Last modified: 2008-06-21 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Andenne - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 May 2005
The municipality of Andenne (24,557 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 8,657 ha) is located on the river Meuse, between Namur and Huy. The municipality of Andenne is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Andenne, Bonneville, Coutisse, Landenne, Maizeret, Namêche, Sclayn, Seilles, Thon and Vezin.
The region of Andenne was already settled in the Roman times, but the
boom of the town started only around 692 with the foundation of a
monastery by Begge.
Begge was the daughter of Pepin of Landen (c. 580-640), aka Pepin the Ancient or St. Pepin, Mayor of the Palace of Austrasia. Under the Merovingian dynasty, the royal court was ruled by a Mayor of Palace, who often exercized himself the power "on behalf" of a too weak or too young sovereign. The Merovingians had violent ways and very few kings could exercize the power for a long period and in an absolute manner. Pepin of Landen was Mayor of the Palace for Clotaire II (584-629, King of Neustria and of all the Franks after 613), Dagobert I (King of the Franks from 629 to 638) and Sigebert III (King of Austrasia from 634 to 656). From his marriage with a noble lady from Aquitaine, Pepin had two daughters, Gertrude and Begge. Gertrude founded the abbey of Nivelles.
Begge married Ansegisius and they got a son named Pepin. The legend says that Ansegisius found in a forest a baby called Gondwin and took him in. Once adult, Gondwin fell in love with Begge and killed Ansegisius. Begge was warned of the danger by a divine premonition and guided by a doe; Pepin killed Gondwin, and Begge, advised by the Pope, decided to found a monastery. After four unsuccessful attempts to build the monastery, God indicated Begge the exact place where the monastery had to be built with a sow and seven piglets and with a hen and seven chicks. Begge understood that the abbey should have seven chapels. The origin of Andanna ad septem ecclesias (Andenne with the seven churches) is more probably related to the seven basilicas in Rome. The first built church was the abbey church St. Mary Major, followed by the St. Stephen, St. Saviour, St. Michael, St. Peter, St. Lawrence and St. John the Baptist churches, all suppressed between 1763 and 1771 because of their bad state.
In the early years, the monastery had a mixed organization and followed St. Benedict's rule, but it was transformed into a noble chapter of canonesses, as stated by a chart signed by Count of Namur Philip the Noble in 1207.
Begge's son Pepin was later famous as as Pepin of Herstal (c.
635/640-714), aka Pepin the Young, appointed Mayor of the Palace of
Austrasia in 680. Pepin defeated King Thierry III of Neustria in 687
and annexated Neustria to Austrasia.
Pepin's son, Charles Martel (c. 688-741) is said to be native from Andenne. A shield placed near a fountain "recalls" that Charles killed with his bare hands a bear that scared the region. The story explains why the bear is an important character in local folklore. Other popular characters in Andenne are St. Mort (lit., dead), a resurrected baby, and St. Orbie, who watched every night the struggle between a demon who blew out her light and an angel who put it on again. Charles Martel is an important character of French history: like his father, he was Mayor of the Palace of Neustria and Austrasia, stopped the Arab invasion in the famous battle of Poitiers in 732, and submitted Aquitaine, Provence and Burgundy. Before his death, he shared the kingdom of the Franks he had reunited between his sons Carloman and Pepin le Bref, Charlemagne's father and first king of the Carolingian dynasty.
Andenne was located near the border of the County of Namur and the Principality of Liège, a strategical location which caused several damages to the town. In 883, it was looted and burnt down by the Norsemen. Namur burnt down Andenne again in 1059, so did Liège in 1152 and 1155. In the XIIIth century, Andenne was involved in the Cow's War. In 1429, the troops of Liège had to withdraw from Namur but plundered Andenne once again. The garrison of Huy, defeated by the Duke of Burgundy in Brustem in 1467, stopped in Andenne on its way back ... and looted the town.
In the Middle Ages, Andenne was known all over Europe for its potteries
and soil tiles, made with the local white clay known as blanche
derle. Pipe production started at the end of the XVIIth century, as
well as the production of refined earthenware. Joseph Wauters opened
the first earthenware factory in Andenne in the place called Belgrade.
The factory was confered the title of Imperial and Royal Factory and
employed up to 200 workers. The model maker J. Richardot, from
Lorraine, designed priceless figurines portraying historical characters
like Napoléon. From 1805 to 1823, Verdussen and Lammens modernized the
production and made sets of tableware, including the famous set aux
châteaux (with the castles).
Porcelain was produced by the Fourmy factory in the beginning of the XIXth century, followed by Camille Renard, of international repute.
On 19 August 1914, some 40,000 Germans entered Andenne or stayed in the neighborhood. In the evening of 20 August, the Germans claimed to have been attacked and started a carnage, killing 225 men, women and children.
Andenne is the birth town of the strip cartoonist Chris Lamquet. He did
his first drawing for the review of his secondary school of Andenne. In
1974, he was hired by Édouard Aidans and worked on cartoons. Then he
produced with Magda Seron several episodes of the ecological series
Gilles Roux et Marie Meuse, published in Tintin. Lamquet published
then Quasar in Spirou. Mostly interested in science-fiction and
ecology, Lamquet made the four volumes of Tropique des Etoiles for
Hélyode and the black and white album L'amour Hologramme for
From 1994 to 1997, Lamquet worked for the Japanese publisher Kodansha; the series La Droïde de IO Bar was published in the specialized magazin Morning (1.2 millions copies).
The most famous production by Lamquet is Alvin Norge, which has been completely realized with a computer since volume 3.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 19 May 2005
The municipal flag of Andenne is horizontally divided yellow-black.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, this flag was proposed by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community as:
Deux laizes longitudinales jaune et noire.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal coat of arms:
D'or au lion de sable, couronné et lampassé de gueules (Or a lion sable crowned and langued gules).
Servais writes that the municipal arms of Andenne were granted by Royal Decree on 28 August 1847. The arms were used by the Counts of Namur until the late XVth century. Andenne was a possession of the Counts of Namur in the XIIth century, and they were the oldest known Lords of Andenne. Hence the municipality applied for the use of these arms.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 May 2005