Walloon Brabant (French: Brabant wallon [bʁabɑ̃ walɔ̃] ; Dutch: Waals-Brabant [ˌʋaːlz ˈbraːbɑnt] ; Walloon: Roman Payis) is a province located in Belgium's French-speaking region of Wallonia. It borders on (clockwise from the North) the province of Flemish Brabant (Flemish Region) and the provinces of Liège, Namur and Hainaut. Walloon Brabant's capital and largest city is Wavre.

Walloon Brabant
Brabant wallon (French)
Roman Payis (Walloon)
Location of Walloon Brabant
Coordinates: 50°40′N 04°35′E / 50.667°N 4.583°E / 50.667; 4.583
Country Belgium
Region Wallonia
(and largest city)
 • GovernorGilles Mahieu
 • Total1,097 km2 (424 sq mi)
 (1 January 2019)[2]
 • Total403,599
 • Density370/km2 (950/sq mi)
ISO 3166 codeBE-WBR
HDI (2019)0.948[3]
very high · 1st
WebsiteOfficial site

The provincial population was recorded at 403,599 as of January 2019, giving a population density of 368/km2 (950/sq mi).

Etymology Edit

Walloon is a Belgian version of a old West Germanic word reconstructed as *walh (“foreigner, stranger, speaker of Celtic or Latin”). Brabant is from Old Dutch *brākbant (attested in Medieval Latin as pāgus brācbatensis, Bracbantum, Bracbantia), from Frankish, a compound of Proto-Germanic *brēk-, *brekaną (“fallow, originally 'to break'”) + *bant-, *bantō, *banti (“district, region”)

Like the terms "Belgium" and "Flanders", the terms "Walloon" and "Brabant" are much older than the modern political entities which they represent today, but were already being used in the region when political boundaries were different. For example, Louis de Haynin wrote as follows in 1628:[4]

The Belgian [region (contrée or province)] is a large country (pays) between France, Germany and the North Sea. This country is typically divided into two regions [régions] which are about equal, which is to say, Belgian Wallonia and Belgian, or according to some, Flemish Germany [belge wallonne et belge allemagne ou flamande, selons aucun]."

De Haynin noted that the distinction people made in his time between Walloon and German or Flemish Belgium was apparently based upon language, with the Walloons speaking French, and the others speaking what he described as a type of Low German (un bas alleman) which people, especially foreigners, referred to as Flemish. Among the provinces within these two large Belgian regions he contrasted "French or Walloon Flanders", now largely within France, with the rest of "Flanders", and "Lothier or Walloon Brabant (brabant wallon)" with the larger "German or Flemish" part of Brabant, which at that time stretched into what is now the Netherlands. Note that for de Haynin and his contemporaries "Belgium" was much larger than modern Belgium, corresponding to the old Burgundian Netherlands and its associated church-ruled principalities. "Belgium" therefore included all of the Netherlands and Luxembourg, and a part of France. In contrast, the term "Flanders" could be used for a smaller region than today, equivalent to the region once dominated by the County of Flanders, near the north sea. As already noted, de Haynin himself used the adjective "Flemish" to refer to the Dutch language, including dialects outside the old Flemish region, but he noted that the term "Flemish" was now being used to cover a bigger area than it originally applied to, because of the prestige of the old medieval county, which was also well-known to foreigners.

History Edit

The Battle of Waterloo took place in this province in June 1815.

Walloon Brabant was created in 1995 when the former Province of Brabant was split into three parts: two new provinces, Walloon Brabant and Flemish Brabant; and the Brussels Capital Region, which no longer belongs to any province. The split was made to accommodate the federalisation of Belgium in three regions (Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels).

Subdivisions Edit


It has an area of 1,097 square kilometres (424 sq mi) and contains only one administrative district (arrondissement in French), the Arrondissement of Nivelles, with 27 municipalities.

