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Enghien (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)


Last modified: 2005-12-03 by ivan sache
Keywords: enghien | edingen | crosses: 15 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Enghien]

Municipal flag of Enghien - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 26 May 2005

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Presentation of Enghien

The municipality and town (Ville) of Enghien (in Dutch, Edingen; 10,500 inhabitants; 4,057 ha) is located in northern Hainaut, 30 km south-west of Brussels, on the border with Flemish Brabant. It is made of the former municipalities of Enghien, Marcq and Petit-Enghien.

The village of Petit-Enghien is older than the city of Enghien and its area is 20 times bigger as the area of the city. It was known in the past as vetus Aenghien (Old Enghien, 1114) and Enghien-le-Château (Enghien-the-Castle, 1167).

The city of Enghien sensu stricto was founded by Englebert d'Enghien in the XIth century. It was an important fortified city in the beginning of the XIIIth century, later used as a pleasure residence by the families of Luxembourg and Bourbon. Its most famous owner was King of France Henri IV, who neglected the city and sold the domain to the Arenberg family in 1607.

In the XVth century, Pierre de Luxembourg laid out the forest bordering his castle and designed a park. In 1630, the family of Arenberg created the famous park of Enghien, which was achieved in 1665 under the gudiance of Father Charles de Brussels, né Antoine d'Arenberg. A legend says that the young engraver Romeyn de Hooghe was able to draw all the landscapes of the park within seven days in 1666. It was said that the view on the gardens from the Seven Stars' Pavilion, built in 1656, was "one of the most beautiful in the world".
In the beginning of the XXth century, the domain and its ruined park were purchased by the industrial and banker François Empain. He built a neo-classical castle and housed there his collection of bronze and stone statues, including Le Dénicheur d'Aigles by Jef Lambeau and Diane, déesse de la chasse by Houdon.
In 1986, the municipality of Enghien bought the park and revamped it. Among the gardens to be visited are the Flowers' Garden (in Italian Renaissance style), the Dahlia Garden (today the European Dahlia Reference Collection), the Rose Garden and the Aquatic Garden.

Source: Municipal website

The town of Enghien gave its name to a powerful medieval family which had to maintain itself against powerful neighbours such as the count of Hainaut and the duke of Brabant. The most famous of them was Zeger II who inherited the county of Brienne and (the title of) the duchy of Athens, and was beheaded after a mock trial (he was accused of being too much in favour of Edward III of England) in 1364. The family died out end XVth century; their domain was inherited by the Luxembourgers and then by the Bourbons, who sold it in 1606 to the Arenbergs. The Bourbons, however, kept the title and had it augmented into that of duke. Several Bourbons such as the Great Condé were styled 'Duke of Enghien'.

Source: Grote Nederlandse Larousse Encyclopedie (1974)

The most famous Duke of Enghien was Louis-Antoine Henri de Bourbon -Condé (1772-1804), son of Louis-Joseph, Prince of Condé. Bonaparte ordered his capture in Germany and Enghien was shot in the ditches of the fortress of Vincennes after another mock trial. Bonaparte's idea was to suppress any hope of Bourbonic restoration, but the assassination of Enghien was immediately percieved as a huge political mistake.
A few centuries earlier, Duke Henry II of Montmorency revolted with the serial plotter Gaston d'Orléans against Richelieu; the plot failed, Montmorency was executed in 1632 and his Duchy was transfered to the Condé. Louis XIV decided to rename the Duchy of Montmorency, located north of Paris, Duchy of Enghien (to complicate the matter, there are still two different cities called Montmorency and Enghien!). The change of the name was not popular; in 1688, Madame de Sévigné wrote to his cousin Bussy-Rabutin: "Therefore we should call the cherries of Montmorency the cherries of Enghien [...) Cousin, I wouldn't get used to that". Therapeutic waters were found in 1773 and the village of Enghien-les-Bains started to develop in 1821 with the building of a spa. Enghien became a municipality in 1850 and is today a posh city, with a lake (hardly visible because of the wealthy houses built on its shore), a horse race track and a casino.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 26 May 2005

Municipal flag of Enghien

The municipal flag of Enghien (Belgium) is nearly square (13:15), with a gyronny of ten white and black pieces. In each black piece, there are three yellow crosses with a crosslet on the three top arms.

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag is a banner of the municipal arms, which were adopted along with the flag on 18 June 1992 by the Municipal Council and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 3 May 1993, with the following description:

Gironné blanc et noir de dix pièces, chaque pièce noire chargée de trois croisettes recroisettées au pied fiché de jaune, ce pied dirigé vers le centre du tablier.

The flag reproduces the former banner of arms of the Duchy of Enghien.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 26 May 2005