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Belgium in Brief: The Mystery Of The Mayor’s Heart

Credit: Belga/Pixabay

“Let me tell you the story of how the mayor of a Belgian town ended up with his heart in the fountain” would be the start of a fairytale worthy of retelling by the brothers Grimm.

Bizarrely, it’s totally true. So, what exactly happened to the heart of the 19th-century mayor Pierre David? Here are the basics:

  • He died in 1839
  • 3 days later his heart was removed – with the intention of placing it in a memorial.
  • This did not happen, so his heart sat in a jar in the town hall for four decades.
  • The next steps get a little fuzzy, but by all accounts the heart kind of vanished until last summer, when a small metal box was found during renovations of a fountain Verviers.
  • It contained an actual heart, with an inscription saying it contained the (missing?) heart of Pierre David, specifically.

So not only was the mayor’s heart kept… it was also kept in a public-ish place, lost, buried, and then discovered.

I really wouldn’t have wanted to be the workman who found it, but man does this sounds like a story deserving of a big-budget movie.

Know any other Belgian folklore that could be true? Let @johnstonjules know on Twitter.

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:



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Jules Johnston
The Brussels Times