halifax, was the most significant of early attempts at the reconciliation between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

Folklore

Statue of Neptune in Mechelen. The statue is also called Vadderik (lazy fat man). It is part of a water fountain erected in 1718. It was made by Frans Langhemans, a sculptor from Mechelen, at the behest of the city council. The inscription reads SPQM or Senatus Populusque Mechliensis (the council and population of Mechlin). Mechelen Neptunus 02.jpg
Statue of Neptune in Mechelen. The statue is also called Vadderik (lazy fat man). It is part of a water fountain erected in 1718. It was made by Frans Langhemans, a sculptor from Mechelen, at the behest of the city council. The inscription reads SPQM or Senatus Populusque Mechliensis (the council and population of Mechlin).

Most cities in Flanders have a mock name for their inhabitants. Since 1687, for their heroic attempt to fight the fire high up in the Saint-Rumbold's Tower, where the gothic windows had shown the flaring of only the moon between clouds, Mechlinians have been called Maneblussers (moon extinguishers).

Once every 25 years, a Parade, the Ommegang, commemorates both the arrival of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, father of Archduchess Margaret of Austria, and also other major events of the city's past. The Ommegang had an extra edition in 2000 for the 500th anniversary of the birth of Charles V. This cortege shows the city's six 15th–17th-century Giants and other serious and humoresque puppets and carts, all typically made on a huge scale, and has been UNESCO Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity since 2005.

The city's 17th-century wooden mascot, which since 1775 has been called Opsinjoorke 'the doll', is pulled about on a sheet as part of the Ommegang. Nowadays, it is the replica that is so pulled around the city. A recent bronze statue depicting the Opsinjoorke stands in front of the Belfry.

The annual parade of carts decorated with flowers (comparable to that of Blankenberge for Mechlinian florists still prepare up to half of decorations), and with vegetables, – all of which are local to the area—has been indefinitely canceled since the beginning of the 21st century due to lack of financing by the City. [8]

In spring, a legendary holy statue of Our Lady is the main feature in the Procession of Hanswijk.

Dialect

Informally, many Mechlinians (Dutch Mechelaars, locally pronounced Mecheleirs) speak Mechlinian (Mechels), a Dutch dialect which is distinct from other Brabantic dialects.

Since 1995, a subscribers' quarterly, De Mecheleir, shows old photographs of Mechelen and has stories on the local history, as well as a few columns written mimicking the dialect, for which there is no standard spelling. [9]

Specialties

The brewery Het Anker, home of the Gouden Carolus beer Het Anker.jpg
The brewery Het Anker, home of the Gouden Carolus beer

Historically famous Mechlinian trades include laken (woollen cloth), tapestries, cordwain, Mechlin lace (precious bobbin lace, already from the early 18th century), wood carving and sculpturing, and furniture.

Mechelen was at the heart of the revival of the carillon in the early 20th century, and hosts its principal school in the world to this day. [10] [11]

The area around Mechelen is famous for the cultivation of vegetables, among which are Belgian endive (witloof), asparagus, and cauliflower. Founded in the city, the Mechelse Veilingen in neighbouring Sint-Katelijne-Waver is the largest co-operative vegetable auction in Europe. [12]

One of the four breeds of the Belgian Sheepdog is the local Malinois. The Mechelse koekoek is a local poultry breed, fleshy chickens with black and white feathers which extend on the birds' legs, with colours reminiscent of a cuckoo, hence the name.

Mechelsen Bruynen was allegedly the emperor Charles V's favourite beer. A version is still brewed in the city at Het Anker brewery, one of the oldest breweries in Belgium. [13]

Climate

Mechelen has an oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb). Mechelen has a narrow temperature range between seasons for its high latitude, in spite of its inland position. Summers are warm and occasionally hot, whereas winters usually remain above freezing. Similar to Belgium as a whole, the climate is relatively cloudy and receives frequent rainfall, often light.

Climate data for Mechelen (1981–2010 normals, sunshine 1984–2013)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)6.2
(43.2)
7.0
(44.6)
10.8
(51.4)
14.5
(58.1)
18.5
(65.3)
21.1
(70.0)
23.4
(74.1)
23.2
(73.8)
19.7
(67.5)
15.3
(59.5)
10.1
(50.2)
6.5
(43.7)
14.7
(58.5)
Daily mean °C (°F)3.5
(38.3)
3.7
(38.7)
6.8
(44.2)
9.6
(49.3)
13.7
(56.7)
16.4
(61.5)
18.6
(65.5)
18.2
(64.8)
15.0
(59.0)
11.3
(52.3)
7.0
(44.6)
4.0
(39.2)
10.6
(51.1)
Average low °C (°F)0.8
(33.4)
0.6
(33.1)
3.0
(37.4)
4.8
(40.6)
8.8
(47.8)
11.6
(52.9)
13.8
(56.8)
13.2
(55.8)
10.5
(50.9)
7.4
(45.3)
4.1
(39.4)
1.6
(34.9)
6.7
(44.1)
Average precipitation mm (inches)69.0
(2.72)
57.5
(2.26)
64.8
(2.55)
46.5
(1.83)
62.0
(2.44)
72.7
(2.86)
75.5
(2.97)
71.8
(2.83)
70.9
(2.79)
71.9
(2.83)
74.4
(2.93)
75.3
(2.96)
812.4
(31.98)
Average precipitation days12.410.712.29.410.810.410.09.710.311.212.412.6132.0
Mean monthly sunshine hours 587712217420720221220114511864481,627
Source: Royal Meteorological Institute [14]

