Rouppe, Nicolas-Jean
(1769-1838)
   The first burgomaster of Brussels after Belgian independence, Nicolas Rouppe was born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, on 17 April 1769. He entered the seminary at a young age but later left, having been duly influenced by the anticlerical doctrines of the Enlightenment. He moved to Brussels in the 1790s, where he presided over republican celebrations, on 21 January 1795, commemorating the execution of King Louis XVI. Under the Directory, he was named commissioner of executive power, and, in 1800, he was appointed mayor by Napoléon Bonaparte. Arrested in 1802 for protesting the incarceration of several notable citizens charged with trading in contraband goods, Rouppe was exiled from Brussels and placed under police surveillance.
   Left destitute, he played no public role during the Dutch regime; rather, he joined the ranks of those opposed to the government. He served on a consultative committee that called for the separation of Belgium from the Netherlands and was elected on 9 September 1830 to head the Brussels-based Committee of Public Safety.
   Rouppe was named burgomaster by the provisional national government on 22 October 1830. He was also appointed a deputy and, subsequently, a member for Brussels to the National Congress. As burgomaster, he maintained order in the capital during the regency period, and he officially welcomed King Leopold I on his arrival in Brussels on 21 July 1831. He rallied the citizens with a stirring call for the city's medical services to stand ready following the invasion of Belgium by Dutch troops on 6 August 1831. Rouppe took vigorous measures to combat the cholera epidemic of 1832; strove in vain to prevent violence during the Orangist riots of 1834; and played a leading role in founding the Université libre de Bruxelles in 1834.
   Elected a deputy for Brussels at the first legislative elections for the Chamber of Representatives, Rouppe resigned in 1836 to devote himself entirely to his municipal duties. Exhausted from overwork, he died on 3 August 1838. In his memory, city officials authorized establishment of place Rouppe, inaugurated on 26 September l841. A national subscription secured funds to erect a bronze fountain to adorn the square. Designed by Joseph Poelaert it was installed in 1848.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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