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Gazette de Liège, Belgium's oldest newspaper, is no more

21:37 09/01/2022

Belgium's oldest newspaper, La Gazette de Liège, has ceased publication after 181 years in circulation.

The Gazette had been published regularly since 1840 - but the first record of a newspaper under this name dates back to 1688. In the 18th century, it was the official journal of the Prince-Bishops of Liège, up until the French revolution.

It reappeared in 1840 as a conservative Catholic newspaper, offering an alternative viewpoint to other more liberal local press outlets. The title was passed down through four generations of the Dumarteau family.

Former writers included Georges Simenon, best known as the creator of the fictional detective Jules Maigret. He published more than 1,000 articles in his three years working at the title after the first world war.

Since 1967, the Gazette has been owned by the publishers of La Libre Belgique and was merged into the Liège local edition of La Libre as a four-page pullout.

Lily Portugaels, who ran the paper in the 1970s and 80s, said: "When I took over, I absolutely wanted news from the whole region. It was very important. It was a time of great prosperity for the city of Liège on all levels."

In the 1990s, the Gazette de Liège was reduced to just two pages within the Liège edition of La Libre Belgique. It had a circulation last year of 3,500 copies.

The paper's five journalists will continue to cover the local area for La Libre Belgique and its sister titles, L'Avenir and La Dernière Heure - but the Gazette de Liège brand is no more.

Some of the title's former journalists are reportedly working on a plan to resurrect the brand in digital form.

Written by The Bulletin