Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (Dutch, pronoonced [sɪnˈcɑnsˈmoːlə(n)ˌbeːk] ( listen)) or Molenbeek-Saint-Jean (French, pronoonced [molənˈbek ˈsɛ̃ ʒɑ̃]) is ane o the nineteen municipalities locatit in the Brussels-Caipital Region o Belgium.
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The name Molenbeek comes frae twa Dutch wirds meanin “mills” an “stream”. Although first applee'd tae the brook that ran through the veelage, the name eventually came tae be uised tae designate the veelage itsel aroond the year 985. In the early Middle Ages, Molenbeek wis kent for its miraculous well o Saunt Gertrude, which attractit thoosans o pilgrims.
The veelage wis made pairt o Brussels in the 13t century. As a result, Molenbeek lost mony o its lands tae its mair pouerful neighbour. In addition, its main kirk wis dismantled in 1578, leadin tae further decline. The toun’s character remained maistly rural till the 18t century.
At the end o the 18t century, the Industrial Revolution an the biggin o the Brussels-Charleroi Canal brought prosperity back tae Molenbeek, through commerce an manufacturin. In 1785, the ceety regained its status as an independent commune. Attractit bi the industrial opportunities, mony wirkers muivit in, first frae ither Belgian provinces an Fraunce, then frae Sooth European, an mair recently frae East European an African kintras. The growth o the community continued unabated throughoot the 19t century, leadin tae cramped livin conditions, especially near the canal.
The ceety became known as “Little Manchester” an its inhabitants lived through an extendit period o misery. At the end o the 19t century, Brussels reintegratit the canal aurie athin its new haven, which wis thus lost tae Molenbeek. The industrial decline, which haed aaready stairtit afore Warld War I, acceleratit efter the Great Depression. In some auries o the ceety, the ensuin poverty left its mark on the urban landscape an scarred the social life o the community, leadin tae risin creeme rates an pervadin cultural intolerance. Various local revitalization programs are currently unner wey, aimin at relievin the maist impoverished destricts o the municipality.
Ower the past couple o decades, a substantial Muslim community o mainly Moroccan an Turkis ancestry haes established itsel in Molenbeek, vera visible (fowk, shops, cafés) in the auldest neighbourhuids o the commune, near the canal, while the new neighbourhuids are mair akin tae the population o neighbourin communes Jette or Berchem-Sainte-Agathe. There are several mosques in the commune, includin a Pakistani ane, an a Shi'a Turkis mosque.
- Several run-doun industrial biggins hae been renovatit an convertit intae prime real estate an ither community functions. Examples include the Raffinerie, a umwhile sugar refinery that is nou the steid o a cultural an modren dance complex; the Fonderie, a umwhile smelter that is nou hame tae a labour an industry museum; the Bottelarij, a bottlin plant which wis hoosin the Royal Flemish Theatre durin the renovation o the theatre in the centre o Brussels; an the maist impressive Tour & Taxis biggin an surroondin aurie, which will be turned intae various residences, as well as commercial enterprises.
- The Karreveld castle is uised for a variety o cultural events, but an aa for the meetins o the municipal cooncil.
- Regional natur pairk "Scheutbos".
- Toots Thielemans, jazz artist (b. 1922)
- Philippe Moureaux, politeecian, senator, mayor, an professor o economic history at the Université Libre de Bruxelles (b. 1939)
- Thierry Zéno, author-filmmaker (b. 1950)
- Zeynep Sever, Miss Belgium 2008