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Mechelen (mĕkhˈələn) [key], Fr. Malines, commune (1991 est. pop. 75,000), Antwerp prov., N central Belgium, on the Dijle River. In English it is also known as Mechlin. It is a commercial, industrial, and transportation center and was formerly a famous lace-making center. Manufactures include textiles, furniture, and beer. Founded in the early Middle Ages, Mechelen was a fief of the prince-bishops of Liège until 1356. It then passed to Louis de Mâle and the dukes of Burgundy. Mechelen was an archiepiscopal center in 1559. The city was often damaged in the many wars that were fought in the Low Countries. However, Mechelen retains many noteworthy buildings, including the Gothic Cathedral of St. Rombaut (13th cent.), which contains Anthony Van Dyck's painting, the Crucifixion, and has a 319-ft (97-m) tower and a carillon; the churches of Notre Dame and of St. John, both of which have paintings by Peter Paul Rubens; the archiepiscopal palace (16th cent.); and the city hall (14th cent.; rebuilt 18th cent.).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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