Vilvoorde: Wikis


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Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Vilvoorde in Flemish Brabant
Location of Vilvoorde in Flemish Brabant
Vilvoorde is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  Flemish Brabant
Arrondissement Halle Vilvoorde
Coordinates 50°56′0″N 04°25′0″E / 50.933333°N 4.416667°E / 50.933333; 4.416667Coordinates: 50°56′0″N 04°25′0″E / 50.933333°N 4.416667°E / 50.933333; 4.416667
Area 21.48 km²
– Males
– Females
37,324 (2006-01-01)
1738 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 10.42% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 9.86% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €13,917/pers. (2003)
Mayor Marc Van Asch (CD&V)
Governing parties CD&V-N-VA, VLD-Vivant, SP.A-Groen!-FlemishProgressives
Postal codes 1800
Area codes 02 - 015

Vilvoorde (Vilvorde in French) is a Belgian municipality in the Flemish province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the city of Vilvoorde proper with its two outlying quarters of Konigslo and Houtem and the small town of Peutie. The nickname for inhabitants of Vilvoorde is Pjeirrefretters (horse eaters) because horse meat (specially steak) is a beloved food in Vilvoorde.

The official language of Vilvoorde is Dutch. There is a French-speaking minority of about 20% concentrated especially in the Koningslo quarter bordering Brussels. The French-speaking minority is represented by 3 members on the 33-seat local council. The city is also home to a large Spanish minority. In the center of the city, 1 out of 10 inhabitants have Spanish nationality and the proportion of Belgians with Spanish roots is even greater. Most immigrated after World War II, from Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo in Andalusia. There is also a large Moroccan community, and many smaller communities of more recent immigrants including Turks, Macedonians and Portuguese.

From 2000 until August 1, 2007, the mayor of Vilvoorde was former Belgian prime minister Jean-Luc Dehaene. The present mayor is Marc Van Asch.




The Nervii, and later the Romans, probably already settled in this strategic place near the river Zenne. The name Filfurdo was first mentioned in a 779 document whereby Pippin of Herstal ceased this territory to the Abbey of Chèvremont, near Liège. This name presumably derived from the word equivalents villa at the ford or river crossing.

Middle Ages

In the 12th century, a small town started to grow, which quickly became a target for the ambitions of the Dukes of Brabant and Lords of Grimbergen. Henry I, Duke of Brabant granted the city its charter of rights as soon as 1192, mainly to ensure the support of the inhabitants against powerful neighbouring Flanders. The rights to build defensive walls and to export its products gave Vilvoorde a great economic boost, driven mostly by the cloth industry. In the 14th century, thanks to its position on the Zenne, Vilvoorde became an important military centre and could compete against Leuven and Brussels for the title of most important city in Brabant.

15th century until now

From the 15th to the 19th century, however, Vilvoorde suffered a prolonged decline, mainly because of the competition from Brussels, a general malaise in the textile industry, and the result of epidemics and wars, both political and religious.

The advent of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s was a godsend to Vilvoorde, which could quickly capitalize on its proximity to Brussels and its good transportation infrastructure: deepening of the canals around 1830, advent of the railway in 1835. Soon, the medieval buildings gave way to newer and better constructions. The 1489 city hall was replaced by the neo-classical building we see today.

In the 1920s, the canal was broadened and deepened again, lined with new industrial zones, and an inland port was built to receive the freightliners. Following its liberation by the British in 1944 Vilvoorde was administered by a joint British and Belgian municipality, with a temporary British Mayor, before transferring back to a civilian administration. Vilvoorde became (and still is) one of the largest industrial area around Brussels, with a population that grew to five times what it was 150 years earlier. The recent economic crises have hit the city hard, especially when Renault closed its doors in 1997. The service industry is now taking the lead as Vilvoorde enters the 21st century.


Onze-Lieve-Vrouwe-Kerk, Vilvoorde
  • The neo-classical city hall and a covered market hall can be found on the main city square.
  • The statue of a Brabant horse can be found nearby, commemorating the long tradition of horse trading in Vilvoorde.
  • The Kijk-Uit house dates from the 15th or 16th century.
  • The city also has interesting churches, including the Onze-Lieve-Vrouwekerk (Church of Our Lady) that was started in the 14th century, and the basiliek Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ten-Troost (Basilica of Our Lady), built in the 17th-century Baroque style and adjoining the cloister of the Carmelites.
  • Vilvoorde also has its fair share of parks, such as the Hanssenspark with English gardens and the Domein Drie Fonteinen (the "Domain of the Three Fountains"), which boasts both English and French gardens.
  • The Vilvoorde Viaduct, part of the Brussels beltway.


  • Like many other Belgian cities, Vilvoorde has a week-long carnival, which takes place every year around the end of February, beginning of March.
  • Every year, on the Monday three weeks after Easter, a very popular yearly market ("jaarmarkt") is held which features several competitions and exhibitions of farm animals (horses, cows, poultry, ...), and which coincides with the start of the yearly, week-long fair featuring plenty of attractions for children.

Famous inhabitants


Via the official city website the conditions to buy one of fifteen entry-level houses sold by the city stated that the buyer(s) should either show a certificate of knowledge of Dutch or pass a test. [1][2]

Twin cities

See also

External links


  1. ^ Official Sales Conditions (from the city website in Dutch only)[1]
  2. ^ Brussels Garbage Collector, 24 June 2008[2]

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Vilvoorde [1] is a city in the province of Flemish Brabant in Belgium.

Get in

Served by a good rail network, Vilvoorde station is only 10 mins from central Brussels and just over an hour from Charleroi. Zaventeem Airport is about 7 kilometeres outside Vilvoorde.

Get around

Good bus service, cycle paths and easy to walk around.


A quiet, friendly place just to meander taking in the architecture, parks, shops & bars.


Some nice shops, but not really a 'shoppers' paradise. Lovely town to walk round with lots of green space. Increasingly popular for foreign visitors seeking private Medical treatment at the large AZ Jan Portaels Hospital.




Good Chinese restaurants. Famous horse-steak restaurants.


Huge variety of beers/lagers


Campanile Hotel, right next to Station. Eurovolleycenter, short bus/taxi journey from station.

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