La Louvière

La Louvière

Infobox Belgium Municipality
name=La Louvière



mayor=Jacques Gobert (PS)
majority=PS, MR, UDSC
postal-codes=7100, 7110
web= []

La Louvière is a Walloon city and municipality located in the Belgian province of Hainaut. La Louvière's municipality includes the old communes of Haine-Saint-Paul, Haine-Saint-Pierre, Saint-Vaast, Trivières, Boussoit, Houdeng-Aimeries, Houdeng-Gœgnies, Maurage, and Strépy-Bracquegnies. 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.


Mythical origins

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 Louvière

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.


*There are four hydraulic boat lifts on the old Canal du Centre, which connects the Meuse River 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. 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.


The Carnival of La Louvière is called "Laetare", after the Latin verb meaning “to enjoy”. 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.

Famous inhabitants

*Gustave Boël, industrialist (1837-1912)
*Pol Clovis Boël, industrialist (1868-1941)
*Maurice Grevisse, grammarian (1895-1980)
*Maurice Baudoux, Canadian priest (1902-1988)
*Pol Bury, sculptor (1922-2005)
*Jean Louvet, playwright (b. 1934)
*Jey Crisfar, actor (b.1988)

Twin cities

*FRA: Saint-Maur-des-Fossés
*ITA: Foligno
*ESP: Córdoba
*SVK: Bojnice
*POL: Kalisz


La Louvière had a football club in Jupiler League named R.A.A. Louviéroise. They won the Belgian Cup in 2003

External links

* [ Official website of La Louvière] , in French
* [ Site of the "Centre" region] , in French
* [ The carnival] , in French, Dutch, and English

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