Adolphe Sax
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Dinant, daughter of the Meuse, birthplace of Sax  

Dinant is located in the heart of the province of Namur, in a rural district where tourism is of major importance. The province of Namur has a landscape of valleys, caves, nature reserves, watercourses, lakes (both natural and artificial), parks, and gardens.

From Givet to Namur, the upper Meuse valley is a place of wild beauty, with massive cliffs and vast expanses of woodland. Castles, abbeys, citadels, and churches bear witness to a long and turbulent past. These days the valley is protected by a Contrat de Rivière, an extensive programme of measures aimed at protecting, restoring, and promoting it by, for example, improving water quality and developing the economy and tourism in ways that respect the environment, both natural and human.

The district, whose famous children have included the painter Félicien Rops (1833-1898), has an active cultural life, with a number of dynamic festivals, institutions, and associations.

 

Dinant, a city on the Meuse that currently has some 13,000 residents, has played a prestigious role in history. It was a key centre for the production and trading of objects in cast brass and repoussé work, giving rise to the term dinanderie for brassware.

The painters Joachim Patenier (1485-1524), Henri Bles (1490-1550), and Antoine Wiertz (1806-1865) were born in this district, as was the inventor of the saxophone, Adolphe Sax (1814-1894).

Nestling in a hollow surrounded by green countryside, the city has one of the finest natural settings of the Meuse region. Overlooked by high limestone cliffs, it is located on a narrow tongue of land along the banks of the Meuse.

Among the most striking sites and attractions to be found in and around the city are the Collegiate Church, the Citadel, the Rocher Bayard rock, Leffe Abbey, the cave known as La Merveilleuse, boat trips on the Meuse, the old medieval town of Bouvignes with its Maison du Patrimoine Médiéval Mosan devoted to the region's medieval heritage, the Maison de la Pataphonie with its unique approach to music, the Furfooz Park and Natural Reserve, the descent of the Lesse by kayak…and, now, Mr Sax's House.

Local gastronomic specialities include the couque de Dinant, a highly decorative, very hard biscuit made from flour and honey, and the flamiche, a tart made with full-fat cheese and eggs, which is eaten hot, accompanied by a good Burgundy wine.

In memory of the brassware that contributed to its prosperity down the centuries and as a tribute to Adolphe Sax, the city has adopted the slogan "La Voix Cuivrée" (literally, "The Copper Voice" or “The Brass Voice”) – a play on words that refers to the different senses of the word "brass" and makes the point that Dinant has neither run out of breath nor of ideas.