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Oupeye (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-03-29 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Oupeye]

Municipal flag of Oupeye - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 28 November 2005

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Presentation of Oupeye and its villages

The municipality of Oupeye (23,633 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,611 ha) is located a few kilometers north-west of Liège; it is watered by the river Meuse and the Albert Canal. The municipality of Oupeye is made since 1977 of the former municipalities of Oupeye, Haccourt, Hermalle-sous-Argenteau, Hermée, Heure-le-Romain, Houtain-Saint-Siméon and Vivegnis.

Oupeye was located on the Roman way linking Liège and Maastricht via Visé. The castle of Oupeye, from the VIIth century, was rebuilt in the XVIIth century by Curtius, a famous weapons merchant from Liège. Later on, the ownership of the castle was fought over in several court cases and even in a real duel. This duel took place on the street in Liège resulting in the death of a Mathieu de Sarolea. The castle is today a cultural center owned by the municipality of Oupeye.
It is said that the name of Oupeye is linked to its location between the Principality of Liège and Maastricht; Oupeye was the place où on paye, where you pay (taxes).
The cyclist race between Landen and Oupeye was ran only once, in 1936, with François Gardier as the winner.

Haccourt is an ancient settlement; the wall surrounding the hillock on which the parish church was built at the end of the XVIIIth century dates back to the VII-VIIIth century, and was probably made with remains of an older Gallo-Roman villa (estate). There was a feudal castle in the village, burnt down by the partisans of La Marck. Haccourt is famous for its chalk quarries.

Hermalle-sous-Argenteau, watered by the Meuse, the Grand Aaz and the Albert Canal, is a former rural village. The ancient local activities, such as weapons manufacture, locksmithing, basketry, charcoal and vinegar production, have disappeared from the village. An area of 135 ha has been transformed into a business park.
The tradition of the cramignon, a local huge farandole, has been preserved for more than 100 years in Hermalle and Haccourt.

Hermée was sacked and burnt down by the Germans in 1914. The former, disappeared activities in the village were straw hat manufacture, fruit drink production (like in Aubel), charcoal production and a flint quarry.

Heure-le-Romain was Ora romana, "the Roman border". The parish church built in the XIIIth century with sandstones replaced two former successive churches built on the site of a Gallo-Roman villa. The ancient industries were straw hat manufactures and flour mills.

Houtain Saint-Siméon, located on the edge of the valley of Geer, was an important center of hat manufacturing. There is still one hat manufacture active there.

Vivegnis is named after ancient vineyards (in French, vignes). There was once in the village a Cistercian womens' abbey. Vivegnis was known in the past for its home-working gunsmiths. Aluminic shales, coal-bearing sandstone and cobblestones are no longer extracted in Vivegnis.
The former town hall of Vivegnis hosts the Regional Museum of Archeology of Oupeye (MARO - Musée d'Archéologie Régionale d'Oupeye), showing, along others, the collections made by Abbot Nicolas Peuskens in the region.


Ivan Sache, 28 Nowember 2005

Municipal flag of Oupeye

The municipal flag of Oupeye is white with a red fleur-de-lis shifted to the hoist.
The flag follows a proposal made by the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Commnity and described in Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones as Blanc chargé d'une fleur de lis rouge posée aux 2/5ème du battant.
Accordingly, the fleur-de-lis is placed at 2/5th of the flag length. It recalls the banner of the Graillet, lords of Oupeye.

The Gelre Armorial shows "Argent six fleurs-de-lis gules placed 3 + 2 + 1" for Lambert of Oupeye (H. Lambrecht v. Oppy, #1345, folio 95v, and #1475, folio 104v, with the same caption).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2007