- The commune of Berchem-Sainte-Agathe is located on the western edge of the Brussels Capital Region. It acquired the additional title of Sainte-Agathe from the name of the local church in order to distinguish it from several other towns named Berchem in Belgium. Largely rural throughout its history, the commune originated as seigneurial lands, the oldest holder of which was probably Arnould van Berchem in the 13th century. The community was endowed with a church in the 12th century. Stones from quarries here were used in the construction of the Cathédrale des Saints-Michel-et-Gudule.Berchem-Sainte-Agathe was pillaged by Spanish and rebel soldiers in the wars of religion, by peasants fleeing French invaders in 1674, and by troops under the marshal of Villero n 1695, who camped to the west of the town. Wealthy residents of Brussels built villas and country homes here. Koekelberg was formerly located within the commune, but its increasingly urban character led to friction in the 19th century and, by a law of April 1841, the territory was detached from Berchem's jurisdiction.
Historical Dictionary of Brussels. Paul F. State.