The name 'Poesje' or 'poesjenelle' found it's
origine in the name of 'polichinelle' and that
word was taken from 'paolo Ciniello'. Paola
was a boy from a puppetplay who was really
lazy and funny.
The poesje are typically ' Antwerp'
In the 19th centurie this puppetplay was a
succes in the popular neighboorhoods 'Sint-
Andries' and 'Schipperskwartier'
The poesjenelle where rough handmade
You can see the 'poesje' in the museum for
folklore behind the city hall or in the
repenstraat , where since 1862 a puppet
theater was located.
'stinkend rijk' is a saying often used in
Belgium. It is translated to 'stinking rich? .
This saying finds its origin in ancient times.
When rich people where buried in the church
under a large gravestone. These rich people
often also paid for the church.
The 'stinker' in the picture here is Pieter
Paul Rubens , he is burried in the Sint
I found amazing fountain in the middle of the Main Square (Grote Markt) in front of the Town Hall (Stadhuis). It was called the Brabo fountain. The statue was made by sculptor Jef Lambeaux in 1887.
According to a legend, a terrible giant, called Druoon Antigoon, lived on the banks of the river Scheldt in ancient times. Whenever sailors on the Scheldt river refused to pay toll to the giant, he punished them by cutting off their hand. A Roman soldier, Silvius Brabo, managed to kill the giant. Brabo cut off the hand of the giant and threw the hand away in the river.
Hence, according to the legend, the name of the city : hand ( Engl.: hand) -werpen (Engl.: to throw). A nice legend, although as I know untrue. Nevertheless, the "hand" is the symbol of Antwerp. There are hands in the town flag. Also I noticed several sweets in the form of a hand (cookies, chocolates).
The numerous crossroads in Antwerp's old town are adorned with Madonna figures. It was told that during the Spanish occupation, people had to pay a huge amount of taxes to the Spanish crown. Houses with a Madonna statue, didn't need to pay these taxes as Spaniards were very religious. So many rich people put a madonna statue on their facade. Unfortunately, many were destroyed during different fires.
On a nice evening in spring, the children were still playing on "Steenplein", when a so to see rich gentleman came walking. He had a big bag with candy, all the sweets, you can imagine. He gave all away to the children, but at the same time he left the square towards "Het Kiel". He began to walk faster and faster. The strange thing was that at the same time he gave more and more sweets. The children kept following him. In the end without actually noticing they already reached "Boomsesteenweg" and suddenly the generous man was gone, vanished in the air. The only thing they could here was a loud mean laugh and then they knew they followed Lange Wapper.
Antigoon and Brabo
Antigoon was a giant, who cashed toll from the sailors crossing the river Schelde. The sailors where fat up with the guy and their hero Brabo cut off the hand of the giant Brabo and threw it in the river. In dutch or flemish "Hand werpen" is Hand throwing, which became Antwerpen in time.
The natives or better to say "real" natives of Antwerp call themselves Sinjoors. But to be allowed to use this word your both father and grandfather must be born in the old town of Antwerp. I was told that Sinjoors are not too modest, hmm... I didn't notice that - more time needed or it's untrue?
I noticed that many countries have at least one city which was very rich and famous in the past (and often still is) and whose proud citizens try to differentiate newcomers from "real" natives. Is a citizen of say Brooklyn allowed to call himself/herself a New Yorker?
Though not so popular in Belgian itself, the story of the dog of Flanders, has gripped many people on earth (especially the Japanese). And the story is dramatic, yet beautiful. Nello, a orphan boy that helps his uncle in gathering the milk for his dairyshop saves Patrasche (a dog) from being beaten to death by a aggresive boss. They become friends forever and though from that moment everything in Nello's life goes wrong, Patrasche is absolutely loyal to his master and friend. The uncle dies and Nello ends up on the street. The village windmill burns down and as he is seen at that place before it happened, he is held responsible for this disasters. Nello always has dreamed of seeing once the paintings of Peter Paul Rubens in Antwerpen and so without a penny he leaves for the big town. Winter closes in on him and the dog and the barely make it to the cathedral. There he knows to enter the church, being almost dragged by Patrasche. They both die in embrace underneath the large "crusifiction"-painting of Peter Paul Rubens ... on Chrismas-eve.
There is some Antwerp legend (I'm afraid I don't remember the details but it's not important) about a giant and a man who fight, the man wins and cuts of the giant's hand (natives - feel free to correct me). So there is a statue to commemorate this, and the chocolate shops sell little chocolate hands.
What many people (including Belgians) may not know is the double meaning this has due to the havoc Belgium/King Leopold wreaked in the Congo during the colonial era: Belgian soldiers in the Congo were rewarded for bringing back the severed hands of the African people they forced into slavery, harvesting rubber for Belgium's economy.
The legend tells that ANTWERPEN comes from the Dutch 'handwerpen', which means 'to throw a hand'. The hero Brabo defeated the giant Antigoon, chopped off the giant's hand and throw it into the river Scheldt.
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