Historical Timeline

Between Green Bay and Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin is a region along the bay which is heavily populated by people of Belgian origin. It is the largest rural settlement of people of this nationality in the United States and covers an area 20 miles wide and 50 miles long in Door, Kewaunee and Brown counties.

Walloon-speaking Belgians began to arrive in Door, Kewaunee and Brown counties in the 1850s, establishing communities with names from their home country ie. Namur, Rosiere, Brussels, and Luxemburg. Belgian customs and traditions remain to this day.

Father Louis Hennepin

The first Belgian known to penetrate this region was Father Louis Hennepin, a missionary who was born in Ath in the province of Hainault, Belgium. He came to America in 1675 and took a prominent part in exploring this region. As he traveled by canoe on the waters of Green Bay he stopped at a site where the Village of Dyckesville now stands. After returning to his native country, not a Belgian set foot in this region for almost 175 years.

In order to better understand what motivated the Belgians to leave their mother country for the New World, we must move ahead to 1853.