Friday, August 20, 2010

Jenneval- Belgian Anthem Lyricist

Louis Alexandre Dechet (Lyon, 20 January 1801 - Lier, 18 October 1830) was a French actor and is known as author of the text of the Brabançonne, the Belgian national anthem. His pseudonym was Jenneval, possibly named after the drama Jenneval, ou le Barnevelt français (1769) of Louis Sébastien Mercier.

Dechet worked in Ajaccio, Marseille and in 1826 at the Paris Odéon. Via Rijsel he finally came to Brussels, where he played at La Monnaie. In 1828 he returned to Paris in order to work at the Comédie Française, but returned to Brussels immediately after the July Revolution in 1830. He there served with the city guard which was responsible for maintaining law and order.

Dechet is said to have written the text of the Brabançonne during the first revolutionary gatherings at the café "L'Aigle d'Or" in the Brussels Greepstraat in August of 1830, shortly after the performance of the opera La Muette de Portici, which triggered the Belgian revolution.

During the Belgian Revolution Dechet became a volunteer in the revolutionary army and joined the corps of Frenchman Charles Niellon. He died during a combat against the Dutch near Lier. On the Martelarenplein in Brussels a column honouring Dechet is to be found, which was created by Alfred Crick and inaugurated in 1897.

The postal card above shows Louis Alexandre Dechet aka Jenneval, the Belgian anthem lyricist (French Version).