Saint-Gilles, Belgium

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Saint-Gilles
Sint-Gillis (Dutch)
StGillesTownHall.jpg
Saint-Gilles' Municipal Hall seen from the Place Maurice Van Meenen/Maurice Van Meenenplein
Flag of Saint-Gilles-lez-Bruxelles.svg
Coat of arms of Saint-Gilles.svg
Location of Saint-Gilles
Saint-Gilles, Belgium
Belgium location map.svg
Red pog.svg
Saint-Gilles
Location in Belgium
Saint-Gilles municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region
Saint-Gilles Brussels-Capital Belgium Map.svg
Coordinates: 50°49′N04°21′E / 50.817°N 4.350°E / 50.817; 4.350
CountryFlag of Belgium (civil).svg  Belgium
Community Flemish Community
French Community
Region Brussels-Capital
Arrondissement Brussels-Capital
Government
  Mayor Jean Spinette (PS)
  Governing party/iesLB, Ecolo-Groen
Area
  Total2.53 km2 (0.98 sq mi)
Population
 (2020-01-01) [1]
  Total49,678
  Density20,000/km2 (51,000/sq mi)
Postal codes
1060
NIS code
21013
Area codes 02
Website stgilles.brussels (in French)
stgillis.brussels (in Dutch)

Saint-Gilles (French, pronounced [sɛ̃ʒil] ) or Sint-Gillis (Dutch, pronounced [sɪntˈxɪlɪs] ) is one of the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium. Located in the southern part of the region, it is bordered by the City of Brussels, Anderlecht, Forest and Ixelles. In common with all of Brussels' municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch), but predominantly French-speaking nowadays.

Contents

Saint-Gilles has a multicultural identity stemming from its diverse population. The housing stock varies from semi-derelict tenements near Brussels-South railway station in the north, to elegant bourgeois houses on the southern borders with Uccle and Ixelles, to tourist hotels at the inner end of the Chaussée de Charleroi/Charleroisesteenweg.

History

Beginnings as Obbrussel

The first houses of the hamlet of Obbrussel (Old Dutch: Obbrusselsche, meaning "Upper Brussels") were built, between the 7th and the 11th centuries, close to the Altitude Cent/Hoogte Honderd, one of the points of highest elevation in Brussels, now part of Forest. In 1216, following strong demographic growth in the area, Forest Abbey allowed Obbrussel to become an independent parish. This independence, however, was to last only eighty years, after which the administration of the village was given to Brussels. By the 16th century, Obbrussel had grown to 41 houses.

Start of the Chaussee de Waterloo/Waterloosesteenweg (on the right) from the Halle Gate Brussels panorama (9376295145).jpg
Start of the Chaussée de Waterloo/Waterloosesteenweg (on the right) from the Halle Gate

In 1670, following orders from the Spanish government, the Count of Monterey built a fort in Obbrussel as part of the fortifications of Brussels to protect the City of Brussels against possible attacks. Erected in 1675, this fort was dismantled in the following century to give way to several important toll roads and urban development. The name of the Barrière de Saint-Gilles/Bareel van Sint-Gillis neighbourhood (literally "Barrier of Saint Gilles") still commemorates those tolls to this day.

French Regime until today

During the French regime, on 31 August 1795, the village, by now called Saint-Gilles after its patron saint and main church, merged with neighbouring villages to form Uccle. Four years later, it gained its independence again, with its own mayor and municipal council. In 1830, Brussels became the capital of newly founded Belgium. As a result, the rural village of Saint-Gilles, known for centuries for its cabbage cultivation, went through an unprecedented construction spree. The population increased from 2,500 around 1800 to more than 33,000 in 1880 to a peak of 60,000 in 1910.

The street pattern was completely remodelled in the 1860s by the architect and urbanist Victor Besme. It was around that time that the Avenue Louise/Louizalaan, Brussels-South railway station, and the new Church of St. Gilles were built, to be followed soon after by the new prison and Municipal Hall. Nowadays, Saint-Gilles is one of the densest municipalities of the Brussels agglomeration.

Sights

Statistics

Population

Economy and labour market

Politics

The local council usually has a socialist majority, and the current mayor is Jean Spinette.

Education

The municipality has 13 nursery and primary schools (10 French-speaking and 3 Dutch-speaking) and 7 secondary schools (6 French-speaking and 1 Dutch-speaking). [5]

The Faculty of Architecture, Architectural Engineering and Urban Planning of the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) is established in Saint-Gilles. [6]

Transport

Saint-Gilles's dense population is well served by public transport. Brussels-South railway station with its international high speed connections sits at the northern tip of the municipal territory, and the underground premetro (underground tram) line passes southwards through it. By 2025, [7] the line should have been converted into heavy metro line 3, running from Albert northwards to Gare du Nord/Noordstation (Brussels-North Station), later to be extended to Bordet.

Inhabitants have access to the tram lines 3, 4, 8, 51, 81 and 97, as well as bus lines 48 to Stalle, 134 to St-Job, 136/137 to Alsemberg, 365a to Charleroi and W to Waterloo. There are 5 pods of Cambio shared cars, at Dumont, Horta, Janson, Parvis/Voorplein and Porte de Hal/Hallepoort.[ citation needed ]

Sports

Saint-Gilles has a football club called Royal Union Saint Gilloise, which had his prime years in the 1930s. On 13 March 2021, after defeating local rivals R.W.D. Molenbeek, Union was promoted back to the Belgian First Division A, marking its first appearance in top-flight football in 48 years.

Notable inhabitants

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References

Citations

  1. "Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2020". Statbel.
  2. "Saint-Gilles – Région bruxelloise – Brussels Gewest". be.brussels.
  3. "Belgium | United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization". unesco.org.
  4. "Hôtel de ville de Saint-Gilles – Inventaire du patrimoine architectural". monument.heritage.brussels (in French). Retrieved 21 February 2024.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Saint-Gilles en Chiffres/Sint-Gillis in Cijfers, Municipality of Saint-Gilles, 2017
  6. Laporte, Christian (2 September 2016). "800 ans de Saint-Gilles: du village à la ville". La Libre (in French).
  7. "Prolongation de la ligne Métro 3". stib-mivb.be.

Bibliography