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Mention was already made of Brussels around 695: Bishop Saint-Gery of Cambrai settled a chapel on a small island. Saint Vindicianus, also a bishop of Cambrai, is said to have died in the neighbourhood of Brussels. The founding of Brussels is usually situated around 979, because Duke Charles transferred the relics of Saint Gudula from Moorsel to the Saint Gery chapel in Brussels. The Holy Roman Emperor Otto II gave the duchy of Lower Lotharingia to Charles, the banished son of King Louis IV of France in 977.

The county of Brussels was attributed to Lambert I of Leuven, count of Leuven around 1000. In 1047, his son Lambert II of Leuven founded the Saint Gudula chapter.

In the 12th century the small town became an important stop on the trade route from Bruges (Brugge) and Ghent (Gent) to Cologne (Köln). The village benefited from this favourable position and, as it grew to a population of around 30,000, the surrounding marshes were drained to allow for further expansion. The Counts of Leuven became Dukes of Brabant at about this time (1183/1184).

Royal Palace, Brussels