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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Namur
The Sambre in Namur city centre.
Municipal flag
Flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
City location withinarrondissement and province of Namur
City location within
arrondissement and province of Namur
Namur (city) is located in Belgium
Namur (city)
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Wallonia
Community Wallonia French Community
Province  Namur
Arrondissement Namur
Coordinates 50°28′0″N 04°52′0″E / 50.466667°N 4.866667°E / 50.466667; 4.866667Coordinates: 50°28′0″N 04°52′0″E / 50.466667°N 4.866667°E / 50.466667; 4.866667
Area 175.69 km²
Population
– Males
– Females
Density
107,178 (2006-01-01)
48.04%
51.96%
610 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
(01/01/2004)
20.21%
62.39%
17.41%
Foreigners 5.89% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 18.42% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €12,373/pers. (2003)
Mayor Jacques Etienne (CDH)
Governing parties CDH-Ecolo-MR
Postal codes 5000-5101
Area codes 081
Website www.ville.namur.be

Namur (Dutch: About this sound Namen , Nameur in Walloon) is a city and municipality in Wallonia, in southern Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and (since 1986) of Wallonia.

Namur stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers and straddles three different regions - Hesbaye to the north, Condroz to the south-east and Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse to the south-west. The language spoken is French.

The City of Namur includes the old communes of Beez, Belgrade, Saint-Servais, Saint-Marc, Bouge, Champion, Daussoulx, Flawinne, Malonne, Suarlée, Temploux, Vedrin, Boninne, Cognelée, Gelbressée, Marche-les-Dames, Dave, Jambes, Naninne, Wépion, Wierde, Erpent, Lives-sur-Meuse, and Loyers.

Contents

History

Namur, the Meuse, the Walloon Parliament and the citadel
Namur from the Citadel of Namur above the city
Namur, the Meuse, the Jambes bridge and the citadel.

The town began as an important trading settlement in Celtic times, straddling east-west and north-south trade routes across the Ardennes. The Romans, too, established a presence after Julius Caesar defeated the local Aduatuci tribe.

Namur came to prominence during the early Middle Ages when the Merovingians built a castle or citadel on the rocky spur overlooking the town at the confluence of the two rivers. In the 10th century it became a county in its own right. The town developed somewhat unevenly, as the counts of Namur could only build on the north bank of the Meuse - the south bank was owned by the bishops of Liège and developed more slowly into the town of Jambes (now effectively a suburb of Namur). In 1262, Namur fell into the hands of the Count of Flanders, and was purchased by Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy in 1421.

After Namur became part of the Spanish Netherlands in the 1640s, its citadel was considerably strengthened. The King Louis XIV of France invaded in 1692, capturing the town and annexing it to France. His renowned military engineer Vauban rebuilt the citadel.

French control was short-lived, as William III of Orange-Nassau captured Namur only three years later in 1695 during the War of the Grand Alliance. Under the Barrier Treaty of 1709, the Dutch gained the right to garrison Namur, although the subsequent Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 gave control of the formerly Spanish Netherlands to the Austrian House of Habsburg. Thus, although the Austrians ruled the town, the citadel was controlled by the Dutch. It was rebuilt again under their tenure.

France invaded the region again in 1794, during the French Revolutionary Wars, and again annexed Namur, imposing a repressive regime. After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the Congress of Vienna incorporated what is now Belgium into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. Belgium broke away from the Netherlands in 1830 following the Belgian Revolution, and Namur continued to be a major garrison town under the new government. The citadel was rebuilt yet again in 1887.

Namur was a major target of the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, which sought to use the Meuse valley as a route into France. Despite being billed as virtually impregnable, the citadel fell after only three days' fighting and the town was occupied by the Germans for the rest of the war. Namur fared little better in World War II; it was in the front lines of both the Battle of the Ardennes in 1940 and the Battle of the Bulge in 1944. The town suffered heavy damage in both wars.

Namur continued to host the Belgian Army's paratroopers until their departure in 1977.

Namur, the citadel and the Meuse.

Economy

Namur is an important commercial and industrial centre, located on the Walloon industrial backbone, the Sambre and Meuse valley. It produces machinery, leather goods, metals and porcelain. It is also an important railway junction situated on the north-south line between Brussels and Luxembourg City, and the east-west line between Lille and Liège. River barge traffic passes through the middle of the city along the Meuse.

Culture and sights

Namur, the St Aubin's Cathedral.

Namur has taken on a new role as the capital of the federal region of Wallonia. Its location at the head of the Ardennes has also made it a popular tourist centre, with a casino located in its southern district on the left bank of the Meuse.

The town's most prominent sight is the citadel, now demilitarised and open to the public. It plays host to a beer festival at Easter. Namur also has a distinctive 18th century cathedral dedicated to Saint Aubain and a belfry classified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The belfry.

An odd Namurois custom is the annual Combat de l'Échasse d'Or (Fight for the Golden Stilt), held on the third Sunday in September. Two teams, the Mélans and the Avresses, dress in medieval clothes while standing on stilts and do battle in one of the town's principal squares.

Namur possesses a distinguished university, the Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la Paix (FUNDP), also referred to as University of Namur, founded in 1831.

Since 1986 Namur has been home to the Namur International Festival of French-Speaking Film.[1]

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Namur is twinned with:

References

  1. ^ 22ème Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur retrieved May 14, 2007. (French language)

Sources

  • (French) Jean-Pol Hiernaux : Namur, capitale de la Wallonie, in Encyclopédie du Mouvement wallon, Tome II, Charleroi, Institut Jules Destrée, 2000, ISBN 2-87035-019-8 (or 2d ed., CD-ROM, 2003, ISBN 2-87035-028-7)

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