Liège, officially French Liège [ljε ː ʒ ], Dutch Luik [lœjk], capital of the province of Liège, Belgium, 60–170 m above sea level, on the Meuse, which here widens the valley of the Ourthe, (2019) 197 300 Resident.
Capital of Wallonia, the cultural and economic center of East Belgium; catholic bishopric; University (founded in 1817), science park, business and industrial colleges, conservatory, metallurgical research institutes; Wallonian Museum (Musée de la Vie Wallonne), several art museums (including Musée de l’Art Wallon, Musée d’Art Moderne, Musée d’Art Religieux et d’Art Mosan), archaeological museum (Musée Grand Curtius), glass, Arms museum, libraries, archive, theater, opera.
Economy: According to Clothingexpress, the industrial area of Liège, one of the oldest in Europe, extends beyond the city limits in the Meuse Valley and as a metropolitan area has 670,000 residents. After the coal mining industry in the Liège basin has been abandoned, heavy industry continues to be important: heavy machinery, iron and non-ferrous metal processing, boiler and turbine construction, arms manufacture, chemical industry, large breweries, food, cement, electrical and electronics industries, biotechnology, aerospace technology, printing shops. The once important tire production has been given up.
Transport: Liège is the junction of important railway lines and roads and a stop for the Thalys and ICE high-speed trains (new construction of the Liège-Guillemins station in 2009; architect Santiago Calatrava). Inland navigation on the Meuse and Albert Canal (port turnover in 2014: 13.5 million t) and international trade fairs are important. With (2015) 649 800 t, the airport has a high freight volume.
The city center is to the left of the Meuse; its churches hold a wealth of art treasures, including important works by the Maasschule. The baptismal font (1107-18) of Reiner von Huy is in Saint-Barthélemy, a Romanesque church with a western building (11th / 12th centuries, baroque choir and nave in the 18th century). The late Gothic Saint-Paul cathedral (13th-16th centuries) with cloister (14th century) has remarkable stained glass from the 16th century; the rich church treasure includes the reliquary of Charles the Bold (around 1470). Saint-Jacques, the originally Romanesque church of a Benedictine abbey, was rebuilt in the late Gothic style in 1513–38 while retaining the Romanesque western parts (the north portal, redesigned in the Renaissance style on 1558–60, retained the relief of a coronation of Mary from 1380–90 in the arched area); Inside there is a reticulated vault with paintings and stained glass (mid-16th century). Sainte-Croix, a Gothic hall church (13th / 14th century) with a Romanesque west building, has a valuable cross reliquary (1160). Saint-Jean, built around 980 based on the model of the Aachen Palatine Chapel, was rebuilt in the 18th century on the old octagonal floor plan, the old west tower was retained; inside “Mary with Child” and crucifixion group (13th century).
The former prince-bishop’s palace (today the Palace of Justice) in the late Gothic style (1526–40) encloses two inner courtyards; Facade changed from 1734–40; neo-Gothic wing (1848–56). The Curtiushaus (museum) with characteristic late Renaissance forms was built in 1597–1605. The baroque town hall was built in 1714-18. The Théâtre Royal was built in 1818-22 based on the model of the Parisian Odéon. The notable new buildings include the congress hall (1958) with a 52 m high scaffolding added in 1961, whose clamped metal strings produce sounds when the atmosphere changes, as well as the university clinic on the Sart-Tilman-Campus (1962–86) by Charles Vandenhove.
The oldest known settlement in the middle of the 7th century belonged to the diocese of Tongern-Maastricht. After the bishopric was moved to Liège (717/718, finally 722), the city began to flourish. Since the end of the 9th century, handicrafts (especially coppersmiths, cloth and leather weavers) and trade established themselves in the city. In the High Middle Ages, Liège, next to Cologne, was the political and cultural center of Lower Lorraine. In several unsuccessful uprisings (13th – 17th centuries) the citizens tried to gain independence from episcopal rule. It was not until the end of the 17th century that urban development was directed into quieter channels. Liège enjoyed renewed growth as a mining town and center of arms production. In August 1789 the bishop was driven out by a popular uprising, Brabant merged. In both world wars, Liège, heavily fortified from 1886–92, played an important role in the Belgian deliberations on the defense of the Meuse.