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Mettet (Municipality, Province of Namur, Belgium)

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

Flag of Mettet - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 25 March 2007

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Presentation of Mettet

The municipality of Mettet (12,037 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 11,678 ha) is located 25 km south-south-west of Namur, in the region of Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse. The municipality of Mettet is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Mettet, Biesme, Biesmerée, Ermeton-sur-Biert, Furnaux, Graux, Oret, Saint-Gérard (known until the 17th century as Brogne) and Stave.

The once powerful abbey of Brogne, founded by St. Gérard, is located in Mettet.
Saint Gérard was probably born around 890 in Stave, where his parents owned the domain of Brogne, enclaved within the forest of Marlagne. During hunting, Gérard entered the old St. Peter chapel, where the saint appeared to him and asked him to build a bigger chapel to keep St. Eugen's relics. Gérard studied with the Benedictine abbey of Saint-Denis near Paris, where he was ordained priest and given the relics in 919. He increased the parish church of Brogne and built in 923 the Benedictine Sts. Peter and Eugen monastery, being its first abbot.
In 930, commissioned by Count of Flanders Armand and Duke of Lotharingia Giselberg, Gérard set up a monastic reform. In every monastery, a regular abbot was named and the Benedictine rule was applied to get rid of the power exerted by the feudal lords who spoliated the goods and the benefits of the abbeys. Several abbeys of Belgium (Saint-Ghislain, Sts. Peter and Bavo in Ghent, Salles in Chimay) and France (St. Bertinus in St. Omer, Saint-Amand, St. Remy in Reims, Saint-Wandrille, Mont-Saint-Michel and St. Ouen in Rouen) were reformed by Gérard, who came back to Brogne in 953, where he died on 3 October 959. St. Gérard was canonized by Pope Innocent II in 1131. The devotion to the saint increased after his death; his relics were invoked against fever, jaundice and skin diseases. The miracles were credited to the miraculous water of the St. Peter Well, a well dug in the 10th century in the abbey church following Sts. Peter and Eugen "recommendations".

Gérard was succeeded in Brogne by 36 abbots. The fourth abbot, Gonthier, increased the abbey church, which was consecrated by the Bishop of Liège in 1038. Abbot Robert the Builder (1192-1221) rebuilt most of the abbey and set up the Gothic crypt that is the most impressive part of the abbey. After the death of the last abbot, the abbey was directly incorporated to the Bishopric of Namur in 1566; the abbey was governed by a prior and lost most of its benefits. Its decline was increased by the lack of care of most bishops, who were in permanent conflict with the few remaining monks.
The monks were expelled after the French Revolution; in 1797, the financer Jean-Baptiste Paulée purchased most of the buildings. During the Dutch rule, the abbey fell into ruins; the abbey church and two cloisters were suppressed to build a new road. In 1974, the abbey was purchased by the municipality of Mettet; in 1983, the association "Abbaye Saint-Gérard de Brogne" was founded to restore some of the buildings and to set up a culture project. Twenty-six thematic exhibitions were organized from 1992 to April 2007. In 2007, the municipality of Mettet took over the management of the abbey .

Source: Association "Abbaye Saint-Gérard de Brogne" website

The motorbike circuit of Mettet, of international fame, is named after Jules Tacheny (1907-1984), one of the founders of the "Royal Union Motor de l'Entre Sambre et Meuse" and most famous Belgian motobiker ever. Born in Mettet (and often nicknamed Monsieur Mettet), Tacheny was garage hand in his birth village, but his main interest was in motorbike races. In 1925, he started to win local races, so that the FN (Fabrique Nationale) ammunition factory of Herstal hired him as one of its four official pilots in 1930. On 26 October 1931, he broke 41 world records with his team mate Milhoux on the circuit of Linas-Monthléry, near Paris. Tacheny set up the circuit of Mettet, transferred to the Belgian state in 1951, where famous races are organized, such as "Grand Prix de Mettet", "1,000 kms de Mettet", and the very popular "Superbiker".

Source: Mettet circuit official website

Ivan Sache, 25 March 2007

Flag of Mettet

The flag of Mettet is quartered by a white cross green and green with a white border.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03a], the design was proposed by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community, as Vert chargé d'une croix blanche et bordé de blanc au deuxième et troisième cantons, la largeur de la croix et de la bordure étant égale au 1/7e du guindant.
The width of the cross and of the border shall be 1/7th of the flag height.
The design of the flag is inspired by the motorbike circuit (the border and the cross form indeed an "8").

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 25 March 2007