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Amel (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)


Last modified: 2007-10-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: amel | ambleve |
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Presentation of Amel and its villages

The municipality of Amel (in French, Amblève; 5,331 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 12,515 ha) is part of the German-speaking Community. The municipality of Amel is made since 1976 by the former municipalities of Amel, Heppenbach and Meyerode. Amel is the only municipality of the German-speaking Community without a border with Germany.
The river Amel / Amblève (76 km) takes its source near Amel and waters Stavelot, Trois-Ponts, Aywaille and Combain-au-Pont, where it flows into the Ourthe. The name of the river is of Celtic origin, meaning "water".
Half of the territory of the municipality of Amel is covered by forests, therefore wood industry is the main activity.

Amel is one of the oldest settlements of the Eastern Cantons, being mentioned in 670 in a deed by King Chilpéric II as Curtis Amblava. The Frankish settlement of the region seems to have started in the middle Vth century. The Annals of Metz mentions the battle of Amel (716), during which the Austrasians led by Charles Martel defeated the Neustrians led by Chilpéric. St. Agilulf is said to have been martyrized in Amel in 752 after having succeeded St. Boniface as the Bishop of Cologne. Amel probably already had a church in the IXth century, which was rebuilt in the XIV-XVth centuries, with the spire added in 1541 and included in the neo-gothic church built in 1930. Amel and the neighborhood were incorprated to the Duchy of Luxembourg from 1405 to 1795.
Once a year, Amel appoints its King among the non-married men. Blindfolded, they have to behead a dead goose hanging on a room ceiling. The first winner is immediatly appointed King and can choose his Queen. The "Goose Slaughtering" festival is representative of a tradition widespread in other villages of the Belgian and German Eifel. The Museum of the Roots and of Regional History shows a collection of tree roots with picturesque shapes.

Born was mentioned for the first time in 1297. The village belonged to the Court of Amel (Hof von Amel) until 1794, was incorporated to the municipality of Recht in 1815 and reincorporated to Amel in 1977. The railway viaduct dominating the village, built in 1915-1916, is the only remaining part of the former St. Vith-Born-Vielsalm line; it has a length of 285 m, a height of 18 m and 11 arches.

Deidenberg was mentioned for the first time in 1455 as a fief of Count Johann Nassau of Herdsorf. The church of Deidenberg was built in the 1960s after the suppression of the old chapel built in 1713; only the bell, dated 1864, was kept and placed into an Italian-like campanile that caused a sensation. Deidenberg is famous for its carnival and Kappensitzungen organized by the association Degdeberjer Tönnesse. Remains of a big (75 x 30 m) Roman villa were found in 1868 on the roadside between Deidenberg and Montenau; this was probably the biggest villa in the Eastern Cantons. Small mounds on the banks of the rivers Amel and Emmels are placers, that is residues of gold washing, which are mentioned by Julius Caesar. It is said that the Roman legionaries brought back to Rome so much placer that the rate of gold dropped dramatically.

Meyerode is located on the watershed between the basins of Meuse and Rhine. The name of the village appeared in 1311 but there was an older settlement there, as proved by the foundations of a primitive church found when rebuilding the parish church in 1953. A big flagstone engraved with a very primitive church was found under the old foundations. The historian Berensdorf (Leeds University, UK) believes this is an Anglo-Saxon tombstone related to the missionaries that founded the abbey of Echternach (Luxembourg) in 698. The hermitage of Kohlkaul was founded in 1749 by Hubert Nelles, from Meyerode; in 1754, the two resident hermits brought back from Rome particles of the Holy Cross, which are still preserved today.
During the Battle of the Bulge in winter 1944-1945, Meyerode was used as a headquarter in turn by the German and American forces. These events are recalled by a cross commemorating the son of Major General Wood, killed in January 1945 in Meyerode.

The St. Raphaël monastery, located on the Wolfsbusch (Wolves' Mount) in Montenau was once inhabited by dwarves. They manufactured millstones that can still be found in the forests (they are indeed of Celtic origin and several of them were unfortunately used in the 1920s to build new roads) and the treasure they have hidden in the forests has yet to be found.


Ivan Sache, 17 May 2007

Municipal flag of Amel

There is no information on the municipal flag of Amel. The municipal coat of arms, as shown on the municipal website, is "per pale, first Luxembourg, second azure a wavy fess argent", the wave representing of course the river Amel.

Ivan Sache, 17 May 2007

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