The Place de la Vaillance in Anderlecht
Coat of arms
Location in Belgium
|• Mayor||Eric Tomas (PS)|
|• Governing party/ies||LB - PS-SP.A-CDH|
|• Total||17.74 km2 (6.85 sq mi)|
|• Density||6,700/km2 (17,000/sq mi)|
Anderlecht (French: [ɑ̃dɛʁlɛkt], Dutch: [ˈɑndərlɛxt] (listen)) is one of the 19 municipalities of the Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium. Located in the south-western part of the region, it is bordered by the City of Brussels, Forest, Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, and Saint-Gilles, as well as the Flemish municipalities of Dilbeek and Sint-Pieters-Leeuw. In common with all of Brussels' municipalities, it is legally bilingual (French–Dutch).
There are several historically and architecturally distinct districts within Anderlecht. As of 1 February 2015[update], the municipality had a population of around 118,414. The total area is 17.74 km2 (6.85 sq mi), which gives a population density of 6,610/km2 (17,100/sq mi). Its upper area is greener and less densely populated.
The first traces of human activity on the right bank of the Senne date from the Stone Age and Bronze Age. The remnants of a Roman villa and of a Frankish necropolis were also found on the territory of Anderlecht. The first mention of the name Anderlecht, however, dates only from 1047 under the forms Anrelech, then Andrelet (1111), Andreler (1148), and Anderlech (1186). At that time, this community was already home to a chapter of canons and to two feudal manors, those of the powerful lords of Aa and of Anderlecht.
In 1356, Louis of Male, Count of Flanders, fought against Brussels on the territory of Anderlecht, in the so-called Battle of Scheut, supposedly over a monetary matter. Although he defeated his sister-in-law, Joanna, Duchess of Brabant, and briefly took her title, she regained it the following year with the help of Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor. In 1393, Joanna's charter made Anderlecht a part of Brussels. It is also around this time that the church of Saint Guy was rebuilt above the earlier Romanesque crypt in the Brabantian Gothic style.
The city of Anderlecht became a beacon of culture in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1521, Erasmus lived in the canons' house for a few months. Charles, Duke of Aumale and Grand Veneur of France also had a residence here.
The 17th and 18th centuries were marked by the wars between the Low Countries and France. On 13 November 1792, right after the Battle of Jemappes, General Dumouriez and the French Revolutionary army routed the Austrians here once again. Among the consequences were the disbanding of the canons and Anderlecht being proclaimed an independent municipality by the French.
The 19th century saw a remarkable population growth, mainly because of the proximity to a rapidly expanding Brussels. Remarkable new urban developments and garden cities such as La Roue/Het Rad, Moortebeek and Bon Air/Goede Lucht were built at the beginning of the 20th century to house the influx of newcomers. Today, the name Anderlecht rings a bell in every Belgian ear thanks to its very successful football club.
The historical centre of Anderlecht is the municipality's central district. Formerly known as Rinck, it is divided into several sectors: the Saint-Guidon/Sint Guido district, also called the Vaillance (Dutch: Dapperheid) district, is the meeting point for those who hail to the heart of Anderlecht. It is also where the Place de la Vaillance/Dapperheidsplein with its Collegiate Church, the Place de Linde/De Linde Plein, as well as Anderlecht's main schools are located. Rue Wayez/Wayezstraat is the municipality's main shopping street. It is centred on the Place of the Resistance/Verzetsplein and some neighbouring streets. The Aumale district mainly comprises Rue d'Aumale/Aumalestraat and its surrounding streets. It includes Erasmus House, the old beguinage and the Bibliothèque de l'Espace Maurice Carême public French-speaking library.
Located in the east of Anderlecht, the Cureghem (Dutch: Kuregem) district is one of the municipality's largest and most populated neighbourhoods. It developed during the Industrial Revolution along the Brussels–Charleroi Canal and is currently in a fragile social and economic situation due to the decline of its economy and the poor quality of some of its housing. Between 1836 and 1991, the district housed the Royal School of Veterinary Medicine, now moved to Liège but often still referred to as 'Cureghem'. The old campus, listed as protected heritage, is currently facing a large process of rehabilitation.
Three listed buildings; the former Atlas Brewery, the old power station and the former Moulart Mill are testaments to the old industrial activities next to the waterway. The Town Hall of Anderlecht is located on the Place du Conseil/Raadsplein, at the heart of this district.
Located in the south of Anderlecht, the La Roue (Dutch: Het Rad) district is one of the municipality's largest districts and one of the main garden cities of the Brussels region. Built in the 1920s, with its modest and picturesque houses, it offers a great vision of an early 20th century working class neighbourhood. It is also home to one of the largest agribusiness industry campuses in Belgium, the Food and Chemical Industries Education and Research Center (CERIA/COOVI), and other popular department stores.
The annual Anderlecht fair, originally a cattle fair, was authorised by William II of the Netherlands in 1825. Since then, it has taken the form of a series of celebrations, which still include animal shows but also a large market, a floral show, and the recreation of a religious procession in honour of Saint Guy.
The Abattoirs of Anderlecht, located at 24, Rue Ropsy Chaudron/Ropsy Chaudronstraat in Cureghem, is the main slaughterhouse in Brussels, employing some 1,500 people. In addition to its main activities, the great hall serves as a covered market for food and flea markets.
In recent years, several major international companies have set up their headquarters in Anderlecht, notably the Delhaize Group, which operates many supermarket chains, from 40, Marie Curie Square, Coca-Cola Benelux at 1424, Chaussée de Mons/Bergensesteenweg, as well as the Belgian chocolate company Leonidas at 41, Boulevard Jules Graindor/Jules Graindorlaan.
Several hospitals and clinics are located in Anderlecht:
Anderlecht is the home of the football club RSC Anderlecht, the most successful Belgian football team in European competition as well as in the Belgian First Division with 34 titles. The club's home stadium is the Lotto Park, located within Astrid Park. The team colors are white and purple.
Further information: List of parks and gardens in Brussels
Green spaces in the commune include:
Born in Anderlecht:
Anderlecht is twinned with:
In addition, Anderlecht has signed a friendship agreement with: