Some historical facts about Zaventem
Zaventem, Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, Nossegem and Sterrebeek were independent municipalities during the middle ages. In 1621 Sir Ferdinand de Booischot, owner of Zaventem, was raised to the peerage and became a baron. He bought Nossegem, Sterrebeek and Sint-Stevens-Woluwe. The family kept the barony in its hands until the French occupation in 1795 made an end to the barony. The 4 municipalities became independent again. This short historical overview declares perhaps why the people of those 4 municipalities are strongly attached to each other.
In 1977 the Belgian government decided to reduce the number of municipalities from about 3000 to 500, in order to create a more efficient administration policy. So the 4 municipalities were united again and renamed as Zaventem.
Today Zaventem is a modern and progressive municipality, thanks to its rich industrial heritage. Of course the ever-expanding national airport contributes a lot to its richness. Even after the crash of our national proud, the “SABENA air company” in the year 2002, Zaventem is still an important centre of attraction for high-tech companies, the service industry and the distribution of wholesale.
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Zaventem, the place where I was born and live
"Zaventem and the portait-painter Antony Van Dyck"
Before telling something about Zaventem, I have to go 400 years back in history and tell about the famous Flemish portrait-painter, Antony Van Dyck and his relationship to this small municipality at the north east of Brussels, Belgium’s capital.
Antony Van Dyck’s life story
Antony Van Dyck was born in Antwerp in 1599. Still a boy he became a pupil of Rubens, who was back in Antwerp from Italy.
Antony got his mastership at the age of 17.
Immediately Rubens took him into his service, because of his great talent,
especially as a portrait painter.
Four years later Van Dyck left Antwerp to start
an international career, working in England and in Italy.
For about ten years he was one of the court painters of Charles I,
King of Great Britain.
Van Dyck painted more than 800 portraits and made many drawings for engravings.
Royal or aristocratic people, diplomats, artists ... were his models.
The master died in London in 1641 and was buried in its Saint Paul's Cathedral.
Several Antwerp museums and churches, for instance Rubens' House,
the Museum of Fine Arts, Rockox' House, Saint Paul's church ...
possess paintings and drawings by Antony Van Dyck.
"Some historical facts"
On his way from Antwerp to Italy, where he intended to fulfil his talent, Antony Van Dyck stays a short time in Zaventem village. Of course there lived a beautiful young lady, Isabella Van Ophem, daughter of bailiff, Maarten Van Ophem and he fell in love with her. During his stay in Zaventem he realized a painting for the local church named “Saint Martin sharing his cape with the poor”
"St Martinus church and the "Wijngaard" house"
This painting is still exhibited in the Sint-Martinus church of Zaventem.
The place where Van Dyck made his masterpiece was the “Wijngaard” house, which is the tall house on the right, built with the local sandstone and a typical crow-stepped gable.