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Jette (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2004-06-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Jette]by Ivan Sache

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Presentation of Jette

The municipality of Jette (40,909 inhabitants, 504 ha) is one of the 19 components of the bilingual region of Brussels-Capital. The name of the municipality is the same in French and Dutch. Jette is the north-western "green lung" of Brussels, since the nature reserve of Poelbos and the king Baudouin's park are located on its territory (cumulated, 117 ha, i.e., 1/4 of the municipal area).

The oldest mention of Jette, as Jetta, dates from 1095. The name of the city evolved as Jhet (1220), Iette (1389), Yette (1435) and Getta (1146). In the Middle Ages, Jette was fairly important since it was the seat of an échevinage (municipal court) ruling ten neighbouring villages. The Jette court followed Uccle/Ukkel's customary and owned a seal. Supreme authority in the échevinage was exerted by the mayor of Merchtem, on behalf of the prince.

The échevinage of Jette was dismembered in the XVIth century when the villages formerly placed under its authority were allocated to different domains. Until the middle of the XVIIth century, the domain of Jette successively belonged to several private owners. The County of Saint-Pierre de Jette was founded in 1659. At that time, the municipality of Jette belonged to François de Kinschot, lord of Rivieren. The domain, including the five villages of Jette, Ganshoren, Releghem, Hamme and Bever, and the title were transfered by marriage to Paul-Philippe de Villegas, whose family kept the domain until the French Revolution.

The St. Peter's church, built in neo-Gothic style in 1880, keeps the Villegas' funerary monument, made of white and black marble, as well as a gilded St. Peter's reliquary, invoked to heal children sick with whooping couch. The Sacred-Heart's Convent was established in 1834 in the domain formerly owned by baron Bonaventure, one of the early owners of Jette.

The abbot's residence is the only remain of the Dieleghem abbey, which was in the past one of the most powerful abbeys in Brabant. The abbey was founded in 1095 and sold in 1789. In 1730, the monks built a road linking the abbey to Molenbeek-Saint-Jean / Sint-Jans-Molenbeek. A toll-gate was set up near the entrance of the abbey, which is recalled today by an inn called A l'ancienne barrière (At the ancient gate).

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2004

Description of the flag of Jette

The municipal flag of Jette is vertically divided blue-yellow,.

Source: Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones. Tome I, Dexia, 2002 [2004]

Pascal Vagnat, 18 April 2004

Coats of arms of Jette

The municipal coat of arms of Jette is:

D'or à la fasce brétessée et contrebrétessée de sable

In English:

Or a fess bretessed and counterbretessed sable

Bretesse (or bretèche), from ancient French brétescher, to protect with a bartizan, means "symmetrically crenellated on both sides". The name bretèche (bartizan) comes from medieval Latin brittisca, fortification, maybe related to popular Latin brittus, Britton. It is a small machicolated, projecting loggia used for defense.

The municipality of Jette has greater arms decorated with supporters, helmet, crest etc., all derived from the ancient municipal seal.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2004

Municipal seal of Jette

The seal of the municipality of Jette shows in the middle the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus, flanked on the right by a shield hold on the senester by a dame, who holds with her right hand a heart placed on a starry veil and surmonted by a crown; and on the left by an unicorn, a crowned helmet and a hawk.

In the XVIIth century, the county of Saint-Pierre-Jette had a seal reproducing the arms of François de Kinschot, showing the Blessed Virgin with the infant Jesus in a Gothic recess. The Blessed Virgin was thepatron saint of the abbey of Dieleghem and was shown on the ancient seals of the abbey (then Abbatia Jettensis; 1180, 1247, 1261, 1297).

The modern seal never belonged to the Kinschot family, although it includes their arms. It was indeed the seal of the échevins (municipal magistrates) of the county of Saint-Pierre Jette. It can be seen on a municipal act dated 28 May 1661, kept in the archives of the Municipal Center for Welfare in Brussels.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 April 2004