- Cited as Anderlech ("the low ground inhabited by those who live near the water") in a Latin text of 1046, the western suburb of Anderlecht dates from ancient times. Excavations have uncovered remains of Iron Age housing, a Roman villa from the fourth century, and a Merovingian graveyard. Early development was spurred by the cult of Saint Guidon (ca. 950-1012), who lived here and at whose tomb alleged miracles attracted growing numbers of pilgrims. Offerings left by these travelers allowed for restoration and expansion of the collegiate church of Saints-Pierre-et-Guidon, which began as a chapel to Saint Peter about 1078 founded by Reinilda of Aa, a member of an influential family in the duchy of Brabant. The Gothic church dates from the 14th through the 16th centuries, built on the 11th-century foundations. It was extensively renovated in the 19th century, and the tower, begun in the 16th century, was completed in 1898.An early locale of the industrial revolution in Belgium, Anderlecht saw its first industrial plant open in 1790 when A. Schavye began a textile operation. The first steam engine was employed at the firm of J. F. Hoegarden in 1825.In 1831, Anderlecht counted about 5,510 inhabitants, then the most populous of the communes around Brussels. It was the most developed of the suburban communities having paved streets, a major church, and a mix of agricultural and industrial activities, including carpentry, iron working, and masonry. Urbanization proved rapid at the end of the 19th century when slaughterhouses were built together with factories and workshops along the Brussels-Charleroi Canal. The population attained 80,000 by 1930. Anderlecht has a working-class reputation among the city's suburbs, but there are also many quiet, residential districts. The town's top-ranking football team, RBC Anderlecht, plays at Van Den Stock stadium and at Stade Roi Baudouin.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.