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 Pierre Theodore Verhaegen

Pierre Theodore Verhaegen

Birth
Brussels, Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Death 8 Dec 1862 (aged 66)
Brussels, Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Burial Evere, Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium
Memorial ID 7540 · View Source
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Belgian Politician. Born Pierre-Théodore Verhaegen in Brussel, Belgium, the son of Jeanne Françoise Schuermans and Pierre Verhaegen, a prominent lawyer. Raised in a well to do household, he was well educated and followed his father into the practice of law. He became a strong supporter of the anticlerical movement, championing freedom of thought and action, without interference from ecclesiastical authorities. He denounced the influence of the church on the state and on education, which he called oppressive and reactionary; an impediment to progress. He was appointed burgomaster of Watermaal-Bosvoorde, by the Prince of Orange, William I after 1823. There, he commissioned the construction of a church. He remained uninvolved in the Belgian revolution of 1830 and sided with the Belgian liberals at its conclusion. From 1836 until 1859, he served as a liberal member of parliament for Brussels; and was twice Chairman of the House of Parliament. He also conceived of a university that would be completely independent from both the church and the state, and devoted to the principle of free thinking. He is lauded as the motivating force behind the 1834 foundation of the Université Libre de Bruxelles which was founded to be a “...value for mankind and for society, free from each politically and religious authority....” Upon his death at 66, at his request, a civil funeral rather than a Catholic service was held; it was seen by the Catholics as a scandal, but was a ground-breaking event for a prominent man to introduce secular rites. Today, every year on 20 November, students and staff of the university mark the founding of the school, and lay a wreath at his tomb in the cemetery in Evere.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7540
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Pierre Theodore Verhaegen (5 Sep 1796–8 Dec 1862), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7540, citing Brussels Communal Cemetery, Evere, Arrondissement Brussel-Hoofdstad, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium ; Maintained by Find A Grave .