Last modified: 2005-11-12 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Lennik - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 25 June 2005
The municipality of Lennik (8,700 inhabitants) is located 20 km west of Brussels, in the heart of the region called Pajottenland. It is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Sint-Kwintens-Lennik (including Eizeringen), Sint-Martens-Lennik and Gaasbeek.
Pajottenland is a rural area located between the rivers Zenne and Dender and surrounded by the cities of Anderlecht (Brussels-Capital), Asse (Flemish Brabant), Ninove (East Flanders), Geraardsbergen (East Flanders), Enghien (Hainaut) and Halle (Flemish Brabant). Beside parts of these cities, Pajottenland is made of another eight municipality from Flemish Brabant: Dilbeek, Roosdaal, Gooik, Herne, Galmaarden, Pepingen, Bever, Affligem, Liedekerke, Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Ternat and Lennik.
The name of Pajottenland was coined by romantic students from Ghent in the middle of the XIXth century. The origin of the word is not clear; De Gronckel, who published in 1852 the first map with the name Pajottenland, wrongly claimed that Pajotten was a deformation of Patriots.
Pajottenland is known as Bruegel's Land. The painter Pieter Bruegel the
Ancient (1525/1530-1569) settled in Brussels in 1563 and painted
several landscapes and scenes of Pajottenland. A well-known painting by
Bruegel shows a group of roped-up blind people falling down into a
brook, which has been identified as the Pedebeke in the village of
Sint-Anna-Pede. The chapel shown on the painting is still the same.
Bruegel also painted fairs (kermissen), which are still main events in
the local social life.
Pajottenland is the home of the lambik beer. Spontaneous fermentation of lambik is caused by wild yeasts. Lambik has been brewed since the Middle Ages. Beer obtained after this natural fermentation is called young lambik (jonge lambik). Old lambik (oude lambik) is obtained by mixing young lambiks of different origin and age. Like the British ales, the lambiks do not have a froth head. The gueuse beer (geuze), considered as the Champagne of the beers, is obtained by mixing an old lambik with a very young lambik into a tap, where a second fermentation takes place. The fruit beers Kriek and Framboise, are obtained in a similar way, with the addition of bitter cherries (krieks) or rasperries (framboises).
The Sint-Kwentins-Lennik cyclist rally was run from 1966 to 1981. Its most famous winners were Andre Dierickx (1977) and Fons De Wolf (1979).
Ivan Sache, 26 June 2005
According to Servais, the arms of Lennik are those of the former municipality of Sint-Kwentins-Lennik. They were originally designed in 1699 by Corneille de Man, lord of Lennik; their precise meaning is not known. On the greater arms of Lennik, the shield is supported by two lions or armed and langued gules each holding a square flag; on dexter, a banner of the arms of Lennik, on sinister a banner quartered first and fourth silver three mascles silver placed two and one a chief gules second and third silver a lion sable armed and langued gules.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 25 June 2005