World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Sint-Jans-Molenbeek / Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

Article Id: WHEBN0000249672
Reproduction Date:

Title: Sint-Jans-Molenbeek / Molenbeek-Saint-Jean  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Index of Belgium-related articles, List of postal codes in Belgium
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Sint-Jans-Molenbeek / Molenbeek-Saint-Jean

Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Dutch)
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (French)
Municipality of Belgium

Coat of arms
Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Dutch)Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (French)
Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Dutch)
Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (French)
Location in Belgium

Coordinates: 50°51′N 04°20′E / 50.850°N 4.333°E / 50.850; 4.333Coordinates: 50°51′N 04°20′E / 50.850°N 4.333°E / 50.850; 4.333

Country Belgium
Community Flemish Community
French Community
Region Brussels
Arrondissement Brussels
 • Mayor Françoise Schepmans (MR)
 • Total 5.89 km2 (2.27 sq mi)
Population (1 January 2012)[1]
 • Total 93,893
 • Density 16,000/km2 (41,000/sq mi)
Postal codes 1080
Area codes 02

Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Dutch, pronounced [sɪnˈcɑnsˈmoːlə(n)ˌbeːk]) or Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (French, pronounced [molənˈbek ˈsɛ̃ ʒɑ̃]) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium.


Rural beginnings

The name Molenbeek comes from two Dutch words molen “mill” and beek “creek, beck”. Although first applied to the brook that ran through the village, the name eventually came to be used to designate the village itself around the year 985. In the early Middle Ages, Molenbeek was known for its miraculous well of Saint Gertrude, which attracted thousands of pilgrims.

The village was made part of Brussels in the 13th century. As a result, Molenbeek lost many of its lands to its more powerful neighbour. In addition, its main church was dismantled in 1578, leading to further decline. The town’s character remained mostly rural until the 18th century.


At the end of the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution and the building of the Brussels-Charleroi Canal brought prosperity back to Molenbeek, through commerce and manufacturing. In 1785, the city regained its status as an independent commune. Attracted by the industrial opportunities, many workers moved in, first from other Belgian provinces and France, then from South European, and more recently from East European and African countries. The growth of the community continued unabated throughout the 19th century, leading to cramped living conditions, especially near the canal.

The city became known as “Little Manchester” and its inhabitants lived through an extended period of misery. At the end of the 19th century, Brussels reintegrated the canal area within its new haven, which was thus lost to Molenbeek. The industrial decline, which had already started before World War I, accelerated after the Great Depression. In some areas of the city, the ensuing poverty left its mark on the urban landscape and scarred the social life of the community, leading to rising crime rates and pervading cultural intolerance. Various local revitalization programs are currently under way, aiming at relieving the most impoverished districts of the municipality.

Attempts at revitalizing the municipality have, however, not been successful. The multinational company BBDO in June, 2011 citing over 150 attacks on their staff by locals, posted an open letter to the mayor, Philippe Moureaux announcing their withdrawal from the town.[2] As a result, serious questions have been raised about governance, security, and the administration of Mayor Moureaux.[3]


Muslim community

Over the past couple of decades, a substantial Muslim community of mainly Moroccan and Turkish ancestry has established itself in Molenbeek, very visible (people, shops, cafés) in the oldest neighbourhoods of the commune, near the canal, while the new neighbourhoods are more akin to the population of neighbouring communes Jette or Berchem-Sainte-Agathe. There are several mosques in the commune, including a Pakistani one, and a Shi'a Turkish mosque.[4]


  • Several run-down industrial buildings have been renovated and converted into prime real estate and other community functions. Examples include the Raffinerie, a former sugar refinery that is now the site of a cultural and modern dance complex; the Fonderie, a former smelter that is now home to a labour and industry museum; the Bottelarij, a bottling plant which was housing the Royal Flemish Theatre during the renovation of the theatre in the centre of Brussels; and the most impressive Tour & Taxis building and surrounding area, which will be turned into various residences, as well as commercial enterprises.
  • The Karreveld castle is used for a variety of cultural events, but also for the meetings of the municipal council.
  • Regional nature park "Scheutbos".
  • A brewery, the Brasserie de la Senne.

Famous inhabitants


Twin cities

External links

  • Dutch)
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.