Nivelles District:

The Butte du Lion in Waterloo
The Collegiate Church of Saint Gertrude in Nivelles
Louvain-la-Neuve Science Park, aerial view

Economy Edit

The regional Gross domestic product (GDP) of the province was 19.3 billion € in 2018, accounting for only 4.2% of Belgium's economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was €42,300 in the same year, equivalent to 140% of the EU27 average. GDP per person employed was still higher, at 157% of the EU27 average. Compared to other Belgian provinces, Walloon Brabant is thus relatively small, but it is the wealthiest. The other four Walloon provinces to Brabant's south all have a significantly lower GDP per capita, none being above €30,000 in 2018. This wealth is at least partly due to the economy of the neighbouring capital city region of Brussels, which is not a province, because many residents of Walloon Brabant are employed there. For comparison, Brussels had a GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power of €61,300, equivalent to 203% of the EU average, but unlike Walloon Brabant it is significantly lower, at 161%, when calculated per person employed.[5]

Historically the greater Walloon region was one of the earliest regions of industrialization, mainly concentrated in the so-called Sillon industriel, which is to the south of Walloon Brabant. There was also steel production in Clabecq in Walloon Brabant, which is still operating. The Ronquières inclined plane on the Brussels-Charleroi Canal which passes through the province, connects canal traffic between Charleroi, one of the main cities of the Sillon industriel, with Brussels and the Port of Antwerp, to the north of Walloon Brabant.

Today, the University of Louvain (UCLouvain) is located in Walloon Brabant. The Louvain-la-Neuve Science Park is developing cooperation between industry and UCLouvain and is contributing to regional economic development. It covers 231 hectares spread over the area of the town of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve and the municipality of Mont-Saint-Guibert (30 km away from Brussels). The main areas of activity are life sciences, fine chemistry, information technologies and engineering. The park is made up of 135 innovative companies, 4,500 employees, and the university's business incubator.

Piétrain is a breed of domestic pig taking its name from Piétrain, a little village of Jodoigne in Walloon Brabant.

The most important town of this province is Nivelles, which has the Collegiate Church of Saint Gertrude and its westwork.

In Rixensart, the company Recherche et Industrie Thérapeutiques (changed to GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals in 2000) is one of the world's leading vaccine manufacturers, supplying around 25% of the world's vaccines: GSK Biologicals employs a little over 5,300 persons on the Walloon sites of Rixensart, Wavre and Gembloux. The company distributes 36 doses of vaccines every second.[6]

The castle of Corroy-le-Château, one of the best conserved castles of this period in Northern Europe was bought by 21st-century Flemish artist Wim Delvoye for EUR 3.3 million. He is planning to convert the Corroy-le-Château into a museum of modern art.[7]

International relations Edit

Twin towns and sister cities Edit

Walloon Brabant is twinned with:

Notes Edit

  1. ^ "Be.STAT".
  2. ^ "Structuur van de bevolking | Statbel".
  3. ^ "Sub-national HDI - Area Database - Global Data Lab".
  4. ^ Louis de Haynin, Histoire générale des guerres de Savoie, de Bohême, du Palatinat et des Pays-Bas 1616-1627 par le seigneur Du Cornet, Gentilhomme belgeois, avec une introduction et des notes par A.L.P. de Robaulx de Soumoy, Bruxelles, 1868, First published in 1628, pp. 6-7. French: La Belge selon qu'elle est, pour le présent, est un grand pays entre la France, l'Allemagne, et la mer Océane […] Elle se my-partit ordinairement en deux régions presque esgalles, c'est à scavoir en belge wallonne et belge allemande ou flamande, selon aucuns. La Wallonne a pour provinces l'Artois, Lille, Douay et Orchies autrement dite Flandre gauloise ou walonne: Cambresis, Tournesis, Haynaut et l'Estat de Vallencennes, Namur, Lothier ou Brabant wallon, Luxembourgues et Liège. [...] La Wallonne, suyvant la plus commune opinion, auroit esté ainsi nommée à raison de son langage françois...
  5. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.
  6. ^ Dynamisme wallon, review of the Union Wallonne des Entreprises, Décembre 2007
  7. ^ "Belgian artist buys castle for EUR 3.3m", Expatica.com 2008-09-24
  8. ^ 友好城市 (Friendly cities) Archived 2014-07-19 at the Wayback Machine, 市外办 (Foreign Affairs Office), 2008-03-22. (Translation by Google Translate.)
  9. ^ 国际友好城市一览表 (International Friendship Cities List) Archived 2013-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, 2011-01-20. (Translation by Google Translate.)
  10. ^ 友好交流 (Friendly exchanges) Archived 2014-11-12 at the Wayback Machine, 2011-09-13. (Translation by Google Translate.)

External links Edit