La Louvière

La Louvière (French pronunciation: [la luvjɛʁ] (listen); Walloon: El Lovire) is a city and municipality of Wallonia located in the province of Hainaut, Belgium.

La Louvière
El Lovire  (Walloon)
Houdeng-Aimeries
Houdeng-Aimeries
Coat of arms of La Louvière
La Louvière is located in Belgium
La Louvière
La Louvière
Location in Belgium
Location of La Louvière in Hainaut
La Louvière Hainaut Belgium Map.svg
Coordinates: 50°28′N 04°11′E / 50.467°N 4.183°E / 50.467; 4.183Coordinates: 50°28′N 04°11′E / 50.467°N 4.183°E / 50.467; 4.183
CountryBelgium
CommunityFrench Community
RegionWallonia
ProvinceHainaut
ArrondissementLa Louvière
Government
 • MayorJacques Gobert (PS)
 • Governing party/iesPS, MR, UDSC
Population
 (2018-01-01)[1]
 • Total80,637
Postal codes
7100, 7110
Area codes064
Websitewww.lalouviere.be

The municipality consists of the following districts: Boussoit, Haine-Saint-Paul, Haine-Saint-Pierre, Houdeng-Aimeries, Houdeng-Gœgnies, La Louvière, Maurage, Saint-Vaast, Strépy-Bracquegnies, and Trivières.

La Louvière is the capital of the Centre region, a former coal mining area in the Sillon industriel, between the Borinage to the West and the Pays Noir to the East.

HistoryEdit

Mythical originsEdit

The legend of a mother wolf nursing a child at La Louvière is reminiscent of the mythical birth of Rome. The true origin of the city, however, dates from the 12th century. At that time, the forested, and presumably wolf-infested, territory of today’s La Louvière was named Menaulu, from the Old French meaning “wolf’s lair”. This land was part of the larger community of Saint-Vaast, which itself belonged to the Aulne Abbey.

By 1284, the name of the territory had been translated into Latin, then back into French to its current name of La Louvière. The lords of Saint-Vaast encouraged prospecting on their land, which led to the first extraction of coal in the year 1390. The abbey’s refusal to provide necessary infrastructure, however, delayed large-scale development until the 18th century.

Birth of La LouvièreEdit

In the 19th century, the construction of roads, canals, and railways finally allowed the local coal production to be exported. Investments also poured into the local industry to take advantage of the abundant source of energy. La Louvière quickly surpassed its overlord Saint-Vaast, both in population and economic wealth. Within fifty years, the territory that was not much more than a place name had become one of the most important cities in Wallonia. La Louvière was recognized as an independent city in 1869. Today, La Louvière is still the fifth largest city in Wallonia, after Charleroi, Liège, Namur, and Mons.

SightsEdit

 
Boat lift on the old Canal du Centre
 
Workers' housing at Bois-du-Luc (1838-1853)
  • There are four hydraulic boat lifts on the old Canal du Centre, which connects the river Meuse to the Scheldt. These double elevators date from around 1900 and were designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1998.
  • The housing complex that was built for the Bois-du-Luc coal workers during the first half of the 19th century has been restored. This is part of the Major Mining Sites of Wallonia, designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 2012. One of those houses can be visited, together with a couple of museums retracing the history of the coal mining industry in the Centre region.
  • La Louvière counts a number of chapels and churches that date from the 13th to the 16th century.
  • La Louvière also has one of the best collection of Idel Ianchelevici’s works on display.

ClimateEdit

La Louvière has an oceanic climate typical of Belgium with moderated seasons even for its inland position at 50° latitude, as a result of Gulf Stream influence.

Climate data for La Louvière (1981–2010 normals, sunshine 1984–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 5.5
(41.9)
6.5
(43.7)
10.2
(50.4)
14.0
(57.2)
18.1
(64.6)
20.7
(69.3)
23.2
(73.8)
22.9
(73.2)
19.2
(66.6)
14.8
(58.6)
9.5
(49.1)
6.0
(42.8)
14.2
(57.6)
Daily mean °C (°F) 2.9
(37.2)
3.3
(37.9)
6.3
(43.3)
9.1
(48.4)
13.1
(55.6)
15.8
(60.4)
18.1
(64.6)
17.7
(63.9)
14.6
(58.3)
10.9
(51.6)
6.5
(43.7)
3.5
(38.3)
10.1
(50.2)
Average low °C (°F) 0.3
(32.5)
0.1
(32.2)
2.5
(36.5)
4.3
(39.7)
8.2
(46.8)
11.0
(51.8)
13.0
(55.4)
12.6
(54.7)
10.0
(50.0)
7.1
(44.8)
3.5
(38.3)
1.2
(34.2)
6.2
(43.2)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 76.8
(3.02)
63.5
(2.50)
74.6
(2.94)
53.5
(2.11)
72.7
(2.86)
78.6
(3.09)
76.3
(3.00)
80.0
(3.15)
65.0
(2.56)
76.7
(3.02)
77.4
(3.05)
80.9
(3.19)
876.0
(34.49)
Average precipitation days 13.2 11.4 13.4 10.4 11.9 11.4 10.5 10.7 10.9 11.4 13.4 13.4 142.1
Mean monthly sunshine hours 53 73 118 169 200 194 212 202 145 115 64 44 1,588
Source: Royal Meteorological Institute[2]

FolkloreEdit

The Carnival of La Louvière is called Laetare, after the Latin verb meaning “to enjoy” (the introit at mass on the fourth Sunday of Lent begins Laetare Jerusalem, Rejoice Jerusalem). It lasts three days, Sunday to Tuesday, and takes place in the middle of Lent. The Gilles are out on all three days, stomping to the rhythm of their music and distributing oranges to the passers-by. Giant puppets and various other groups also take part in the parades and festivities. Typical of La Louvière’s celebrations is the so-called Brûlage des Bosses (“burning of the humps”), where a puppet dressed as a Gilles is burnt to symbolize the end of carnival and beginning of a new life.

SportsEdit

La Louvière used to have a top level football club in Belgian First Division: RAA Louviéroise. They won the Belgian Cup in 2003. the club no longer exists as it merged into a team based in another city and its La Louvière playground is now the home of third division semi-amateur club UR La Louvière Centre.

Famous inhabitantsEdit

  • Maurice Baudoux, (1902-1988), Canadian priest and Archbishop
  • Anna Boch, (1848-1936), impressionist painter and art collector
 
Van Gogh - Portrait of Eugène Boch 1888

Twin citiesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Klimaatstatistieken van de Belgische gemeenten" (PDF) (in Dutch). Royal Meteorological Institute. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Kalisz Official Website - Twin Towns".     (in English and Polish) © 2005-2008 Urząd Miejski Kalisz. Archived from the original on 2011-09-25. Retrieved 2008-11-29.
  4. ^ "İki Yeni Kardeş Şehir". Municipality Council Meeting. Giresun Municipality. 2016. Retrieved 1 July 2016.

External linksEdit