Namur (Dutch: , Nameur in Walloon) is a city and
municipality in Wallonia, in southern
Belgium. It is both the capital of the province of Namur and (since
1986) of Wallonia.
stands at the confluence of the Sambre and Meuse rivers and straddles three different regions -
Hesbaye to the north, Condroz to the south-east and
Entre-Sambre-et-Meuse to the south-west.
The language spoken
municipality includes the old communes of Beez, Belgrade, Saint-Servais, Saint-Marc, Bouge,
Champion, Daussoulx, Flawinne,
Malonne, Suarlée, Temploux,
Cognelée, Gelbressée, Marche-les-Dames, Dave, Jambes, Naninne, Wépion, Wierde, Erpent,
Lives-sur-Meuse, and Loyers.
began as an important trading settlement in Celtic times, straddling east-west and north-south
trade routes across the Ardennes.
, too, established a presence
after Julius Caesar
defeated the local
to prominence during the early Middle
Ages when the Merovingians built a
castle or citadel
on the rocky spur overlooking the town at the confluence of the two
In the 10th century it became a county
in its own right. The town developed
somewhat unevenly, as the counts of Namur could only build on the
north bank of the Meuse - the south bank was owned by the bishops of
Liège and developed more slowly into the town of Jambes
(now effectively a suburb of Namur).
In 1262, Namur fell
into the hands of the Count of
, and was purchased by Duke Philip the Good
After Namur became part of the Spanish Netherlands
in the 1640s, its
citadel was considerably strengthened. The King Louis XIV of France
invaded in 1692,
capturing the town and annexing it to France. His renowned military
rebuilt the citadel.
French control was short-lived, as William III of Orange-Nassau
captured Namur only three years later in 1695 during the War of the Grand Alliance
Barrier Treaty of 1709, the Dutch
gained the right to garrison Namur, although the subsequent
Treaty of Utrecht of 1713 gave
control of the formerly Spanish
Netherlands to the Austrian House of
Thus, although the Austrians ruled the town,
the citadel was controlled by the Dutch. It was rebuilt again under
France invaded the region again in 1794, during the French Revolutionary Wars
again annexed Namur, imposing a repressive regime. After the defeat
in 1815, the Congress of Vienna
incorporated what is
now Belgium into the United Kingdom of the
. Belgium broke away from the Netherlands in 1830
following the Belgian Revolution
and Namur continued to be a major garrison town under the new
government. The citadel was rebuilt yet again in 1887.
a major target of the German invasion of Belgium in 1914, which sought to use
the Meuse valley as a route into France.
billed as virtually impregnable, the citadel fell after only three
days' fighting and the town was occupied by the Germans for the
rest of the war. Namur fared little better in World War II
; it was in the front lines of both
the Battle of the Ardennes in 1940 and the Battle of the Bulge
in 1944. The town
suffered heavy damage in both wars.
Namur continued to host the Belgian
departure in 1977.
Namur is an important commercial and industrial centre, located on
the Walloon industrial backbone, the Sambre and Meuse valley
. It produces
machinery, leather goods, metals and porcelain. It is also an
important railway junction situated on the north-south line between
Brussels and Luxembourg City, and the east-west line between Lille and Liège.
passes through the middle of the city along the Meuse.
Culture and sights
Namur, the St Aubin's
Namur has taken on a new role as the capital of the federal region
of Wallonia. Its location at the head of the Ardennes has also made
it a popular tourist centre, with a casino
located in its southern district on the left bank of the
The town's most prominent sight is the citadel, now demilitarised
and open to the public. It plays host to a beer
festival at Easter
. Namur also has a
distinctive 18th century cathedral
dedicated to Saint Aubain and a belfry classified by UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site.
An odd Namurois custom is the annual Combat de l'Échasse d'Or
(Fight for the Golden Stilt
), held on the third Sunday in
September. Two teams, the Mélans and the Avresses, dress in
medieval clothes while standing on stilts and do battle in one of
the town's principal squares.
possesses a distinguished university, the
Facultés Universitaires Notre-Dame de la
Paix (FUNDP), also referred to as University of Namur,
founded in 1831.
Since 1986 Namur has been home to the Namur International Festival
of French-Speaking Film.
- Antoine Thomas (1644-1709),
Jesuit priest, Astronomer in China.
- Goswin de Stassart,
- Felix Ravaisson-Mollien
(1813-1900), philosopher born in Namur
- Félicien Rops (1833-1898),
- Henri Michaux (1899-1984), poet,
writer and painter born in Namur
- Thierry Zéno, author-filmmaker
born on April 22, 1950.
- Nicolas Bosret, author of Li
- Joseph André (1908-1973),
catholic priest, Righteous
Among the Nations.
- Benoît Poelvoorde,
- Blanche of
Namur (1318-1365), queen of Sweden and Norway
- Olivier Rochus, professional
- Christophe Rochus,
professional tennis player
- Lucas Belvaux, actor and
- Cécile de France,
- Pascal Gabriel, musician
- Nathalie Loriers, jazz pianist
de la Vallée-Poussin (1827-1903), geologist
Twin towns — Sister cities
Namur is twinned
- 22ème Festival
International du Film Francophone de Namur retrieved May 14,
2007. (French language)
- Jean-Pol Hiernaux : Namur, capitale de la Wallonie, in
Encyclopédie du Mouvement wallon, Tome II, Charleroi,
Institut Jules Destrée, 2000, ISBN 2-87035-019-8 (or 2d ed.,
CD-ROM, 2003, ISBN 2-87035-028-7)