"Mechelen" Mechelen by kbl
Mechelen Travel Guide: 287 reviews and 739 photos
Under (permanent) construction
Mechelen is one of the most important cities in Belgian History. Mechelen (Malines in French) is located between Brussels and Antwerp.
My hometown, Schiplaken, is about 5 kilometers aay from Mechelen. For us, Mechelen is "the city".
The grandfather of Beethoven
On 10 December 1717 a certain Lodewijk (Louis) van Beethoven was enlisted here as a new student. This man was the grandfather of the famous composer. The van Beethoven family were bakers. Louis' father, Michel (the composer's great-grandfather), started a painting business in Mechelen, but ran into financial trouble and had to leave Mechelen to try and find his luck elsewhere. The entire family moved to Bonn in Germany. This is why two generations later the baby 'Ludwig van Beethoven' was not born in Mechelen.
Maneblussers - Moon Extinguishers
It happened the night of January 27th 1687. The moon projected a reddish glow on Saint Rumbold's Tower, which was wrapped in a fog. A drunken man was going home and suddenly saw the extraordinary phenomenon.
Fire ..., the tower is on fire ... The alarm-bell was sounded everywhere and every possible kind of extinguisher was brought to the fire.Buckets of water were passed from hand to hand along the stairs. But before the top was reached, the moon silently came through the fog and ... to the utter astonishment of the brave Mechlians, they saw that they had been fooled...
Mechlians are now known as "Maneblussers" (Moon Extinguishers).
During the Gallo-Roman period an embryonic form of a settlement developed on the higher west bank of the river Dijle. Towards the end of the 3rd century, the Gallo-Roman influence crumbled away, while under the Merovingians and later the Carolingians, the well-wrought road network, once the pride of the Roman Empire, vanished from the landscape and the famous trade and communications languished. Here the local, mostly pagan- and superstitious tribes, were converted to Christianity by St. Rombold, an Irish Missionary and preacher.
In time a second settlement grew on the lower East bank around the Canon's chapter of St Rumbold. The most favorable situation of Mechelen triggered rivalry between the Prince Bishop of Liège, Lord of Mechelen, the Duke of Brabant and the powerful Berthout family, trying to curtail each other's influence.The 13th and 14th century becoming the flourishing period of the Brabantine Cloth trade. The invasion of Brabant and the acquisition of Mechelen in 1357 by Louis de Male, Count of Flanders, will form the prologue to Burgundian supremacy (1384). The apogee of Mechelen's fame came with Margaret of Austria. Under her regency, Mechelen became the true political nucleus of the Netherlands. The exaltation of that euphoria did not last very long yet, after Margaret's death, Mechelen slipped away into a more provincial existence. Around the 1560's, Mechelen, struggling trough the revolt of the Netherlands and the uprising of the North, became the seat of Archbishopric. It survived the religious wars and the sacking of the town by the Spanish army under the command of the Duke of Alva.
In the 17th century, when the storm had died down, Mechelen thrived again, renowned for its lace, drapery, tapestry, gilt leather and its skilful Baroque woodwork. After the treaty of Utrecht signed in 1713, the Spanish Netherlands were placed under the sovereignty of the Austrian Habsburgs. During this period a canal was made, thus linking Louvain with Mechelen, bypassing the Dyle and considerably improving inland navigation.
The 19th century and the industrial revolution changed the more agrarian outlook of Mechelen, with new industrial plants due to an urgent need for modern communication, such as the first railroad on the Continent between Mechelen and Brussels (1835).
The 20th century saw two World Wars scarring the face of Mechelen and moving up-to-date industries towards new industrial zones on the town's periphery.
- Pros:Historically as important as Brussels, Bruges, Gand or Antwerp
When you walk in the centre of Mechelen, take a few minutes to go to the area that spans the Lange Schipstraat, the... more travel advice
When you are in Mechelen, you will go and walk over the Ijzerenleen. In fact, it's the busiest street when leaving the... more travel advice
kbl's Related Pages
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