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Houffalize (Municipality, Province of Luxembourg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-12-02 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Houffalize]

Municipal flag of Houffalize - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 22 June 2006

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Presentation of Houffalize

The municipality of Houffalize (4,802 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 16,658 ha) is located in the massif of Ardenne, close to the border with the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The municipality of Houffalize is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Houffalize, Mabompré, Mont, Nadrin, Tailles, Tavigny and Wibrin. The village of Houffalize is watered by the Eastern Ourthe (Ourthe Orientale), which merges with the Western Ourthe (Ourthe Occidentale) to form the Ourthe a few kilometers upstream from Nadrin.

Houffalize is well-known for its road bridge that allows highway E 25 (Utrecht-Genoa) to cross the Eastern Ourthe between Liège and Bastogne. The total length of the bridge is 369.6 m, its span is 162 m and its height is 60 m, making of it one of the biggest bridges of that kind in the world. The bridge was built from 6 May 1974 to 14 June 1979; it is indeed made of two twin bridges of 16 m in width, each divided into 14 isostatic spans of 26.4 m in length.
During the Dutch rule, the village of Bernistap near Tavigny was the place of the huge building of a canal expected to link the rivers Meuse and Moselle. After the independence of Belgium in 1830, the Dutch withdrew with their funds and the project was abandoned. The development of road and railway transport made the canal obsolete.

A Gallo-Roman villa was found in Nadrin in 1975. It is of the so-called facade-gallery type, characteristic of the region.
The chapel Notre-Dame-de-la-Forêt is a pilgrimage place located on the old path from Houffalize to Sommerain. Jean Thieskin's testament, dated 25 March 1656 and bequeathing 50 guilders for the building of a chapel, is the oldest mention of the sanctuary. The today's chapel was built around 1750 in Mosan style (with a curved slated roof and bulbs) by Friar Fule Buchoux, from the St. Catherine priory of Houffalize. The only remain of this priory is today the parish church of Houffalize. Its building started 1243, when the priory was transferred to the north of the village, and was completed in the early XIVth century. The St. Marguerite chapel of Ollomont, restored in 1961, is the last remain of a Romanesque church built in the XIIth century.

The German Panzer exhibited in Houffalize belonged to the 116th Panzer Division; the exact causes of its destruction are unknown; it was retrieved from river Ourthe on 20 September 1948. The village was totally destroyed in January 1945 during the Von Rundstedt counter-attack known as the Battle of the Bulge. General George Patton (1885-1945) wrote a poem recalling the destruction of Houffalize (published by A. Dubru in L'offensive von Rundstedt à Houffalize).

O little town of Houffalize,
How still we see thee lie;
Above they steep and battered streets
The aeroplanes sail by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth
Not any Goddamned light;
The hopes and fears of all thy yaers
Were blown to heel last night.
The Houtopia park, dedicated to the rights of children, also recall these sad events.

Sources: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 22 June 2006

Municipal flag of Houffalize

The municipal flag of Houffalize is red with a white fleur-de-lis in the middle.

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, this flag was proposed by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 22 June 2006