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Dinant - Historical Background

This natural site of beauty was first occupied by the Celts before becoming a Roman settlement on the Roman built road joining Bavay and Trier. The Prince-Bishop of Liege had an Episcopal residence here and the town became part of the Principality of Liege in 1070. Its main development took place between the 13 th and 15 th centuries due to its remarkable copperware industry known at large as “Dinanderie”. Dinant held an important strategic position on the River Meuse and has thus been the site of many battles over the years (In 1914, it sustained 17 sieges). The first major attack dates back to1466 by Charles the Bold. It was again pillaged and occupied in 1554 by the troops of the Duke of Nevers. Occupied by the French between 1675 and 1697 before being returned to the Prince-Bishop of Liège. It's during the Dutch reign (1815-1830) that it became part of the province of Namur, as it has remained ever since.

Adolphe Sax was born in Dinant in 1894 - the inventor of the saxophone and other musical instruments.

Dinant also suffered during the two world wars. Much of the town was burnt down by German soldiers in 1914 and it is only in the year 2000 that the local authorities have allowed a German flag to be flown amongst all the other European flags, which decorate the bridge across the river. Dinant was also badly hit by bombardments and shelling between 1940 and 1944.

Do you have a copper bowl or coal pail that you inherited from your grand-parents tucked away anywhere at home? These items are known locally as “Dinanderie” and came all the way from here in the 19th Century.

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