Namur (Dutch: Namen) is a province of Wallonia and of Belgium. It borders on (clockwise from the West) the Belgian provinces of Hainaut, Walloon Brabant, Liège and Luxembourg, and France. Its capital is Namur.
It has a surface area of 3664 km², a population of 444,000, and is divided into three administrative districts (arrondissements in French) which contain 38 municipalities.
The province of Namur is reputedly the most beautiful province of Belgium, thanks to its green hills and stone villages reminding of the English Cotswolds, its dramatic craggy landscapes along the Meuse Valley, and its numerous castles from every historical period. 11 of the 23 most beautiful villages of Wallonia are located in this province (+ 4 immediately adjacent to it), all south of the Sambre-Meuse west-east axis.
Famous people born in the province of Namur include (chronologically): the inventor of the saxophone Adolphe Sax, and the actor Benoît Poelvoorde.
Until 1482, the northern part of the province of Namur (roughly corresponding to the current arrondissement of Namur) made up the County of Namur, while the south-eastern tip (south of Rochefort) belonged to the County, then Duchy of Luxembourg. Most of the remaining area was part of the prince-bishopric of Liège, notably Dinant and Ciney.
After 1482, the County of Namur became part of the Habsburgian Netherlands, while the principality of Liège remained independent. It wasn't until 1792 that the whole province, and indeed the whole of Belgium, was unified under French rule. The French forerunner of the present province was known as the département de Sambre-et-Meuse (1792-1814).
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