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Church in Rotselaar
Rotselaar vlag.svg
Wapenschild Rotselaar.jpg
Coat of arms
Belgium location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location in Belgium
Location of Rotselaar in Flemish Brabant
Coordinates: 50°57′N04°43′E / 50.950°N 4.717°E / 50.950; 4.717 Coordinates: 50°57′N04°43′E / 50.950°N 4.717°E / 50.950; 4.717
Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
Region Flemish Region
Province Flemish Brabant
Arrondissement Leuven
  MayorDirk Claes (CD&V)
  Governing party/ies CD&V, N-VA
  Total37.57 km2 (14.51 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2017) [1]
  Density440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Postal codes 3110, 3111, 3118
Area codes 016

Rotselaar (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɔtsəlaːr] ) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish-Brabant, near the convergence of the Demer and the Dijle. Since January 1, 1977 the municipality comprises the towns of Rotselaar proper, Werchter and Wezemaal. On January 1, 2006, Rotselaar had a total population of 15,068. The total area is 37.57 km² which gives a population density of 401 inhabitants per km².

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

A municipality is usually a single urban 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 sovereign state 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.

Flemish Brabant Province of Belgium

Flemish Brabant is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Belgian provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Liège, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut and East Flanders. Flemish Brabant also surrounds the Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital is Leuven. It has an area of 2,106 km² which is divided into two administrative districts containing 65 municipalities.



Rotselaar is located at the convergence of two rivers, the Demer and the Dijle, which in turn have the Winge and the Losting as tributaries, and the Laak River forms the border between Werchter and Tremelo to the north. It's also located at the junction of three geographical areas. In rough terms, Werchter to the north of the Demer is a part of the South Campine, Wezemaal and Rotselaar Heikant of the Hageland, whereas Rotselaar-Centre to the west of the Dijle is a part of Binnen-Vlaanderen (Inner Flanders), which is also known as Dijleland. [2]

Demer river in Belgium

The Demer is an 85-kilometre (53 mi) long river in eastern Belgium, right tributary of the Dijle. It flows through the Belgian provinces Limburg and Flemish Brabant. Its source is near Tongeren. It flows into the river Dijle in Werchter, Rotselaar municipality.

Werchter Place in Flemish Region, Belgium

Werchter is a small village in Belgium which has been part of the municipality of Rotselaar since 1 January 1977. It is the site of Rock Werchter and the birthplace of the painters Cornelius Van Leemputten and Frans Van Leemputten. The origin of the Werchter's name is unknown, but is thought to be related to water.

Tremelo Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Tremelo is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders. The municipality comprises the towns of Baal and Tremelo proper. On January 1, 2006, Tremelo had a total population of 13,725. The total area is 21.57 km² which gives a population density of 636 inhabitants per km².


Rotselaar and Wezemaal were first mentioned in written accounts in 1044. Only a century later, between 1138 and 1152, Werchter appears in historical documents. [3]

Coat of John of Wesemaele, Marshall of Brabant Blason Jean de Wesemale, Marechal de Brabant (selon Gelre).svg
Coat of John of Wesemaele, Marshall of Brabant

In the 12th century, Rotselaar and Wezemaal were ruled by the Duke of Brabant, whereas the Counts of Aarschot and the House of the Berthouts controlled Werchter. From about 1170, vassals of the Duke of Brabant settled at Wezemaal and Rotselaar. In the course of the 13th century, these vassals rose to the noble Hereditary Marshals of Brabant and started to "rule" the dominium of Rotselaar and Wezemaal as lords. In the 14th century, the Lords of Wezemaal and Rotselaar managed to detract Werchter (and Haacht) from the sphere of influence of the House of the Berthouts, thus uniting the three villages of Wezemaal, Werchter and Rotselaar for the first time in history, which from that moment on together formed the Land, or the Barony of Rotselaar. The Barony of Rotselaar passed into the hands of the powerful House of Croÿ in 1516, to be added to the Margraviate of Aarschot, which was later elevated to the Duchy of Aarschot in 1533.

The Duke of Brabant was formally the ruler of the Duchy of Brabant since 1183/1184. The title was created by the German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa in favor of Henry I of the House of Reginar, son of Godfrey III of Leuven. The Duchy of Brabant was a feudal elevation of the since 1085/1086 existing title of Landgrave of Brabant. This was an Imperial fief which was assigned to Count Henry III of Leuven shortly after the death of the preceding Count of Brabant, Count Palatine Herman II of Lotharingia. Although the corresponding county was quite small its name was applied to the entire country under control of the Dukes from the 13th century on. In 1190, after the death of Godfrey III, Henry I also became Duke of Lotharingia. Formerly Lower Lotharingia, this title was now practically without territorial authority, but was borne by the later Dukes of Brabant as an honorific title.