Sports

Home of two of the oldest Belgian football clubs, founded in 1904: K.R.C. Mechelen and K.V. Mechelen. The latter contributed to the international glamour of the city by winning the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup and the European Super Cup in 1988. The number of lesser local teams shows this sport's popularity: Rapid Leest, Sporting Mechelen, Leest Utd., VV Leest, Walem, SK.Heffen, Zennester Hombeek, FC Muizen. In 1985, the city hosted the Canoe Sprint World Championships.

Places of interest

St. Rumbold's Cathedral St-Romboutskathedraal3.jpg
St. Rumbold's Cathedral
City gate: Brusselpoort Mechelen, de Brusselpoort RM3411 foto8 2011-09-23 12.52.jpg
City gate: Brusselpoort
't Groen Waterke Groen waterke Mechelen a.JPG
't Groen Waterke
Dyle Bridge in Mechelen (ca. 1919) by Louis Dewis BridgeBruges.jpg
Dyle Bridge in Mechelen (ca. 1919) by Louis Dewis
  • The Refuge of Sint-Truiden and the Refuge of Tongerlo, retreat mansions for distant abbeys, the latter now housing the Manufacturer De Wit which restores the finest tapestries, for which Flanders was famous in the 16th century.
  • 't Groen Waterke, a picturesque small remnant of bygone canals – in particular of the Melaan, of which a longer stretch was after more than a century uncovered in 2007.
  • A stone pillar De Mijlpaal, now prominent in front of the station, had marked the nearby destination point of the first passenger train ride on the continent. The name was adopted by the railway workers' club for miniature model trains, and by a small museum housed in one of the oldest railroad buildings commemorates the historical event and consequent local industry of national importance. [16]
  • The Clock Museum, also known as the Watchmakers' Museum
  • The Royal Carillon School "Jef Denyn" where carillonneurs come from around the world to study the carillon and playing of the instrument. In fine rococo house 'The ship'.
  • The grounds of the Theravada Buddhist place of worship Wat Dhammapateep (Temple of the Flame of Truth or Reality as taught by the Enlightened One) has since 2005 housed agreen granite Buddha, sculptured in China, seated on a dark green granite soccle – the tallest granite Buddha in Europe.
  • There are over 300 protected monuments in Mechelen. [17]

Politics and government

The city council consists of 43 councillors, elected every six years. The mayor is Bart Somers (Open Vld) since 2001. The Vld-Groen-M+ kartel got an absolute majority of seats in the October 2018 election.

The 2019-2024 city council, elected in October 2018, consists of:

Police

The city of Mechelen uses ANPR cameras since September 2011 to check all inbound and outbound cars against a database of stolen, non-insured and cars listed for other reasons. In case of a positive match, an alarm is generated in the dispatching room, enabling the police to quickly intercept the car. Mechelen was one of the first cities in Belgium to use ANPR on this scale. As of early 2012, 1 million cars per week are checked in this way. Mechelen started this project with SAIT Zenitel. [18]

Mechelen and Willebroek form a unified local police zone since 1 January 2015.

Notable inhabitants

Sister cities

Notes

  1. 1 2 3 Mechelen has been known in English as Mechlin, from where the adjective Mechlinian is derived. This name may still be used, especially in a traditional or historical context. The city's French name Malines had also been used in English in the past (in the 19th and 20th century) however this has largely been abandoned. Meanwhile, the Dutch derived Mechelen began to be used in English increasingly from late 20th century onwards, even while Mechlin remained still in use (for example a Mechlinian is an inhabitant of this city or someone seen as born-and-raised there; the term is also the name of the city dialect; as an adjective Mechlinian may refer to the city or to its dialect.
  2. The birth date of Anne Boleyn is uncertain. From the spring of 1513 to the autumn of 1514, as daughter of a high ranked diplomat she lived either in Margaret's palace, as the later Charles Quint, if she would have been nearly his age; or just across the street in Margaret of York's palace if significantly younger. Margaret of Austria affectionately referred to Anne as "la Petite Boleyn" during a formative stage in her upbringing at the court.

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Jo Haazen is a Flemish musician and carillonneur.

References

  1. Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)
  2. Annual review 2007 Flemish Foreign Affairs - see 13. The art cities action plan (PDF), Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs - Departement Internationaal Vlaanderen, May 2008, p. 22, retrieved 2012-10-31
  3. Tourism in Flanders (PDF), Flemish Department of Foreign Affairs, 10 April 2008, retrieved 2009-10-19, In terms of international tourism, the emphasis lies on six magnificent historic and geographically concentrated cities of art: Brussels, Antwerpen, Brugge, Gent, Leuven and Mechelen[ dead link ]
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  13. "Battle Tours Flanders". telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  14. "Klimaatstatistieken van de Belgische gemeenten" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Meteorological Institute . Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  15. https://www.kazernedossin.eu/EN/
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Literature