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Thuin (Municipality, Province of Hainaut, Belgium)

Last modified: 2015-11-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Thuin]

Flag of Thuin - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 January 2008

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Presentation of Thuin

The municipality and town (Ville) of Thuin (14,606inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,638 ha) is located 15 km south-west of Charleroi and 25 km north-east of Maubeuge (France). Built on and around a rocky spur on the confluency of the Biesmelle and the Sambre, Thuin is the capital of the small region of Thudinie. The municipality of Thuin is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Thuin, Biercée, Biesme-sous-Thuin, Donstiennes, Gozée, Leers-et-Fosteau, Ragnies and Thuillies.

The rocky spur of Thuin was settled in the Neolithic times. A Gallo-Roman necropolis was found in 1963. In 868, a list of the goods of the neighbouring abbey of Lobbes known as the Lobbes Polyptich mentions Tudinio, a group of 38 houses grouped around a castle. Thuin was transferred to the Principality of Liège in 888 and remained there until the French Revolution and the suppression of the Principality. Thuin was one of the bonnes villes ("Good Towns") of the Principality. Prince Bishop Notger built a first stone wall in 972 around the fortress (castrum). In the XIIth century, the increase in the population of the town caused the building of a larger city wall, which was increased again in the XVth century.

Thuin was often besieged by the Counts of Hainaut, who seized the town in 1053, 1298 and 1408, when they definitively suppressed the castle. In 1655, the Prince of Condé, serving Spain, besieged the town, to no avail. In 1675, Thuin was seized by the French, helped by burghers of the town. By the Treaty of Nijmegen, signed in 1678, France withdrew from Thudinie, which constituted then a Liège enclave within French conquered territories.

The lower town of Thuin, near the Sambre, has kept its old river borough with a river port and barges. In the upper town, several ancient buildings have been transformed, for instance the refuge built by the abbey of Lobbes in the XVIth century transformed into the central post office. The city walls of the XVth century have also been preserved, with Notger's tower as the only remain from the Xth century. The S-shaped viaduct over the Sambre is the only one of that shape in Europe.


Ivan Sache, 23 July 2005

Flag of Thuin

The flag of Thuin is vertically divided light blue-white with three white merlettes placed horizontally in the canton.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 2 February 1993 and confirmed by the Executive of the French Community on 26 October 1993, as Parti bleu et blanc, la laize bleue chargée de trois merlettes blanches rangées à sa partie supérieure.

The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms, D'azur au château-fort d'argent accosté de deux écussons du même au lion couronné de sable, celui de dextre contourné ("Azure a castle argent flanked by two escutcheons of the same a lion crowned sable".
The three martlets are taken from the arms of the abbey of Aulne. Located in a meander of the river Sambre on the territory of the former municipality of Gozée, the abbey of Aulne was built, according to the legend, by St. Landelin (the founder of the famous abbey of Lobbes) in 657. In 1147, Prince-Bishop of Liège Henri II de Leyen granted the abbey to St. Bernard of Clairvaux. In the XVI-XVIIIth centuries, the abbey was dramatically increased by "builder" abbots. Burned and ruined after the French Revolution, the abbey of Aulne is today a wonderful Romantic site, one of the biggest abbey sites in Belgium with Orval and Villers.
The Val de Sambre brewery produces the ADA (Abbaye D'Aulne) beer in the former cellars of the abbey. The production started in 2000 and ADA was granted the title of "Genuine Belgian Abbey Bear" in 2003. The abbey indeed brewed two kinds of beers in the Middle-Age, a strong one for the monks and the "little beer" for the lay members and the poor. The brewery and the grain stocks were destroyed by a blaze in February 1752; Dom Herset recorded that only the walls of the brewery still stood and that the loss was 12,000 Hainaut guilders. The brewery resumed its activity in 1796 but the very low numbers of monks caused its closure earlier than 1850.
The arms of the abbey of Aulne were "Azure a fess argent in chief three merlettes of the second". These arms are shown on the labels of the ADA beers, with ADA in red Gothic letter added in the white stripe.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 29 November 2007

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