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Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve (Municipality, Province of Walloon Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve]

Municipal flag of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve - Image by Filip van Laenen, 14 November 2001

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Presentation of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve

The municipality of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve (in local Walloon, Okni; 30,188 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,943 ha) is located 30 km south-east of Brussels. The municipality of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Ottignies (9,549 inh.)-Louvain-la-Neuve (10,408 inh.), Céroux-Mousty (4,760 inh.) and Limelette (5,462 inh.). The municipality is often considered as the botroul (dialectal form for "navel", in French, nombril) of Walloon Brabant.

Ottignies was most probably found in the Carolingian times by the soldier Otton, who was granted a big domain watered by the river Dyle. The place was called Othenies in 1190 ans Ottignies in 1197. In 1213, Ottignies was the seat of a parish dedicated to St. Remy. A record from 1260 lists a castle, a market (already called "old market"), a mill, a brewery and a tavern.
Once an isolated rural village, Ottignies developed in the late XIXth century, following the building of a paved road and of the railway. Factories were set up in the valley of Dyle, which attracted several workers who settled near the railway stations.
The railway station of Ottignies is one of the most important in Wallonia, with junctions to Brussels, Namur, Charleroi and Leuven. The Surrealist painter Paul Delvaux (1897-1994) was a frequent user of that station in his childhood, and often represented it in his paintings.

In the 1960s, the University of Leuven, founded in 1425, was split into the Dutch-speaking KUL, that stayed in Leuven, and the French-speaking UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain), that was relocated on the plateau of Lauzelle, where the new town of Louvain-la-Neuve was founded. The Municipal Council accepted in 14 July 1966 the transfer; the first university year at UCL started on 20 October 1972, while the transfer from Leuven to Louvain-la-Neuve ended in 1979.

Céroux-Mousty is known as one of the residences of Hergé, for the donjon of Moriensart, built in the XIIIth century, and for its big village square (the biggest in Walloon Brabant), which has 61 lindens.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 16 September 2007

Municipal flag of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve

The municipal flag of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve is horizontally divided yellow-blue-yellow (1:2:1).
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 30 September 1991 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 18 December 1991.
The flag is a banner of the former arms of Ottignies, itself the arms of the Spangen family, lords of Ottignies.

According to the municipal website, Ottignies used during the First World War as its municipal arms "Argent an otter azure"; the canting arms referred to a probably wrong etymololgy, backed up by Tarlier and Wauters in the XIXth century, relating Ottignies to the otter (in German, Otter; in Dutch, otter).
The current arms of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve incorporates the former arms of Ottignies as their first quarter. They are:
Écartelé, au 1 d'or à la fasce d'azur, au 2 d'azur à la bande d'or accompagnée de deux colombes d'argent becquées et membrées de gueules, à la bordure du second cachée de huit taus du premier, au 3 d'azur à la croix d'or cantonnée de 4 coquilles du même, au 4 d'or à 3 coqs de gueules.
("Quarterly, 1. Or a fess azure, 2. Azure a bend or two doves argent beaked and membered gules the border of the second with eight tau crosses of the first, 3. Azure a cross or cantonned with four scallops of the same, 4. Or three roosters gules).
The first quarter, showing the arms of the Spangen family, represents Ottignies and Mousty.
The second quarter, showing the canting arms of the Colomba family, represents Céroux
The third quarter shows the arms of Anne-Josèphe de la Croix, Abbess of Florival from 1733 to 1749. They are shown on a wall of the Biéreau farm, where the University of Louvain-la-Neuve was built.
The fourth quarter is the former arms of Limette, as shown by Servais.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 16 September 2007