Alexandre Dechet

(Hyppolyte) Louis Alexandre Dechet (alternatively, spelled Dechez; Lyon, 20 January 1801 - Lier, 18 October 1830) was a French actor and is regarded the author of the lyrics of the Brabançonne, the Belgian national anthem. His pseudonym was Jenneval, possibly named after the drama Jenneval, ou le Barnevelt français (1769) of Louis Sébastien Mercier.

Alexandre Dechet
Sketch of Jenneval
Background information
Birth nameHyppolyte Louis-Alexandre Dechet
Also known asJenneval
Born(1801-01-20)20 January 1801
Lyon, French First Empire
Died18 October 1830(1830-10-18) (aged 29)
Lier, Belgium

Dechet worked in Ajaccio, Marseille and in 1826 at the Paris Odéon. Via Lille he finally came to Brussels, where he played at La Monnaie. In 1828 he returned to Paris in order to work at the Comédie Française, but returned to Brussels immediately after the July Revolution in 1830. He there served with the city guard which was responsible for maintaining law and order.

Dechet is said to have written the text of the Brabançonne during the first revolutionary gatherings at the café "L'Aigle d'Or" in the Brussels Greepstraat in August 1830, shortly after the performance of the opera La Muette de Portici, which triggered the Belgian revolution.

During the Belgian Revolution Dechet became a volunteer in the revolutionary army and joined the corps of Frenchman Charles Niellon. He died during a combat against the Dutch near Lier.

On the Martelarenplein in Brussels a column honouring Dechet is to be found, which was created by Alfred Crick and inaugurated in 1897.

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