Last modified: 2008-09-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: eupen | cross (red) | cross: engrailed (red) | crown: mural (grey) |
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Flag of Eupen, horizontal and vertical versions - Images by Jens Pattke, 15 March 2008
The municipality of Eupen (18,313 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 103.74 sq. km) is the administrative capital of the German-speaking Community in Belgium. Eupen is located close to the border with Germany, only 18 km from Aachen / Aix-la-Chapelle / Aken, 34 km from Liège and 25 km from the border with the Netherlands. The municipality of Eupen is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Eupen and Kettenis. Parts of the municipal territory are included in the German-Belgian natural park of Hohen Venn / Hautes Fagnes - Eifel.
The history of Eupen and the numerous changes in its rulers reflects
the location of the town near borders.
Eupen was mentioned for the first time in 1213 as a hamlet part of the Duchy of Limburg, with a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas. On 5 June 1288, Limburg was incorporated into the Duchy of Brabant, following the battle of Woeringen. One century later (22 Feburary 1387), Limburg and Brabant were incorporated into the Duchy of Burgundy. The same year, Eupen was reduced to ashes during the war against Gelderland.
In 1477, Brabant and Limburg were ceded to the Austrian Hapsburgs. Emperor Charles V granted on 15 June 1544 Eupen the right to have two tax-free fairs per year. Eupen became renowned for cloth and nails trade. In 1555, the Spanish Hapsburgs succeded the Austrian Hapsburgs as the rulers of Limburg and Brabant.
The Protestant religion was reported in Eupen for the first time in 1565. During the night of 6 July 1582, Dutch mercenaries plundered and burned half of the town. The black plague reached Eupen in 1635 and killed most of the inhabitants of the town.
In 1648, Eupen was granted the title of free seigniory with an independent court; on 12 June 1674, it was granted a seal and the title of town. A factory producing fine cloth was opened in 1680, which boosted the development of the town. On 20 December 1688, Eupen was granted the right to have five tax-free fairs per year. The title of parish was granted to Eupen in 1695.
On 11 April 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht retroceded Limburg and Brabant to the Austrian Hapsburgs. A "college of merchants" (chamber of commerce) was founded in Eupen in 1783.
In 1794, Eupen was incorporated in the French Republic. The treaty of Vienna allocated in 1815 Eupen to the Rhine province (Rheinprovinz) of Prussia. Eupen was granted a municipal coat of arms in 1864.
In 1920, the Prussian districts of Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith (the "Eastern Cantons") were ceded to Belgium. Until 1925, they formed the Governorate of Eupen-Malmedy. The Eastern Cantons were reannexed by Germany on 18 May 1940, and eventually retroceded to Belgium on 11 September 1944.
Eupen is the seat of the Chocolat Jacques factory and its
chocolate museum (founded in 1994).
Antoine Jacques founded a factory in Verviers in 1896 to produce chocolate, candies and gingerbread. In 1920, Jacques and his associate William Zurstrassen founded the Chocolat Jacques company, and the factory was transferred to Eupen in 1922. The company was absorbed in 1982 by the Stollwerck group and a new factory was built in 1987. The size of the factory was doubled in 1994. In 2002, the Stollwerck group was absorbed by the Swiss group Barry-Callebaut (of Belgian origin!).
The Chocolat Jacques factory hires 200 workers and produces 22,000 tons of chocolate per year, yielding a turnover of 60 millions euros.
Source: Chocolat Jacques website
Ivan Sache, 30 November 2004
The flag of Eupen, as hoisted in front of the town hall, is vertically divided red-yellow with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
In the TV program Rent-a-Procher on German TV Pro7 on 15 November 2004, with the Mayor of Eupen as the special guest, a vertical version of the flag was also shown.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the arms of Eupen, D'or à la
croix engrêlée de gueules, l'écu sommé d'une couronne murale d'argent ("Or a cross engrailed gules, the shield topped with a mural crown argent") were adopted by the Municipal Council on 22
January 1972 and confirmed by Royal Decree on 10 March 1983.
The first arms of Eupen were granted by (Prussian) Royal Decree (William I) on 21 December 1864. They were identical to the present arms, with the addition of an eagle sable armed and crowned or langued gules issuant from the central tower of the mural crown.
In 1920, General Baltia, Governor of the Eastern Cantons (reincorporated to Belgium) issued a Decree banning the Prussian eagle from the local municipal heraldry, and the eagle was removed.
The arms were probably designed after the arms of Jean van / von Oijpen, captured in Baeswiller in 1374, which show a cross engrailed with a label overall.
Jens Pattke & Ivan Sache, 20 April 2008