When my friend invited me to visit her, I was under the impression that she was staying in one of the suburbs of Antwerp. Big was my surprise to learn that she was in fact staying in the very upmarket Brasschaat approx 10 km away from Antwerp. Brasschaat is a municipality located in Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium, and in the Flemish province of Antwerp. The municipality only comprises the town of Brasschaat proper. In November 2006, Brasschaat won the LivCom-Award 2006 for the most liveable municipality in the world.
The history of Brasschaat started with Celtic settlements. The Gallic tribe of the Belgae displaced them and were in turn conquered by the Romans, who built a major road in the area. After the Germanic invasions in the 3rd and 4th century, the whole region was christianized.
In 1823, Brasschaat became theoretically a municipality of its own, separate from Ekeren. It named its own mayor and municipal council the following year. Its independence would however be recognized only in 1830.
Because of its strategic position in the defense of the port of Antwerp, Brasschaat became an important military outpost during World War I. The Brasschaat fort, still visible today, was built in 1912. Between 1937 and 1939 the fortifications were expanded with additional bunkers and a large antitank ditch. Many of these old military buildings nowadays host colonies of bats.