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Uccle / Ukkel (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-01-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: uccle | ukkel |
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Flag of Uccle/Ukkel - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 5 May 2005

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Presentation of Uccle/Ukkel

The municipality of Uccle (French) / Ukkel (Dutch) (76,576 inhabitants on 1 January 2007, therefore the 4th most populated municiplaity in the region; 2,291 ha; municipal website) is one of the 19 municipalities constituting the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital. Uccle is mostly a residential, if not posh, municipality, with several green areas and more than 500 ha of the Soignes forest, which attracted several artists. The French poet Charles Baudelaire (1821-1867) stayed in Uccle in 1864.

The municipality was esatblished in 1795 under the French rule by the merging of the former feudal domains of Uccle, Carloo and Stalle. Several other noble families had their manor in Uccle. The place called Boetendal (lit., the Penitents' Valley) recalls a Franciscan convent founded in 1467. Beforehand, the chef-banc or échevinage (municipal court) of Uccle exercized its jurisdiction over the whole ammanie (medieval municipality) of Brussels. The court was reorganized by a charter granted by Duke of Burgundy Philip the Handsome (1419-1467) in 1454. The historian L. Vanderkindere believes that Uccle was once the seat of the judicial power in Brussels. A legend says that the St. Peter church in Uccle was consecrated around 803 by Pope Leo III (795-816) in the presence of Gerbaldus, Bishop of Liège (787-610), and Emperor Charlemagne (800-814).

The town of Brussels dramatically increased in the 19th century because of the industrial revolution. Uccle, located in the south of Brussels, developed along two main roads, Chaussée de Waterloo (used by Wellington's troops on the eve of the battle of Waterloo in 1815), heading to the (former) coal-mining basin of Charleroi, and Chaussée d'Alsemberg (built in 1712), heading to Walloon Brabant. The population of Uccle was 3,091 in 1815, 19,967 in 1903 and is more than 75,000 today. The town was completely revamped by the Société du Nouvel Uccle in 1882, which includzs the building of a Town Hall.

A vineyard (website)was recreated in Geleytsbeek by Mark De Brouwer. Grapevine was grown in Uccle in the 15th-17th century. The new vineyard has 270 stocks planted on a 4.5 are plot. Grapes were harvested for the first time in 1990.
Around 1904, Michel Van Gelder bred the bearded and booted bantam (dwarf hen) called "Barbu d'Uccle" (in English, "Belgian d'Uccle Bantam" or "Booted Bantam"), probably by crossing "Barbu of Antwerp" and "Dutch Sabelpoots". "Barbu d'Uccle" is often refered to as "Mille Fleur" or "Millies", in spite of the fact that Mille Fleur is only one of their color variants and it also appears in other breeds. Fowl fans seem to love "Barbu d'Uccle" since there are breed clubs in the USA (Belgian d'Uccle & Booted Bantam Club, website), the United Kingdom (The British Belgian Bantam Club), Australia (The Belgian Bantam Club of Australia, website) and the Netherlands (Dutch Club for Rare True (Authentic) Belgian Bantams).

Ivan Sache, 5 May 2005

Flag of Uccle/Ukkel

The flag of Uccle, hoisted on the facade of the Town Hall beside the Belgian national flag, is vertically divided light blue-white. The colors of the flag are derived from the municipal coat of arms.

Under the Dutch rule, Uccle was granted a coat of arms as "Azure St. Peter with a miter and a crozier or holding in dexter a key of the same".
According to the municipal website, a Royal Decree from 3 July 1925 allowed the municipality of Uccle to reuse the seal of the former échevinage. The seal shows St. Peter sitting full-frontal on a seat à l'antique, holding in dexter an open book and in sinister a key surmounting an escutcheon of Brabant ("Sable a lion or langued gules"). As soon as 1432, the échevins used a seal portraying St. Peter, the patron saint of the parish, holding in his left hand the key, symbolizing the power transmitted to him by Jesus Christ, surmounting the coat of arms of Brabant and in the right hand an open book. The motto is SIGILLU SCABINORUM DE UCCLE (Seal of the échevins of Uccle).

Arnaud Leroy & Ivan Sache, 5 May 2005