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by Jens Pattke
The municipality of Eupen (17,500 inhabitants; 104.26 sq. km) is the administrative capital city of the German-speaking Community in Belgium. It is part of the province of Liége and region of Wallonia.
The history of Eupen and the numerous changes in its rulers reflects the location of the city near several borders.
Eupen was mentioned for the first time in 1213 as a hamlet part of the Duchy of Limburg, with a chapel dedicated to St. Nicholas. On 5 June 1288, Limburg was incorporated into the Duchy of Brabant following the battle of Worringen. One century later (22 Feburary 1387), Limburg and Brabant were incorporated into the Duchy of Burgundy. The same year, Eupen was reduced to ashes during the war against Gelderland.
In 1477, Brabant and Limburg were ceded to the Austrian Hapsburgs. Emperor Charles V granted on 15 June 1544 Eupen the right to have two tax-free fairs per year. Eupen became renowned for cloth and nails trade.
In 1555, the Spanish Hapsburgs succeded the Austrian Hapsburgs as the rulers of Limburg and Brabant. The Protestant religion was reported in Eupen for the first time in 1565. During the night of 6 July 1582, Dutch mercenaries trashed and burned half of the city. The black plague reached Eupen in 1635 and killed most of the inhabitants of the city.
In 1648, Eupen was granted the title of free seigniory with an independent court; on 12 June 1674, it was granted a seal and the title of town. A factory producing fine cloth was opened in 1680, which triggered the development of the city. On 20 December 1688, Eupen was granted the right to have five tax-free fairs per year. The title of parish was granted to Eupen in 1695.
On 11 April 1713, the treaty of Utrecht retroceded Limburg and Brabant to the Austrian Hapsburgs. A "college of merchants" (chamber of commerce) was founded in Eupen in 1783.
In 1794, Eupen was incorporated in the French Republic. The treaty of Vienna allocated in 1815 Eupen to the Rhine province (Rheinprovinz) of Prussia.
Eupen was granted a municipal coat of arms in 1864.
In 1920, the Prussian districts of Eupen, Malmedy and Sankt Vith (the "Eastern Districts") were ceded to Belgium. Until 1925, they formed the Governorate of Eupen-Malmédy. The Eastern Cantons were reannexed by Germany on 18 May 1940, and eventually retroceded to Belgium on 11 September 1944. Eupen absorbed in 1977 the neighbouring municipality of Kettenis and was granted new arms by King Baudouin / Boutweijn on 10 March 1983.
Source: TouristInfo Eupen website
Eupen is the seat of the Chocolat Jacques chocolate factory and its chocolate museum (founded in 1994).
Antoine Jacques founded a factory in Verviers in 1896 in order to produce chocolate, candies and gingerbread. In 1920, Jacques and his associate William Zurstrassen founded the Chocolat Jacques company, and the factory was transfered to Eupen in 1922. The company was absorbed in 1982 by the Stollwerck group and a new factory was built in 1987. The size of the factory was doubled in 1994. In 2002, the Stollwerck group was absorbed by the Swiss group Barry-Callebaut (of Belgian origin!). The Chocolat Jacques factory hires 200 workers and produces 22,000 tons of chocolate per year, yielding a turnover of 60 millions euros.
Source: Chocolat Jacques website
Ivan Sache, 30 November 2004
The flag of Eupen is vertically divided yellow-red with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
The flag was shown in the TV program Rent-a-Procher on German TV Pro7 on 15 November 2004, with the Mayor of Eupen as the special guest.
Jens Pattke, 22 November 2004
The arms of Eupen were first granted on 21 December 1864 by King William of Prussia with the Prussian eagle as supporter behind the shield. The present arms were granted on 10 September 1920 and confirmed on 10 March 1983.
Source: International Civic Heraldry website
Jens Pattke, 30 November 2004
by Jens Pattke
A vertical version of the flag of Eupen was also shown in the TV program Rent-a-Procher on German TV Pro7 on 15 November 2004, with the Mayor of Eupen as the special guest.
Jens Pattke, 22 November 2004Mostbet