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

Last modified: 2019-01-07 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Jette - Image by Ivan Sache, 18 April 2004

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Presentation of Jette

The municipality of Jette (43,564 inhabitants on 1 January 2007, 504 ha) is one of the 19 municipalities of the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital. The name of the municipality is the same in French and Dutch. Jette is the north-western "green lung" of Brussels, since the nature reserve of Poelbos and King Baudouin's park are located on its territory (cumulated, 117 ha, that is 1/4 of the municipal area).

The oldest mention of Jette, as Jetta, dates from 1095. The name of the town evolved as Jhet (1220), Iette (1389), Yette (1435) and Getta (1146). In the Middle Ages, Jette was fairly important since it was the seat of an échevinage (municipal court) ruling ten neighbouring villages. The Jette court followed the Uccle/Ukkel's Law and owned a seal. Supreme authority in the échevinage was exerted by the Mayor of Merchtem, on behalf of the prince.
The échevinage of Jette was dismembered in the XVIth century when the villages formerly placed under its authority were allocated to different domains. Until the middle of the XVIIth century, the domain of Jette successively belonged to several private owners. The County of Saint-Pierre de Jette was founded in 1659. At that time, the municipality of Jette belonged to François of Kinschot, lord of Rivieren. The domain, including the five villages of Jette, Ganshoren, Releghem (today Relegem, incorporated into the municipality of Asse in 1976), Hamme and Bever, and the title were transferred by marriage to Paul-Philippe of Villegas, whose family kept the domain until the French Revolution.
The St. Peter's church, built in neo-Gothic style in 1880, keeps the Villegas' funerary monument, made of white and black marble, as well as a gilded St. Peter's reliquary, invoked to heal children sick with whooping couch. The Sacred-Heart's Convent was established in 1834 in the domain formerly owned by Baron Bonaventure, one of the early owners of Jette.

The Abbot's residence is the only remain of the Dieleghem abbey, which was in the past one of the most powerful abbeys in Brabant. The abbey was founded in 1095 and sold in 1789. In 1730, the monks built a road linking the abbey to Molenbeek-Saint-Jean / Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. A toll-gate was set up near the entrance of the abbey, which is recalled today by an inn called A l'ancienne barrière (At the ancient gate).

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2004

Municipal flag of Jette

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], the flag of Jette is vertically divided blue-yellow.

The coat of arms of Jette is "Or a fess bretessed and counterbretessed sable." The greater arms are decorated with supporters, helmet, crest etc., all derived from the ancient municipal seal.
The seal of Jette shows in the middle the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus, flanked on the right by a shield hold on the senester by a dame, who holds with her right hand a heart placed on a starry veil and surmounted by a crown; and on the left by an unicorn, a crowned helmet and a hawk.
In the 17th century, the County of Saint-Pierre-Jette had a seal reproducing the arms of François of Kinschot, showing the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus in a Gothic recess. The Blessed Virgin was the patron saint of the abbey of Dieleghem and was shown on the ancient seals of the abbey (then called Abbatia Jettensis; 1180, 1247, 1261, 1297).
The modern seal never belonged to the Kinschot family, although it includes their arms. It was indeed the seal of the échevins (municipal magistrates) of the County of Saint-Pierre Jette. It can be seen on a municipal act dated 28 May 1661, kept in the archives of the Municipal Center for Welfare in Brussels.

Ivan Sache & Pascal Vagnat, 18 April 2004

Vendel- & Trommelkorps Draposmaaiter

The Vendel- & Trommelkorps Draposmaaiter was founded in Jette in December 1995; before, it was a section of the folkloric circle Meigraaf. The name of the group comes from the Brussels dialect: Vendel- & Trommelkorps is the Flag and Drums Corps, whereas Draposmaaiter is made of drapo, "a flag" (French, drapeau) and smaaiter, "a thrower". The Draposmaaiter performs traditional figures from the Flemish tradition, such as De Blauwvoet (after an old Flemish song), De Brechtse reeks (The figures of the town of Brecht) and De Vendelgroet van Leefdaal(The flag salute of Leefdaal, a town today part of the municipality of Bertem). They use big flags weighing 5 kg, bigger than the traditional flags thrown in Italy.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 14 May 2006