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Municipality of Itegem
|Surface area||18.60 km² |
7.19 sq mi
|Population density||339.27 inh./km² |
877.17 inh./sq mi
|Number of villages||1|
|Number of hamlets||4|
|Number of wards||30|
|Postal code districts||41x-44x, 48x|
The municipality of Itegem is one of the seven municipalities of the Republic of Heist-op-den-Berg. The municipality is located in the northern part of the country and is especially known for its history and castles.
Itegem is one of the oldest villages of the region with written evidence dating back to 976 ad. It flourished on the fact it bordered a ford and had a port for Dutch barges, both beneficial for economic activities. Itegem is also the place of discovery of two 12th century oak water wells, of which one is on permanent display in the Natural History Museum Die Swaene.
The territory of Itegem in its current form doesn’t give away that it changed significantly thoughout the centuries. During the Ancien Regime, the border between the City of Heist (Lordship of Mechelen) and Itegem (Duchy of Brabant) was so close to the city centre of Itegem that the clergy house, barely 150 yards from the church, was in fact on Heist’s territory.
Another important chapter dates back to 1876, when Bernum joined Itegem. Deeply religious as people were in those days, the reason for changing from municipality was the accessibility of the church of Itegem compared to the one of Heist-op-den-Berg. Bruggeneinde almost followed the Bernumese people in their descision, but was able to make an agreement by building a new school as some form of compensation.
Also the more recent addition of Dekbunders and Herlaar in 2012 made Itegem what it is today.
Itegem, like Gestel is known for its castles:
- Hanssens Castle: also known as La Garenne Castle. This castle was built by the merchant family of the same name. They earned their fortune by trading colonial products, i.e. all goods made or produced in Congo Free State. This castle dates back to 1895.
- Isschot Castle: like the Hanssens castle built by the same family in 1905. The old Hanssens castle became the pavillion on the domain of the new castle.
- Ter Borght Castle: once a monumental water castle in the village centre, but completely demolished in the seventies to build a home for elderly people. The remains of the castle were moved off site to be rebuild, but the whole operation failed and the castle was sold piece by piece. Only a 500 year old tower from the former embankment still exists today on its original location.
Itegem borders Belgium twice in the north and west, Wiekevorst, the capital, Hallaar and Gestel. Itegem comprises one fifth of the total territory and 14% of the whole population. The most important sources of income are agriculture and local shops. The main roads in the municipality are IC 3 and IC 41.
Itegem counts thirty of the 121 current wards of the Republic.
The number of inhabitants on January 1 of each year was:
2012: 5,760 - ▲ (0.7%)
2013: 6,058 - ▲ (5.2%)
2014: 6,100 - ▲ (0.7%)
2015: 6,140 - ▲ (0.7%)
2016: 6,172 - ▲ (0.5%)
2017: 6,227 - ▲ (0.9%)
2018: 6,263 - ▲ (0.6%)