Faites vos démarches en ligne :

Skip to content. | Skip to navigation


Navigation menu
You are here: Home / Leisure / Tourism / Tourism website / Presentation / The villages / Yvoir
Document Actions



A small town lying at the confluence of the Meuse and the Bocq, in a site with the motive power required for the development of forges, the presence of which is attested since the 16th century.

Industrial buildings and ironsmiths' houses (Maison Posson) bear witness to the importance of the activity on the one hand, and the wealth of the owners on the other.
In the second half of the 19th century, quarrying was developed - some quarries are still active. There are also some remaining lime kilns.

The village has spread out around the old centre with its 16th and 17th-century buildings, following the arrival of the railway in 1863 (viaducts), leading to more recently, generally dense adjoining housing, built mainly from sandstone, limestone and brick.

At the same time, from the beginning of the century onwards, the ironsmiths' houses and villas were built in the fashionable styles of the day around the place des Combattants and overlooking the Meuse.


The history of Yvoir goes right back to the Neolithic era when a flint workshop was set up on the Tricointe site.

The Airbois site was occupied during the Gallo-Roman period. This is where a researcher found the name of Yvoir, in the form of HORA (a Germanic term meaning 'boggy land') in the manuscripts of the prevostship of Poilvache, of which Yvoir was a fief.

From the 14th century onwards, Yvoir was the centre of a major iron industry. It had up to twelve forges, the first of which was known as "Yvoir forge" and the second as "Aminthe forge". The pace of life in the region mirrored the cycles of prosperity and recession in the forges. They were closed down in 1866 on the death of the last ironsmith and converted into mills and sawmills. At that time locks were being built and charcoal was to be replaced by anthracite mining.

When the iron industry was in decline, Alfred Dapsens, from Tournai, came and settled in Yvoir.  
He bought the assets of the old ironsmiths and operated the sandstone quarries, which became a significant industry given the rare types of rock present in Belgium.

Since the most recent merger of municipalities in 1976, Yvoir has become the administrative centre of the municipality.


Yvoir brewery: this was located on the site of the first forge in Yvoir. This is where Mr. Alphonse Lambret set up his brewery in the latter half of the 19th century. For the production of "Lambret" beer, all the raw materials were brought here: hops, malt and water. Here they were mixed, fermented, filtered and put in barrels.
The motive power was produced by a hydraulic turbine driven by water from the Bocq.
In 1908, Mr. Lambret supplied electricity to the entire village except rue du Redeau, which was connected up only in 1913, and rue du Tricointe in 1914.
In 1940, the Brasserie Lambret had eight workers and was run by Mr. Joseph Lambret.
In 1951, the brewery was sold to Mr. Fernand Maire, from Meix (Virton), where he ran the "La Chevratte" brewery with his brother. It still exists, producing "La Gaumaise" high quality brown ale.
The buildings at Yvoir are in fact a warehouse for the Meix brewery as well as for Maes and Artois. In addition to the villages in present-day Yvoir, the brewery's influence extended right to Ermeton-sur-Biert and Heer-Agimont. In 1966, a case of Stella cost 132 francs.
Mr. Maire died in 1966, and his wife continued the business with the help of Mr. Lacroix until 1969. The brewery was taken over by a company from Charleroi that rented the stores and garage. The stores have now been demolished to make room for the sports hall.

The Chateau de Bouvignes was built in 1751. This old ironsmith's house stands on the foundation of a previous tower which is thought to have served for defensive purposes. This building is currently owned by the province of Namur.

The town hall is an old lordly farm and feudal tenant farm which was part of the prevostship of Poilvache in 1458. The building was occupied in 1621 by the ironsmith, Petit.

The Meuse and Bocq fountain is a reminder of the role played by the Bocq, a tributary of the Meuse, in the region's iron industry. On the edge of the circular pool, there is a stone sculpture depicting a naked woman lying down, representing the Meuse, accompanied by a small boy, representing the Bocq.

The Maka is a forge hammer which is driven by a hydraulic wheel with cams. This wheel, driven by a continuous rotational movement, repeatedly strikes against the end of the mobile hammer handle, which it lifts. Then, when the cam moves round, the hammer falls with its entire weight on the anvil. The 'Maka' is used principally to forge large, strong bars, as well as to make bars of smaller dimensions.  The average weight of a forge maka is 510 kilos - 84 kilos for the hammer and 210 kilos for the handle.

Ile d'Yvoir: with a surface area of 2.5 hectares, this is the last island in the Meuse to be used as a centre for tourism - since 1937.

St-Eloi Church is a classical building built in 1761-1763 by Father Jacques Misson. In 1888, the size of the church was doubled by adding a transept according to the plans of the Namur architect L. Lange.

The Le Parc Cinema was originally a function room which was built in 1939, between the town hall and the small Yvoir park. In 1956, the "Ars et Labor" non-profit cultural association took over the management to open "Le Parc" cinema. The programme offered two films per week. In addition to the films, there were lectures, musical shows, Wallonese theatre productions, etc. The cinema owns a work of art by Messrs. Lapiere and Remy, adorning the front of the hall. This work symbolises the aims the non-profit association set for itself. The cock represents Wallonese individualism; the defence of French culture protects both the labours of employees and the rest enjoyed by tourists (right-hand group); the work presents artistic events to the world: actors and musicians (left-hand group). The cinema closed down in 1976.  Since 1984, the building has been refitted as a fire station.

The Bocq railway: the viaduct and tunnel were built in 1906. This tunnel is the longest one in Belgium (1.176km). It was used a hiding place for Hitler's train in 1940.

The Aminthe forge: in the grounds of the forges, the ironsmiths almost always planted a lime tree. This one close to Aminthe forge has holy connotations: In 1861, the bishop of Namur consecrated a shrine there which was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. A niche is still attached to the tree trunk.

Maison Posson: this is one of the oldest houses in Yvoir. It was already standing in 1641 and inhabited by Posson, an Ironsmith.

The French Memorial: is a large single block of marble, standing as a reminder of the heroism of the French troops that defended the Meuse in May 1940.

The Monument to the Dead: on 23 August 1914, the Germans burned down sixteen houses, shot five people and took around twenty hostages who they took to Stave.

The Notre-Dame de Bonne-Garde Virgin is a marble statue overlooking the village. It was given after the First World War by a Canadian citizen in thanks to the Mother of Christ for the protection afforded to the Convent of the Dames du Cénacle (which no longer exists) where his sister lived.

The Notre-Dame de Lourdes grotto is located at the Institute and is a replica of the one in Lourdes.

Château Dapsens: this is the former Chateau Gaiffier. There is an old lookout tower, which is older than the rest of the building, and which probably formed part of the old castle belonging to the Lords of Yvoir. Behind Chateau Dapsens there is a chapel which was built in 1688, featuring a remarkable marble altar and two fine wooden statues of Saint Peter and Saint Roch.