Schaerbeek: Wikis


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Schaerbeek (French)
Schaarbeek (Dutch)
Schaerbeek train station.
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Schaerbeek municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region
Schaerbeek municipality in the Brussels-Capital Region
Schaerbeek is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Brussels-Capital Region
Community Wallonia French Community
Flanders Flemish Community
Arrondissement Brussels
Coordinates 50°52′0″N 04°23′0″E / 50.866667°N 4.383333°E / 50.866667; 4.383333Coordinates: 50°52′0″N 04°23′0″E / 50.866667°N 4.383333°E / 50.866667; 4.383333
Area 8.14 km²
– Males
– Females
111,946 (2006-01-01)
13753 inhab./km²
Unemployment rate 26.9% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €9,093/pers. (2003)
Postal codes 1030
Area codes 02

Schaerbeek (French) or Schaarbeek (Dutch, pronounced [ˈsçaːrbeːk]  ( listen)) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. Schaerbeek is an old Dutch spelling for Schaarbeek, which probably derived from "schorrenbeek", meaning a "brook with schorres", i.e. elevated parts not always covered by water.

Schaerbeek is nicknamed "the city of donkeys" (de ezelsgemeente or la cité des ânes). This name is reminiscent of times when people of Schaerbeek, who were cultivators of sour cherries primarily for Kriek production, would arrive at the Brussels marketplace with donkeys laden with sour cherries.

"Downtown Schaerbeek" is home to a large Turkish immigrant community, a significant part of which originates from Afyon/Emirdağ, Turkey. It is also home to a large Moroccan population and other immigrant communities.

"Uptown Schaerbeek" is nowadays a location selected by EU- and affluent people for its architecture and its convenient location (close to the EU and financial heart of the city, the airport and highways). Young couples are also favoring this suburb for its "Notting Hill" atmosphere and the still reasonable pricing of the estate, while prices are on the surge everywhere else in Brussels.

The Schaarbeek Cemetery, despite its name, is actually in the neighbouring municipality of Evere.





Antiquity and Middle Ages

The period at which human activity started in Schaerbeek can be inferred from the Stone-Age flint tools that were recovered in the Josaphat valley. Tombs and coins dating from the reign of Hadrian (2nd century) were also found near the old Roman roads that crossed Schaerbeek’s territory.

The first mention of the town’s name appears in a legal document dated 1120, whereby the bishop of Cambrai granted the administration of the churches of Scarenbecca and Everna (today’s neighbouring Evere) to the canons of Soignies. Politically, the town was part of the Duchy of Brabant. In 1301, John II, Duke of Brabant had the town administered by the schepen (aldermen) of Brussels. A new church to Saint Servatius was built around that same time, at the same location as the old church.

At the end of the 14th century, the Schaerbeek lands that belonged to the Lords of Kraainem were sold and reconverted into a hunting ground. The official entry of the visiting Dukes of Burgundy into Brussels, their second capital, was also through Schaerbeek, where they had to swear to uphold the city’s privileges. The game reservation and the rural character of the village lasted until the end of the 18th century. The areas not covered by woods were used to cultivate vegetables and grow vines. In 1540, Schaerbeek counted 112 houses and 600 inhabitants.

Schaerbeek town hall

16th century until now

Up until then, the village had lived in relative peace. This would change in the middle of the 16th century as the Reformation set in. Schaerbeek suffered through ravages and destructions about a dozen times over the following two centuries, starting in the 1570s with William the Silent’s mercenary troops fighting the Catholic Duke of Alba.

Spanish, French, British, and Bavarian troops all came through Schaerbeek, with the usual exactions and requisitions inflicted on the population.

After the French Revolution, it was decreed that Schaerbeek would be taken away from Brussels and proclaimed an independent commune, with its own mayor, schepen, and municipal assembly.

On September 27, 1830, during the Belgian Revolution, some fighting occurred in the Josaphat valley between the revolutionary troops and the retreating Dutch troops.

In 1879, a more modern Saint Servatius Church was built near the old one, which was eventually demolished in 1905. The town hall and railway station were built in 1887 and 1902, respectively.

At the end of the XIXth and in the early XXth century, Schaerbeek became home to the gentry having there a "pied-à-terre". They rapidly settled and erected beautiful building and houses.

In 1889 the shooting range known as Tir national was established at Schaerbeek. It was there that the British nurse Edith Cavell was executed by an occupying German Army firing sqaud in 1915.

Dwight D. Eisenhower came to visit the city at the close of World War II. Five years later, the population of Schaerbeek peaked at 125,000 inhabitants.

Nowadays, the city is governed by a rightist-ecologist majority, after a disputed run between Bernard Clerfayt (MR-Reformist Movement) and Laurette Onkelinx (PS-Socialist Party (francophone Belgium)).


Saint Maria Church

Famous inhabitants

Twin cities

  •  Belgium: Houffalize - at the end of WWII, Schaerbeek collected fundings to relief Houffalize, suffering heavily from the last German counter-attack in the Ardennes; since then, Houffalize yearly sends hundreds of Christmas Trees to Schaerbeek
  •  Morocco: Al-Hoceima
  •  Turkey: Beyoğlu

External links


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