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|• Mayor||"Hans Bonte ("SP.A)|
|• Governing party/ies||"SP.A-"Groen!, "N-VA, "VLD|
|• Total||21.48 km2 (8.29 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2016)|
|• Density||2,000/km2 (5,200/sq mi)|
|"Area codes||02 - 015|
Vilvoorde (Dutch pronunciation: "[ˈvɪlvoːrdə], "French: Vilvorde, historically known as Filford in English) is a "Belgian "municipality in the "Flemish "province of "Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the city of Vilvoorde proper with its two outlying quarters of Koningslo and Houtem and the small town of Peutie. The nickname for inhabitants of Vilvoorde is Pjeirrefretters (horse eaters) because horse meat (specially steak) is a beloved food in Vilvoorde.
The official language of Vilvoorde is "Dutch. There is a French-speaking minority of about 20%,["citation needed] concentrated especially in the Koningslo quarter bordering "Brussels. The French-speaking minority is represented by 3 members on the 33-seat local council. The city is also home to a large "Spanish minority. In the center of the city, 1 out of 10 inhabitants have Spanish nationality and the proportion of Belgians with Spanish roots is even greater. Most immigrated after "World War II, from "Peñarroya-Pueblonuevo in "Andalusia. There is also a large Moroccan community, and many smaller communities of more recent immigrants including "Turks, "Macedonians and "Portuguese.
The "Nervii, and later the "Romans, probably already settled in this strategic place near the river "Zenne. The name Filfurdo was first mentioned in a 779 document whereby "Pippin of Herstal ceded this territory to the Abbey of Chèvremont, near "Liège. This name presumably derived from the word equivalents "villa["citation needed] at the "ford or river crossing.
In the 12th century, a small town started to grow, which quickly became a target for the ambitions of the dukes of "Brabant and lords of Grimbergen. "Henry I, Duke of Brabant granted the city its "charter of rights as soon as 1192, mainly to ensure the support of the inhabitants against powerful neighbouring "Flanders. The rights to build defensive walls and to export its products gave Vilvoorde a great economic boost, driven mostly by the cloth industry. In the 14th century, thanks to its position on the Zenne, Vilvoorde became an important military centre and could compete against "Leuven and "Brussels for the title of most important city in Brabant.
From the 15th to the 19th century, however, Vilvoorde suffered a prolonged decline, mainly because of the competition from Brussels, a general malaise in the "textile industry, and the result of epidemics and wars, both political and religious.
In 1597 Anna Utenhoven, an "Anabaptist accused of "heresy, was "buried alive at Vilvoorde - the last of the Protestants suffering martyrdom for their faith in the history of the "Habsburg Netherlands. "Anthony van Stralen, Lord of Merksem and "Jan van Casembroot both were executed in Vilvoorde.
The advent of the "Industrial Revolution in the late 18th century was a godsend to Vilvoorde, which could quickly capitalize on its proximity to Brussels and its good transportation infrastructure: the deepening of the canals around 1830 and the advent of the railways in 1835. Soon, the medieval buildings gave way to newer and better constructions. The 1489 city hall was replaced by the "neo-classical building we see today.
In the 1920s, the canal was broadened and deepened again, lined with new industrial zones, and an inland port was built to receive the freightliners. Following its liberation by the British in 1944, Vilvoorde was administered by a joint British and Belgian municipality, with temporary British and Belgian Mayors, Lt Col (then Major) JME Howarth Esq and (Later Prof.) Robert Senelle, before transferring back to a civilian administration. Vilvoorde became (and still is) one of the largest industrial areas around Brussels, with a population that grew to five times what it was 150 years earlier. The recent economic crises have hit the city hard, especially when "Renault closed its doors in 1997. The service industry is now taking the lead as Vilvoorde enters the 21st century.
Mayors of Vilvoorde:
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