- The Marolles is the city district most identified with the working class. Located between porte de Hal, the church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle, and the Palais de Justice, the name derives from the convent of the Apostolines of the Community of Marian Colentes, which was founded here in the 17th century but moved in 1715 to a location near rue de Laeken. Sparsely developed in the 14th century, the district housed a large population by the 15th and 16th centuries, including day laborers, small craftsmen, beggars, prostitutes, and vagrants (See also Bovendaal). Overcrowding made it a hotbed of working-class discontent and a stronghold of the labor movement in the 19th and 20th centuries. The first labor associations in Brussels were formed here in the 19th century. With the vaulting of the Senne River, many industries in the quarter closed down or relocated.Known for their cantankerousness and rebelliousness, Marollians exhibited an independent streak as early as 1330, when linen weavers rose against the nobility. The craftsmen, small shopkeepers, antique dealers, and laborers who inhabit the district today include many recent immigrants. Some 1,000 houses were demolished to build the Palais de Justice, and the outrage that this engendered continues today in local resistance to urban development and redevelopment schemes.The Marolles is home to marollein,a bruxellois dialect that today has largely ceased to exist.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.