Nivelles - Encyclopedia




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NIVELLES (Flem. Nyvel), a town of Belgium in the province of Brabant, situated on the Thines 19 m. S. of Brussels. Pop. (1904) 12,109. It is a busy little place with many industries, notably the manufacture of parchment. The town is supposed to owe its origin to the foundation of a convent on the spot by Itta or Iduberge, wife of Pippin of Landen. The Romanesque church of St Gertrude, named after Itta's daughter, dates from the II th century, but has been badly restored and is disfigured by a heavy tower. On the top of the tower is the effigy of a man in iron who strikes the hours with a hammer. He is called by the townspeople Jean de Nivelles, a celebrated baron of the 15th century whose title eventually became merged in that of the count de Homes (Horn). The church is supposed to occupy the site of Itta's convent. Close to Nivelles is Seneffe, where Conde defeated William of Orange in 1674, and at Nivelles itself the French under Marceau defeated the Austrians in 1794.

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