Europe

Dinant

Here we help the city of Dinant celebrate the birth of its favorite son Adolphe Saxe, who first patented the saxophone on 28 June, 1846. The Belgian musician was a human catastrophe who survived falls, poisoning, drowning, burning, explosions, two bankruptcies, and—most tellingly—lip cancer, only to die in abject poverty in a Paris slum. Still, he did know his musical instruments.

Dinant is also famous as the spot where General Erwin Rommel finally crossed the Meuse River in 1940 to keep the sputtering German offensive alive and bring the world the misnamed legend of the Blitzkrieg. 

Less well known was the singular talent the city had for irritating the German invaders of World War I. In 1914, the Hun responded with massacres of more than 6,500 civilians—in one incident alone, they threw 654 people off this bridge and brought river navigation to a halt. The Rape of Dinant turned into one of the first propaganda salvos in a war that overflowed with them.

Nowadays, we’re all friends, and the city has become a tourist mecca of sorts. But we never eat here—for no reason we can fathom, the city has the worst restaurants we’ve ever seen. But the music is wonderful.

 

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