Aarschot Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Aarschot is a city and municipality in the province of Flemish Brabant, in Flanders, Belgium. The municipality comprises the city of Aarschot proper and the towns of Gelrode, Langdorp and Rillaar. On January 1, 2006, Aarschot had a total population of 27,864. The total area is 62.52 km² which gives a population density of 446 inhabitants per km².

Dominium, a legal term meaning "Dominion; control; ownership," forms several related compounds in legal Latin:

Until deep in the 19th century, the inhabitants lived primarily of agriculture. From 1488 onwards, the population of Wezemaal, Werchter and Rotselaar was severely hit by periodically recurring wars (1488-1489, 1542, and a series of wars from 1570 up to 1750). From 1750, welfare began to increase again, first thanks to agricultural innovations and in the second half of the 19th century thanks to the effects of the Industrial Revolution.

Agriculture Cultivation of plants and animals to provide useful products

Agriculture is the science and art of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that enabled people to live in cities. The history of agriculture began thousands of years ago. After gathering wild grains beginning at least 105,000 years ago, nascent farmers began to plant them around 11,500 years ago. Pigs, sheep and cattle were domesticated over 10,000 years ago. Plants were independently cultivated in at least 11 regions of the world. Industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture in the twentieth century came to dominate agricultural output, though about 2 billion people still depended on subsistence agriculture into the twenty-first.

Industrial Revolution Mid-20th-to-early-21th-century period; First Industrial Revolution evolved into the Second Industrial Revolution in the transition years between 1840 and 1870

The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Europe and the US, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the factory system. The Industrial Revolution also led to an unprecedented rise in the rate of population growth.

An artillery duel was fought in Rotselaar in the First World War, known as the ‘Slag aan de Molen’ (English: Battle of the Mill). In that battle, 360 Belgian and German soldiers were killed. During the First World War, a total 67 houses were burned and 38 civilians were killed in Rotselaar.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.


Origin of the names Rotselaar, Wezemaal en Werchter

The origin of the placenames is unclear. Rotselaar is thought to mean "laar of Hrosda". A laar (plural form is laren) is an open spot or clearing in a forest suitable for living, laren were used quite intensively by man in the past, amongst others for grazing the cattle, and Hrosda is a male Germanic name. Wezemaal is believed to come from "Wis" and "male" (a depression), and Werchter is thought to be a watername, but the meaning of the name is unknown. [3]

When the name of Rotselaar first appeared in written accounts, it was spelled "Rotslar". Over the centuries, this evolved into "Rotselaer", and eventually into "Rotselaar". In Middle Dutch, the "e" in "Rotselaer" was used to show that the vowel preceding it sounds longer, in modern spelling the vowel is doubled to achieve the same effect, which gives "Rotselaar".

Meanings of the name Rotselaar

The name "Rotselaar" can have four different meanings, and it is important to make a distinction between these meanings in order to avoid ambiguities. In a first meaning, "Rotselaar" refers to the whole of the municipality of Rotselaar as it exists since the merger of municipalities that came into effect on January 1, 1977 and reduced the number of autonomous municipalities in Belgium to 589. If used in this sense, the name "Rotselaar" includes Wezemaal and Werchter. The term "Groot-Rotselaar" (Greater Rotselaar) is also commonly used to refer to Rotselaar, Wezemaal and Werchter as a whole. In a second meaning, "Rotselaar" refers specifically to the town of Rotselaar proper as it existed before the merger with Wezemaal and Werchter in 1977. This is, especially within Groot-Rotselaar, the most common meaning of the name "Rotselaar". In a third meaning, "Rotselaar" refers to the historical Land of Rotselaar, which comprised not only modern-day Rotselaar, Wezemaal and Werchter, but also other villages, such as Haacht and Wakkerzeel. The name "Rotselaar" in this sense is rarely used.

Rotselaar can also have a fourth meaning, where it refers to Rotselaar-Centre, as opposed to Rotselaar Heikant, which is also referred to as simply "Heikant". Rotselaar proper (as it existed prior to 1977) consists of two parts: Rotselaar-Centre and Rotselaar Heikant. If used in this sense, the name "Rotselaar" refers only to Rotselaar-Centre and doesn't include Heikant. In most cases, the name "Rotselaar" includes Rotselaar Heikant, but the name "Heikant" is commonly used to distinguish between the two parts of Rotselaar.

