Merchtem (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈmɛrxtɛm]) is a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish Brabant. The municipality comprises the villages of Brussegem and Hamme, the hamlet of Ossel and Peizegem, and Merchtem proper. On July 9, 2009, Merchtem had a total population of 15,298.[2] The total area is 36.72 km² which gives a population density of 416 inhabitants per km².



Coat of arms
Location in Belgium
Location of Merchtem in Flemish Brabant
Coordinates: 50°58′N 04°14′E
CommunityFlemish Community
RegionFlemish Region
ProvinceFlemish Brabant
  MayorEddy De Block (OpenVLD-GMB-SPA-LVB)
  Governing party/iesOpenVLD-GMB-SPA-LVB
  Total36.72 km2 (14.18 sq mi)
  Density440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Postal codes
Area codes052, 02


Merchtem is known for 'de steltenlopers', people walking on stilts (up to several meters above ground). Langevelde, a part of the municipality, was frequently flooded after heavy rain. In order to reach the centre, people were using sticks to walk. After an internal struggle, the group split up in two parts, 'stichting Langevelde' and 'stichting Jan Vaderhasselt'.

Language controversy

On August 28, 2006 mayor Eddie de Block introduced a ban on speaking French in the town's schools. Mayor de Block said that the measure did not violate human rights and that it would help integration. A previous ban on signs in languages different from Dutch in the town's markets had been overturned by Flemish Interior Minister Marino Keulen.[3]

Places of interest


  1. "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. "Merchtem: bevolkingsaantal op 9 juli 2009". Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  3. "Belgian town bans school French". BBC News. September 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-09-01.

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