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Hoboken (District, Municipality of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-12-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: antwerp | hoboken | ursel |
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Presentation of the district of Hoboken

The district of Hoboken (34,542 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,067 ha) was formed in 1983 when the former municipality of Hoboken was merged into the municipality of Antwerp.

Hoboken was mentioned for the first time in 1135 by Bishop Lietardus, as capellam de hobuechen qua libam ("a chapel located at Hoboken"). The village belonged to the Duchy of Brabant. In the 13th century, Hoboken was transferred to the Perwijs family, subsequantly succeeded by the families of Vianden, Coucy, Béthune, Bar, Luxemburg and Nassau.
There were 644 inhabitants in the village in 1500 and 980 in 1524. The village was then destroyed during the Eighty Years' War against Spain. In 1600, Conrad Schetz, a rich burgher of Antwerp, was made Baron of Hoboken by King of Spain (and Duke of Brabant) Philip II. His father Gaspar Schetz married Catherine d'Ursel, from a noble family of Antwerp. Since the Ursel family had no male heir, a sister of Catherine, Barbara d'Ursel, adopted Conrad, who took the name and arms of Ursel. In 1717, his descendant Coenraat II d'Ursel was made of Duke of Hoboken and helped the village to reemerge. The last Duke of Hoboken died in 1804.
In 1873, the John Cockerill company built a shipyard in Hoboken; the building of a wool mill (S.A. pour le Peignage des Laines) in 1885 and of a silver factory (locally known as De Zilver, "Silver") in 1887 dramatically boosted the development of the town. From 1870 to 1900, the population of Hoboken increased fourfold, reaching 10,202. Industrialization increased after the First World War; in 1930, there were 416 factories, employing more than 10,000 workers.

Hoboken is the town of Nello and Patrasche, an orphan and his dog, the two characters of the book A Dog of Flanders, published in 1872 by the English novelist Marie-Louise de la Ramée (1839-1908), aka Ouida. Little known in Belgium, the book is famous in the USA, Philippines and Japan. There is a statue of Nello and Patrasche in Hoboken and a commemorative plaque in front of the cathedral of Antwerp (where the two heroes of the novel are eventually found frozen to death in front of Rubens' tryptich "The Elevation of the Cross").

The town of Hoboken, New Jersey (USA), against all odds, does not seem to have been named after the Belgian town but after a local Indian toponym, Hobocan.

Source: Heemkundige Kring "Hobuechen 1135" website

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

Former municipality of Hoboken

[Flag of Hoboken]

Flag of the former municipality of Hoboken - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

The former flag of Hoboken, still hoisted on the town hall of Antwerp, is vetically divided red-white. The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

Servais [svm55] shows the greater arms of Hoboken as a shield "Gules a chief argent three merlettes of the first", in front of a Christ on the cross and supported by two gryphins, all or, the whole placed on a big mantle purple and white, with another two similar shields on the edges. The shield, without any ornament, is shown on the district website and seems to be still used as the arms of Hoboken.
The shield represents the arms of Ursel.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008