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|• Mayor||Koen Van den Heuvel (CD&V)|
|• Governing party/ies||CD&V|
|• Total||33.41 km2 (12.90 sq mi)|
|• Density||520/km2 (1,400/sq mi)|
|Area codes||03, 052|
Puurs (Dutch pronunciation: [pyːrs]) is a former municipality located in the Belgian province of Antwerp. It is located in the Flemish Region. The municipality comprises the towns of Breendonk, Liezele, Kalfort, Ruisbroek (old spelling: Ruysbroeck) and Puurs proper. There is also the hamlet of Kalfort. On January 1, 2006, Puurs had a total population of 16,029. The total area is 33.41 km2 (13 sq mi) which gives a population density of 480 inhabitants per km2.
Puurs sits about 5 meters above mean sea level. Its geography shows only minor elevation differences. Puurs is mainly rural, with some low intensity industry development in the North alongside the N16 expressway. However, because of its proximity to the cities of Antwerp and Brussels (both within a 25 km (16 mi) radius) and its excellent accessibility, Puurs is developing increasingly into a residential town.
Arguably, the Benedictine abbeys of Saint-Cornelimunster of Aachen were the lords of Puurs in the 10th century A.D. In 1278 the municipality was acquired by the Abbey of Sint-Bernard's upon Scheldt, whose property it would remain until the end of the 18th century.
Points of interest
Puurs' Saint-Peter Church is quite large and is hence sometimes referred to as the region's "cathedral". It was built in the 15th century, on the remains of a roman-style church. The baroque-style bell tower was added in the late 17th century. The classical center piece was completed in 1744.
The lands of Kalfort are widely renowned for producing the most delicious asparagus, and at the beginning of summer a festival is held in honour of this "white gold".
The internationally sold Duvel beer is brewed in Breendonk, by the Duvel-Moortgat brewery. Each year in August, a 100 km (62 mi) long foot march called the Dodentocht (Death March) passes by the brewery, and participants and spectators can enjoy Duvel beer for free.
Nazi Prison Camp
Fort Breendonk was used by the Nazis as a political prison camp. It is kept in its World War II state and is open for visiting. Fort Breendonk and its twin sister Fort Liezele (which now serves as a municipal recreational area) were initially built by the Belgian military just before World War I, as part of a string of fortresses (the National Redoubt) designed to protect the approaches to Antwerp. Since 1976, the site of the fort has been part of the municipality of Willebroek.
The Dendermonde-Puurs Steam Railway is a heritage railroad that links up Puurs and Dendermonde. The maintenance road that runs alongside serves as a bicycle track. Bikers can leave the track in Sint-Amands and follow the scenic route up North on the banks of the river Scheldt.
COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing
Puurs is the location of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing hub in Europe. Starting in December 2020, vaccine doses were transported by armed cargo trucks and military-escorted planes, to facilities across the planet.
Twin towns - sister cities
Puurs was twinned with:
On 13 November 2020, the municipality of Puurs-Sint-Amands suspended its 20-year-long partnership with the Polish town of Dębica because of the town's adoption of the Charter of The Rights of The Family, which - according to the Belgians - discriminates LGBT people.
- "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
- "Partnerstwo Samorządów Siłą Europy". Europa Miast (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2016-08-09. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- "Dębica -Miasta Partnerskie" [Dębica - Partnership Cities]. Rząd Miejski w Dębicy - Współpraca - Europa Miast [Dębica town council in cooperation with Europa Miast] (in Polish). Archived from the original on 2011-10-11. Retrieved 2013-08-13.
- "Belgijska gmina zawiesza 20-letnią współpracę z Dębicą" (in Polish). Retrieved 2020-11-14.
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