Interesting discovery of an Oranjestad

by Leo Nollet

Diest is a small town in the province of Flemish Brabant. It is known as Oranjestad, as the birthplace of Jan Berchmans and as the city of the para commandos.

The Union of Orange Cities is a friendship treaty between cities that had a feudal link with the family of Oranje-Nassau, now the Dutch monarchy, and appear in the titles of the king of the Netherlands. The cities that signed the treaty in 1963 were Breda (NL), Diest (B), Dillenburg (D) and Orange (F).

Photo Henk Hoogstraten

In the morning we walked past many interesting, mostly medieval buildings. Too bad we didn’t visit the beguinage but that was largely offset by a visit to the All Saints Chapel (Allerheiligenkapel), which houses a large collection of sculptures and statues. Many saints indeed!
In the afternoon we climbed about 80 steps to the citadel, which used to house the barracks of the first paratrooper battalion. We got a very extensive tour of the Pegasus museum, about the British origin and the ins and outs of the Belgian paratroopers.

Thanks to Emile for organizing this very interesting, if somewhat tiring day.

Photo Henk Hoogstraten
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