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. (February 2010)
Arlon (French pronunciation: [aʁlɔ̃]; Luxembourgish: Arel, pronounced [ˈaːʀəl] (listen); Dutch: Aarlen, pronounced [ˈaːrlə(n)]; German: Arel; Walloon: Årlon; Latin: Orolaunum) is a Walloon municipality of Belgium located in and capital of the province of Luxembourg in the Ardennes. With a population of just over 28,000, it is the smallest provincial capital in Belgium.
Arlon is also the capital of its cultural region: the Arelerland (Land of Arlon in Luxemburgish).
The municipality consists of the following sub-municipalities: Arlon proper, Autelbas-Barnich, Bonnert, Guirsch, Heinsch, and Toernich. Other population centers include:
Roman and medieval times
Before the Roman conquests of Gaul, the territory of Arlon and a vast area to the southeast were settled by the Treveri, a Celtic tribe. The local population adapted relatively easily to Roman culture. The number and quality of sculpted stones and monuments that have been unearthed in the area demonstrate that the vicus of Orolaunum quickly became a commercial and administrative centre of Roman civilization. The Germanic invasions of the 3rd century destroyed most of these early advances, despite the defensive walls that had been built on the Knipchen hill to protect the vicus.
During most of the Middle Ages, the population still used the earlier buildings such as the thermae. In 1060, Waleran I of Limburg, Count of Arlon, built a castle on the Knipchen hill. In the 13th century, the only women's Cistercian abbey known to date was built in Clairefontaine.
15th century until the French Revolution
The Duchy of Luxembourg itself, of which Arlon was dependent, became part of the Burgundian Netherlands under Philip the Good in 1441. After Charles V's abdication of his empire to his son Philip II of Spain in 1556, a troubled period started for the whole region with continuous wars involving France, Spain and the Southern Netherlands. In 1558, nearly half of the city, including its castle, was destroyed by the French troops of Duke François of Guise. In the 17th century, Capuchin friars built a convent on the ruins of the castle and the French strengthened the defensive walls according to Vauban's designs. An accidental fire destroyed a large part of the city again in 1785.
On 9 June 1793 the French Revolutionary troops opposed the Austrians just outside Arlon. The French emerged victorious and occupied the city. They expelled the Capuchin friars and used their convent as a hospital. After the Battle of Waterloo, Arlon's history is entwined with that of Belgium.
Arlon was one of the first victims of the German invasion in 1914 as 121 inhabitants were executed on 26 August, on the orders of Colonel Richard Karl von Tessmar. Its territory was again among the first to be invaded at the onset of World War II.
Being situated very close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Arlon has continued to expand with new residential areas and commercial development zones, and many people cross the border everyday to work in the Grand Duchy.
All international express trains make a stop in Arlon, as it is the last station on the main Brussels—Luxembourg City railway line.
- The carnival of Arlon takes place at mid-Lent. It includes the traditional handing of the city keys to the carnival prince and a colourful parade composed of various folk dance groups.
- The Maitrank (German for "drink of May") is the city's most popular refreshment. It is made of white wine in which a local flower, the Asperula odorata, has macerated. Some recipes also add cognac or substitute woodruff for the Asperula. The Maitrank festivities take place in the city every fourth Sunday of May.
List of mayors :
People born in Arlon
Twin towns — sister cities
Arlon is twinned with:
- Saint-Dié-des-Vosges, France since 1962
- Diekirch, Luxembourg
- Bitburg, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany since 1965
- Sulphur, Louisiana, United States
- Hayange, France
- Alba, Italy since 1 March 2004
- Market Drayton, England, UK