Local government

Rotselaar town hall RotselaarTownHall.jpg
Rotselaar town hall

Municipal Council

The Municipal Council is a unicameral body composed of 25 councillors, including the mayor and aldermen. The councillors are elected directly by the voters in the municipality. The Municipal Council is renewed entirely every six years. The municipal elections of October 8, 2006 were the first municipal and provincial elections in Belgium since the transfer of the competence with regards to the municipalities and provinces from the Federal Government to the Regions on June 13, 2001.

The Municipal Council is responsible for everything that is of local interest. This organ draws up rules and ordinances, establishes municipal taxes, approves the budget and the accounts of the municipality, scrutinises the local services, and looks after the interests of its population in general (spatial planning, road building, security, health, youth, sport,...). The Council also appoints the aldermen. The mayor is nominated by the majority and appointed by the Flemish Government. The Council meets once per month.

Between 2007 and 2013, the majority consisted of the CD&V/N-VA combined list, with 14 out of 25 seats. VLD (5 seats), SP.A-Spirit (2 seats), Groen!Sociaal (2 seats) and Vlaams Belang (2 seats) were in the opposition in the Municipal Council, and together had 11 seats out of 25. The Presiding Officer of the Municipal Council was Werner Mertens (CD&V).

Between 2013 and 2018, the majority consisted of CD&V and OpenVLD, CD&V having attained 12 seats, and OpenVLD 3 seats, forming a majority. NV-A (5 seats), GroenSociaal (2 seats) and anders (a local party, 3 seats) were part of the opposition.

In the elections of October 2018, CD&V stayed the largest party with 10 seats, followed by N-VA (5 seats), Open VLD (3 seats), anders (3 seats), Groen (3 seats) and SP.A (1 seat). [4] CD&V announced a coalition with the second party N-VA to form a majority for the legislative session of 2019 and beyond. [5]

College of Mayor and Aldermen

The current Mayor of Rotselaar is Dirk Claes (CD&V). His primary responsibilities as mayor include, but are not limited to: security (police, fire service and mobility), personnel, administration and organisation, festivities, honorary and legal affairs, and tourism. [6] The mayor is assisted by a number of aldermen, who together form the College of Mayor and Aldermen. Rotselaar is entitled to five aldermen because it has between 10,000 and 19,999 inhabitants. The College of Mayor and Aldermen is also sometimes commonly referred to as the College of Aldermen.

Coat of Arms Wapenschild Rotselaar.jpg
Coat of Arms
Logo RotselaarLogo.png

The official coat of arms of the municipality of Rotselaar was adopted by the municipal council in 1968 and ratified by Royal Decree in 1973. After the merger with the municipalities of Werchter and Wezemaal, the coat of arms was confirmed by the municipal council and 1981 and ratified in 1982. The coat of arms consists of three fleur-de-lis gules on a field of silver.

In line with many other municipalities adopting modern fashions, the municipal government decided in 2002 to introduce a new house style with a modern logo replacing the coat of arms in communication and on municipal documents. [7]

This is the meaning of the logo: the keep "Ter Heide" is the symbol for the cultural heritage of Rotselaar, the field tracks symbolise the rural aspects of the municipality and the agriculture, the blue river is the symbol for the three rivers of Rotselaar, the Demer, the Dijle and the Winge, and the lake, the green represents the natural environment and nature reserves of Rotselaar, the plantations and the hills covered with forests, and last but not least, the sun gives Rotselaar blossoming vineyards and refers to the recreational facilities and activities in Rotselaar. [8]



There are 7 primary schools in Rotselaar. [9] There is also a secondary school in Rotselaar, the Montfortcollege, which has a good reputation in the field of education in the region. The Montfortcollege also offers boarding facilities. [10] While many of Rotselaar's youths attend primary schools in Rotselaar itself, most go to secondary schools outside of Rotselaar because the waiting lists for the Montfortcollege are often very long, except for boarding school students. Of the youths who attend secondary schools outside of Rotselaar, most go to school in Leuven. The "Hagelandse Academie voor Beeldende Kunst" (Hageland Academy for Visual Arts) is also located in Rotselaar. [11]

Places of interest

Saint John the Baptist's Church, Werchter Kerk Werchter.jpg
Saint John the Baptist's Church, Werchter


The Domain Ter Heide is the main recreational domain in Rotselaar. It is also called, in Dutch, "het meer van Rotselaar" or "de Plas van Rotselaar" (the lake of Rotselaar). It is popular among walkers, cyclists and bird-watchers. Fishing is allowed in the fishing zone domain from June 1 to April 15, between sunrise and sunset. But you have to have a public Flemish fishing permit, which is available in the post office. [12]

A variety of other leisure activities are also possible, such as swimming or sunbathing. Outside of the swimming season, the domain's swimming zone is open daily from 08:30 to sunset, but during the swimming season it is open from 10:00 to 20:30. Access to the swimming zone is free for inhabitants of Rotselaar. Others have to pay for entry and swimming is only allowed when lifeguards are present and the green flag is out. The swimming season lasts roughly from the middle of May to the end of August, depending on the weather. The swimming zone is delimited by a ditch and a line of buoys, and swimming is prohibited outside of this zone, among other reasons because there is a surfing zone as well. For reasons of hygiene, dogs are not allowed during the swimming season in the entire domain, however, from September 1 dogs on a leash are allowed in the domain, but not in the swimming zone.

