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Ganshoren (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2013-12-28 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Ganshoren]

Flag of Ganshoren - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 9 September 2006

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Presentation of Ganshoren

The municipality of Ganshoren (21,395 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 250 ha) is one of the 19 municipalities forming the bilingual region of Brussels-Capitale.The name of the municipality is the same in French and in Dutch.

The oldest remains of a human settlement in Ganshoren, found on the marshy area near the river Molenbeek, date back to the Middle Neolithic (2200-1900 BC). Remains of a wealthy Roman villa, decorated with frescos, were excavated in the same area in the late 1960s. The oldest mention of Ganshoren dates from 1112, on a document signed by Odon, Bishop of Cambrai. Gans means "a goose" but the exact meaning of horen is disputed, meaning either "a hunting horn" (in modern Dutch, hoorn) or "a marsh" (in the old local dialect, hore). The name of the village was written Ganshore in 1254 and Ganshoorn in 1607, which does not help.

In the early XIIth century, the most powerful lineage of Brussels, the Clutinckx, who had their fortress on the today's site of the Brussels Central Railway Station, built in Ganshoren a fortified tower, which was later reused as the donjon of the castle of Rivieren. The tower was part of a belt of fortifications protecting the town of Brussels. A village developed near the tower; in 1229, the "community" of Ganshoren was granted by Prince Henri the marsh known as "de Zeype" and the land called "de Heyde". The hamlet had 14 small houses in 1435. In 1686, the number of houses reached 24; there were also three inns, a brewery and a windmill, built by Maerten van Boterdael with permission granted by the lord of Rivieren on 21 June 1660. The mill was burnt down several times and rebuilt until its eventual suppression in 1880 on the order of King Leopold II.
In the XVIth century, a part of Ganshoren and most of the neighbouring Jette belonged to the Duchy of Brabant; the remaining parts were split between the domains of Rivieren and Meuseghem. In 1628, François I de Kinschot, Ministry of the Finances of Archdukes Albert and Isabel, purchased the castle and domain of Rivieren, which was elevated to a Barony in 1654. In 1659, François II de Kinschot became Count of Saint-Pierre-Jette; the County included Jette, Ganshoren, Relegem, Hamme and Bever. François' daughter, Anne, married in 1685 Paul de Villegas, lord of Luttre. The family did not approve the marriage and disinherited her; however, the castle of Rivieren was owned by the Villegas family until 1977, when it was sold to a Swiss company that restored it. In 1983, the castle and its 10-ha park were listed as national heritage. The castle of Rivieren is the only remaining feudal castle in Greater Brussels, although its original medieval architecture was dramatically changed by its successive owners.

From 1801 to 1841, Ganshoren and Jette formed a single municipality. In 1836, Priest Vanderborght wrote a petition, signed by 126 paterfamilias of Ganshoren, requiring the secession of Ganshoren, who had then 100 more inhabitants than Jette. The Law creating the Municipality of Ganshoren was passed on 31 March 1841. The share of the former common goods between Ganshoren and Jette was difficult and ended only in 1863.
The National Basilica of Koekelberg is located both on the territories of Ganshoren and Koekelberg. Since its main entrance is located in Koekelberg, it administratively belongs to that municipality.
Until the 1950s, Ganshoren was mostly a rural municipality, in spite of the urbanization plan launched at the end of the 20th century. Its only factory, Nestor Martin, however, was known all over Europe as one of the most modern of the time; set up in 1930, the factory produced stoves until 1986.

Source: Il était une fois Ganshoren, mon village by Gérard Sand

Ivan Sache, 9 September 2006

Municipal flag of Ganshoren

The municipal flag of Ganshoren, as communicated by the municipal administration, is vertically divided red-white.

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], the arms of Ganshoren, "Gules a saint Martin or", were adopted on 8 September 1843 by the Municipal Council, confirmed on 8 June 1844 by Royal Decree, and published in the Belgian official gazette, No. 213.

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 9 September 2006