Last modified: 2008-03-29 by ivan sache
Keywords: oreye | oerle |
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The municipality of Oreye (in Dutch, Oerle; 3,464 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,964 ha) is located in the valley of Geer, in the northwest of the Province of Liège, on the linguistic border between French and Dutch. The municipality of Oreye is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Oreye, Bergilers (in Dutch, Bellik), Grandville (Nederliek), Lens-sur-Geer and Otrange (Wouteringen).
Oreye was known in the past as Horel and Urle. The name of the village
is probably derived from the Old French orle, which gave the verb
ourler, "to hem", refering to the location of the village on the
linguistic border. Like all the other villages but Bergilers, Oreye
depended on the County of Looz, later incorporated into the Principality of Liège. The village mostly depended on the abbey of
Sint-Truiden, while the lords of Oreye had a castle, a feudal court and
a justice court. "Thanks" to its location on the border of Liège and
Namur, the village was often plundered (1172, 1364 and 1636), while the castle was suppressed in 1630.
Oreye is known as "Sugar City", being located in a main sugar beet production area. Founded on 15 June 1889, the Sucrerie d'Oreye could process 300 tons of beets per day. The company was transformed in 1901 into the Sucrerie Notre-Dame. After the 1929 crisis, a refinery was built and the company was renamed Rafinnerie Notre-Dame. The Raffinerie Tirlemontoise, from Tienen absorbed it in 1936 and modernized it in 1952 via a technology transfer. The company also contributed to the mechanization of sugar beet growing. In 1981, the Oreye refinery specialized in refined sugar for industry, processing 5,500 tons of sugar beet per day. The sugar branch of the Raffinerie Tirlemontoise was purchased in February 1990 by the German group Südzucker.
Bergilers was an enclave of the County of Namur within the Principality
of Lège, excepted the exclave (!) of Malpas (from mauvais pas, "bad
pass"), the site of the former Roman way to the Good Town of Waremme.
The lord of the Bergilers was one of the twelve peers forming the Supreme Court of Namur.
Grandville, originally known as Gereville, after the river Geer, belonged directly to the Count of Looz, who transferred it to Godefroid, lord of Bocholtz and Oreye in 1619. Accordingly, the two villages shared the same history until the French Revolution.
Lens-sur-Geer belonged to the St. Denis chapter in Liège, which set up in the village a justice court and owned a 81-ha farm sold after the French Revolution as a "national good".
Otrange belonged to the lords of Thys, while its castle depended on Oreye. Until 1963, Otrange belonged to the Province of Limburg.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 12 September 2007
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, there is no municipal flag used in Oreye.
Pascal Vagnat, 12 September 2007