Windsurfing is allowed from the Easter holidays to October 15 in the surfing zone, which is separate from the swimming zone for reasons of safety. Ice skating on natural ice is possible as well, though rarely, but it is strictly forbidden to enter the ice unless the municipal government explicitly allows ice skating. If the municipal government allows ice skating, it will publish so in the local press, the "Dorpskrant" (a local newspaper published by the municipal government) and on the website of Rotselaar. There is also a nature zone in the domain, which is off-limits to the public. Other possible activities include, but are not limited to, squash and beach volleyball.

Rock Werchter

Picture of the Pyramid Marquee at Rock Werchter PyramidM.JPG
Picture of the Pyramid Marquee at Rock Werchter

Rock Werchter is a music festival held annually during the first weekend of the summer holidays in Werchter. It was first organised in 1974 and since 2003 the festival lasts four days, and the 2003 and 2005 editions won the Arthur award for the best festival in the world of the International Live Music Conference. It's the largest music festival in Belgium and one of the largest festivals in Europe. It's even famous over the Belgian borders. Each year, many renowned groups and artists perform at Rock Werchter, and over 320,000 people come to the festival. Originally it was a double-festival, called "Rock Torhout-Werchter", with two festival areas on different places in Belgium: one in Werchter and one in Torhout. There is also a "Rock Werchterroute", a cycling route, around Werchter and Leuven, which also organises an annual music festival which is among the most popular in Belgium, Marktrock.

International friendship

Main street Espargos Cabo Verde Sal Espargos.jpg
Main street Espargos

Rotselaar maintains sister city relationships with Bad Gandersheim, a city in southern Lower Saxony, Germany, located between Hannover and Kassel, since 1987. In 1990, a town twinning committee was created for the purpose of furthering the ties between Rotselaar and Bad Gandersheim through visits, exhibitions, language courses and other initiatives. An annual town twinning weekend is organised as well, alternately in Rotselaar and Bad Gandersheim. [13]

Santa Maria beach Santa maria beach sal.jpg
Santa Maria beach

There has been a cooperation project between Rotselaar and Sal, one of the islands in the archipelago of Cape Verde. The island is around 30 km long by 15 km wide, and has roughly the same number of inhabitants as Rotselaar. Sal has 4 habitational centres: Espargos with the main urban and administrative centre and the international airport of Cape Verde, Santa Maria, where tourism and hotels are situated, Pedra de Lume, once the site of salt collection (hence the name of the island, "sal" is Portuguese for "salt"), and Palmeira, a fishing village with a port. [13]

The request for cooperation came from Sal itself. Basilio Ramos, then Mayor of Sal, sought to establish a link with a municipality in the vicinity of Leuven. As a former student of the K.U.Leuven he wanted to strengthen the ties with Belgium. This form of cooperation is different from the others. The cooperation with Sal is a form of development cooperation where the accent is on exchange and partnership in the administrative and the professional fields, and in particular on the exchange of experiences in the fields of environment and youth work.

In 1989, the municipal government adopted the Romanian village of Vrânceni, which is a part of Căiuţi in the eastern county of Bacău, as part of the project "AdoptieDorpen Roemenië" (Adoption Villages Romania). The local action committee organises various activities throughout the year, of which the yields go to the adoption village. Among others, a school building was constructed in Vrânceni with the help of Rotselaar. [13]

Famous persons

Famous persons that were born, lived or died in Rotselaar, Wezemaal or Werchter include, but are not limited to:

See also

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  1. Population per municipality as of 1 January 2017 (XLS; 397 KB)
  2. "Rotselaar Geografisch" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  3. 1 2 "Geschiedenis" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  4. "Uitslagen 2018" (in Dutch). Flemish Government. Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  5. "CD&V en N-VA stellen nieuwe bestuursploeg voor" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2018-10-31.
  6. "Burgemeester" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  7. "Historiek" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  8. "Logo" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  9. "Basisonderwijs" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  10. "Middelbaar onderwijs" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  11. "Hagelandse Academie" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  12. "Recreatie" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.
  13. 1 2 3 "Buiten onze grenzen" (in Dutch). The Municipality of Rotselaar. Retrieved 2007-07-05.

Further reading