Origins and etymology
According to legend, Gertrude, daughter of Pippin of Landen, founded a chapel here in the 8th century. A document by Otto I, dated 966, mentions the church of Iatrebache. The name Ietrebecca – possibly from the Celtic root ett meaning "rapid movement" and the Dutch word beek meaning "stream" – is found for the first time in a document dated 1127. The current spelling appears eleven years later in 1138, around which time a newer and larger church was built.
Etterbeek in the XVI century
In the Middle Ages, Etterbeek was a rural hamlet mostly independent of Brussels, aside from taxation rights on beer given to Brussels around 1300 by John II, Duke of Brabant. The following two centuries counted several grievous moments: in 1489, Albert, Duke of Saxe ravaged Etterbeek in his pursuit of the rebels who fought against Maximilian of Austria; in 1580, the village is destroyed once more, this time by the iconoclasts during the Protestant Reformation wars. Peace came back under the reigns of Archdukes Albert and Isabella.
Barony and municipality
In 1673, Etterbeek gained its independence from neighbouring Sint-Genesius-Rode, when Charles II of Spain promoted it into a barony. The first baron was Don Diego-Henriquez de Castro, general treasurer of the Netherlands armies. The Castro house was sold in 1767 and can still be seen today as Etterbeek's oldest building.
Ferraris Map of Etterbeek (Bruxelles) in 1777
Under the French regime, Etterbeek was made into a commune, within the canton of Sint-Stevens-Woluwe. From then on, and especially after the Belgian Revolution of 1830 and the development of Brussels as a capital city, the population of Etterbeek grew quickly. In 1876, there were more than 10,000 inhabitants, in 1900 more than 20,000, and in 1910 more than 33,000. In the 1900s (decade), under the reign of Leopold II, construction boomed and changed the town's character with the addition of the broad avenues and residential areas that we know today.