Geraardsbergen

Geraardsbergen

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Encyclopedia
Geraardsbergen is a city and municipality
Municipality
A municipality is essentially an urban administrative division having corporate status and usually powers of self-government. It can also be used to mean the governing body of a municipality. A municipality is a general-purpose administrative subdivision, as opposed to a special-purpose district...

 located in the Denderstreek
Denderstreek
The Denderstreek or Denderland is a region in the heart of Belgium. It is named after the river Dender. Though the river stretches over three provinces, Hainaut, East Flanders and Flemish Brabant, the region called after the river is situated in East-Flanders. The Dutch word streek means region....

 and in the Flemish Ardennes
Flemish Ardennes
The Flemish Ardennes is an informal name given to a hilly region in the south of the province of East Flanders, Belgium.The area is distinct from the Ardennes, which is situated further to the south in Wallonia, France and Luxembourg....

, the hilly southern part of the Belgian
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

 province of East Flanders
East Flanders
East Flanders is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and in Belgium on the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant , of Hainaut and of West Flanders...

. The municipality comprises the city of Geraardsbergen proper and the following towns:
Goeferdinge, Grimminge, Idegem, Moerbeke, Nederboelare, Nieuwenhove, Onkerzele, Ophasselt, Overboelare, Schendelbeke, Smeerebbe-Vloerzegem, Viane, Waarbeke, Zandbergen and Zarlardinge.


On January 1, 2006 Geraardsbergen had a total population of 31,380. The total area is 79.71 km² which gives a population density
Population density
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and particularly to humans...

 of 394 inhabitants per km².

The current mayor of Geraardsbergen is Freddy De Chou, from the SP-A (Socialist) party.

History


Geraardsbergen is one of the oldest cities in Belgium. It came into existence close to the settlement of Hunnegem. In 1068, Geraardsbergen was one of the first communities in Western Europe to be granted the city status
City status in Belgium
City status in Belgium is granted to a select group of municipalities by a royal decree or by an act of law.-History:During the Middle Ages, towns had defined privileges over surrounding villages. As the nobility strengthened their power over regions in feudal Europe, they bestowed on towns the...

.

Geraardsbergen was destroyed in 1381 by Walter IV of Enghien
Walter IV of Enghien
Walter IV of Enghien , Hainault nobleman and soldier, was the son of Sohier of Enghien. He was Count of Brienne and Lord of Enghien 1364–1381....

 and his troops. The legend goes that during the siege the people of Geraardsbergen threw some of their food which was left over the city wall. By this they wanted to show that they had enough food to survive a siege for a long time. This bravado notwithstanding, the city was still captured by Enghien's troops. This event lives further in the city. Every year during carnaval the city organizes on top of the Oudenberg (111m) the 'krakelingenworp' to celebrate this historical event.

On 29 May 1815, shortly before the battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

, Wellington
Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington
Field Marshal Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, KG, GCB, GCH, PC, FRS , was an Irish-born British soldier and statesman, and one of the leading military and political figures of the 19th century...

 and Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher
Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher, Fürst von Wahlstatt , Graf , later elevated to Fürst von Wahlstatt, was a Prussian Generalfeldmarschall who led his army against Napoleon I at the Battle of the Nations at Leipzig in 1813 and at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 with the Duke of Wellington.He is...

 reviewed the Allied cavalry here. Some 6,000 troops were paraded in meadows on the banks of the Dender between Geraardsbergen and Jedeghem.

Places of interest

  • Manneken Pis, the oldest such statue, older than the more famous one in Brussels
    Manneken Pis
    , is a famous Brussels landmark. It is a small bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It was designed by Jerome Duquesnoy and put in place in 1618 or 1619...

    .
  • The wall
    Muur van Geraardsbergen
    The Muur van Geraardsbergen is a steep narrow road with cobblestones located in Geraardsbergen, Belgium. It is also known as Kapelmuur, Muur-Kapelmuur or simply Muur. The hill starts near the river Dender at 18 m and reaches the top of the Oudenberg at 110 m...

    , a steep street paved with cobblestones, climbed every year by cyclists during the Ronde van Vlaanderen.
  • Boelare Castle
    Boelare Castle
    Boelare Castle is a castle near the village Nederboelare, Geraardsbergen municipality, in the province of East-Flanders, Belgium. It used to be the seat of the feudal domain Land and Barony of Boelare. Oldest recording of the name Boelare dates back to the 11th century, but the domain is probably...

    , seat of the former feudal domain Land (Barony) of Boelare.

Mattentaart



Geraardsbergen is known for the mattentaart, a type of sweet pastry. This is made with matten paste or cheese curd.

The mattentaart was granted Protected Geographical Indication
Protected Geographical Status
Protected Geographical Status is a legal framework defined in European Union law to protect the names of regional foods. Protected Designation of Origin , Protected Geographical Indication and Traditional Speciality Guaranteed are distinct regimes of geographical indications within the framework...

 status by the European Union in 2006, indicating they can only be made in Geraardsbergen or in the nearby municipality of Lierde
Lierde
Lierde is a municipality located in the Flemish Ardennes, the hilly southern part of the Belgian province of East Flanders in the Denderstreek. The municipality comprises the towns of Deftinge, Hemelveerdegem, Sint-Maria-Lierde and Sint-Martens-Lierde. On January 1, 2006 Lierde had a total...

.

External links

  • Official website - in Dutch
    Dutch language
    Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

  • Sightseeing in Geraardsbergen - in Dutch
    Dutch language
    Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

  • The historical city Geraardsbergen - in English
    English language
    English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...