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Arel  (Luxembourgish)
Aarlen  (Dutch)
Arel  (German)
Arlon centre with bell tower of St. Martin
Arlon centre with bell tower of St. Martin's Church
Flag of Arlon
Coat of arms of Arlon
Arlon is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Location of Arlon in Luxembourg province
Arlon Luxembourg Belgium Map.svg
Coordinates: 49°41′N 05°49′E / 49.683°N 5.817°E / 49.683; 5.817Coordinates: 49°41′N 05°49′E / 49.683°N 5.817°E / 49.683; 5.817
CommunityFrench Community
 • MayorVincent Magnus (cdH, ARLON 2030)
 • Governing party/iesMR-ARLON 2030
 • Total118.64 km2 (45.81 sq mi)
 • Total29,733
 • Density250/km2 (650/sq mi)
Postal codes
6700, 6704, 6706
Area codes063 (in French)

Arlon (pronounced [aʁlɔ̃] (listen); Luxembourgish: Arel, pronounced [ˈaːʀəl] (listen); Dutch: Aarlen, pronounced [ˈaːrlə(n)] (listen); German: Arel; Walloon: Årlon; Latin: Orolaunum) is a city and municipality of Wallonia located in and capital of the province of Luxembourg in the Ardennes, Belgium. With a population of just over 28,000, it is the smallest provincial capital in Belgium. Arlon is also the capital of its cultural region: the Arelerland (Land of Arlon in Luxemburgish).

The municipality consists of the following districts: Arlon, Autelbas, Barnich, Bonnert, Guirsch, Heinsch, and Toernich. Other population centers include:


Historical affiliations

Roman Empire 57BCE–395
Western Roman Empire 395–480
Francia 481–843
Middle Francia 843–855
Kingdom of Lotharingia 855–900
Duchy of Lorraine 900–950
County of Arlon 950–1214
County of Luxembourg 1214–1353
Duchy of Luxembourg 1353–1795
French Republic 1795–1804
French Empire 1804–1815
Grand Duchy of Luxembourg 1815–1839
 Kingdom of Belgium 1839–present

(Margraviate) County of Arlon
CapitalArel (Arlon)
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Established
• Raised to margraviate
ca 1167
• United with the County of Luxemburg
• Annexed to the Duchy of Luxembourg
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Duchy of Lorraine
Duchy of Luxembourg

Roman and medieval times

Before the Roman conquests of Gaul, the territory of Arlon and a vast area to the southeast were settled by the Treveri, a Celtic tribe. The local population adapted relatively easily to Roman culture. The number and quality of sculpted stones and monuments that have been unearthed in the area demonstrate that the vicus of Orolaunum quickly became a commercial and administrative centre of Roman civilization. The Germanic invasions of the 3rd century destroyed most of these early advances, despite the defensive walls that had been built on the Knipchen hill to protect the vicus.

During most of the Middle Ages, the population still used the earlier buildings such as the thermae. In 1060, Waleran I of Limburg, Count of Arlon, built a castle on the Knipchen hill hill in the centre of the town.

A dynasty of counts of Arlon began with Waleran I, Duke of Limburg. On the death of Duke Waleran III in 1226, Arlon passed to his son from the second marriage, Henry V the Fair, Count of Luxembourg, and became part of the county of Luxembourg. Thus, in the Tournament of Chauvency, his son Henry the Lion bore the title of Marquis of Arlon.

In the 13th century, the only women's Cistercian abbey known to date was built in Clairefontaine.

15th century until the French Revolution

The Duchy of Luxembourg itself, of which Arlon was dependent, became part of the Burgundian Netherlands under Philip the Good in 1441. After Charles V's abdication of his empire to his son Philip II of Spain in 1556, a troubled period started for the whole region with continuous wars involving France, Spain and the Southern Netherlands. In 1558, nearly half of the city, including its castle, was destroyed by the French troops of Duke François of Guise. In the 17th century, Capuchin friars built a convent on the ruins of the castle and the French strengthened the defensive walls according to Vauban's designs. An accidental fire destroyed a large part of the city again in 1785.

St Donat's church, Arlon
St Donat's church, Arlon

Modern times

See also: Battle of Arlon (1793) and Battle of Arlon (1794)

On 9 June 1793 the French Revolutionary troops opposed the Austrians just outside Arlon. The French emerged victorious and took over the city from Austrian rule. They expelled the Capuchin friars and used their convent as a hospital.

In June 1815, after the defeat of Napoleon in the Battle of Waterloo, Arlon went back to government of the Grand Duchy. By the Treaty of London in 1839, the grand duchy became fully sovereign and in turn geographically larger western part of the duchy, i.e. the province de Luxembourg including Arlon city was given to newly created Kingdom of Belgium.

Arlon was one of the first victims of the German invasion in 1914 as 121 inhabitants were executed on 26 August, on the orders of Colonel Richard Karl von Tessmar.

Its territory was again among the first to be invaded at the onset of World War II. Allies moved into Belgium on 10 May 1940 and Arlon was defended by French troops, but they were not able to stop the German invasion.

Arlon today

Being situated very close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Arlon has continued to expand with new residential areas and commercial development zones, and many people cross the border everyday to work in the Grand Duchy. All international express trains make a stop in Arlon, as it is the last station on the main Brussels—Luxembourg City railway line.[citation needed]


The Jewish cemetery
The Jewish cemetery

Local customs


The town of Arlon is the most populated of the municipalities in the province of Luxembourg, ahead of Marche-en-Famenne and Aubange. On the other hand, it is the least populated of the country's ten provinces. On 31 December 2019, the city of Arlon had a total population of 30,047 inhabitants.


List of mayors :

People born in Arlon

International relations

See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Belgium

Twin towns — sister cities

Arlon is twinned with:

See also


  1. ^ "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.