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La Hulpe

La Hulpe is a Walloon municipality located in the Belgian province of Walloon Brabant, 20 km south-east of the centre of Brussels, but only about 3 km from the edge of the Brussels-Capital Region. On January 1, 2007, La Hulpe had a total population of 7,309. The total area is 15.60 km², including 3 km² of the Sonian Forest; this gives a population density of 463 inhabitants per km².The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication's (SWIFT) headquarters are located in La Hulpe.HistoryThe name of La Hulpe comes from the Celtic word helpe, "the silver river". The brooks that water La Hulpe form a string of ponds that is called today L'Argentine.The site was already settled 10,000 years BC, as proved by an axe made of smooth flintstone found in Gaillemarde. The village was actually founded by the Duke of Brabant by clearing a hill separating the valleys of Argentine and Mazerine. La Hulpe still keeps two hamlets, Gaillemarde in the west and Malaise-Bakenbos in the east. The limits of the latter hamlet and of other parts of La Hulpe were modified when the linguistic border (between French and Dutch) was fixed in 1963. La Hulpe was granted municipal rights by a charter signed by Henri I on 3 June 1320. It became a mairie, where lower and higher justice was exercised, and kept its status until 1792. The pillory standing near the church was demolished under the French rule; it was partially restored and can be seen in the town hall. From 1795 to 1814, La Hulpe was the seat of a court with jurisdiction over some ten neighbouring municipalities, in an area spreading from Overijse to Waterloo. After the independence of Belgium, La Hulpe lost its administrative and political functions and was incorporated into the canton of Wavre.
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