Ardennes or Oesling in Belgium, France and Luxembourg

28 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  6 minutes

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

Frahan and the Semois river in Belgium © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT/cc-by-sa-2.5

The Ardennes, also known as the Ardennes Forest or Forest of Ardennes, is a region of extensive forests, rough terrain, rolling hills and ridges primarily in Belgium and Luxembourg, extending into Germany and France. Geologically, the range is a western extension of the Eifel; both were raised during the Givetian age of the Devonian (382.7 to 387.7 million years ago), as were several other named ranges of the same greater range. The Ardennes proper stretches well into Germany and France (lending its name to the Ardennes department and the former Champagne-Ardenne region) and geologically into the Eifel (the eastern extension of the Ardennes Forest into Bitburg-Prüm, Germany); most of it is in the southeast of Wallonia, the southern and more rural part of Belgium (away from the coastal plain but encompassing more than half of the country’s total area). The eastern part of the Ardennes forms the northernmost third of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, also called “Oesling” (Luxembourgish: Éislek). On the southeast the Eifel region continues into the German state of the Rhineland-Palatinate. The trees and rivers of the Ardennes provided the charcoal industry assets that enabled the great industrial period of Wallonia in the 18th and 19th centuries, when it was arguably the second great industrial region of the world. The greater region maintained an industrial eminence into the 20th century, after coal replaced charcoal in metallurgy.   read more…

Sablon in Brussels

24 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  11 minutes

Rue de Rollebeek © Michel wal/cc-by-sa-3.0

Rue de Rollebeek © Michel wal/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Sablon or Zavel (Dutch) is a neighbourhood and hill in the historic upper town of Brussels in Belgium. At its heart are the twin squares of the larger Grand Sablon (“Large Sablon”) square in the northwest and the smaller Petit Sablon (“Small Sablon”) square and garden in the southeast, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The Sablon neighbourhood was remodelled in the 19th century as Regentschapstraat was driven through the area, creating a Haussmann-style artery between the Royal Palace of Brussels and the new Palace of Justice. The new street skirted the church: all buildings immediately adjacent to it were demolished starting in 1872, opening up new views of the church. Buildings not directly adjacent to the church were renovated and improved.   read more…

Liege, the cultural center of the Walloon Region

8 December 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  9 minutes

Royal Opera © Benjamin Frere

Royal Opera © Benjamin Frere

Liège is a major city and municipality of Belgium located in the province of Liège, of which it is the economic capital, in Wallonia, the French-speaking region of Belgium.   read more…

Mons, European Capital of Culture 2015

28 July 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, European Union, European Capital of Culture, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Grand'Place © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Grand’Place © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

Mons is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut, of which it is the capital. The Mons municipality includes the old communes of Cuesmes, Flénu, Ghlin, Hyon, Nimy, Obourg, Baudour (partly), Jemappes, Ciply, Harmignies, Harveng, Havré, Maisières, Mesvin, Nouvelles, Saint-Denis, Saint-Symphorien, Spiennes, Villers-Saint-Ghislain, Casteau (partly), Masnuy-Saint-Jean (partly), and Ville-sur-Haine (partly). Together with the Czech city of Plzeň, Mons is selected to be the European capital of culture in 2015.   read more…

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