Sint-Niklaas is a small town in East Flanders, Belgium. At the start of 2017, it had a population of over 76,000, making it the nineteenth most populous city in the country.
This city is also famous for its market square, which is the largest in Belgium, covering an area of 3.19 hectares.
Historical evidence of human activity in this area dates back to prehistoric times, even before the Roman era. However, in Roman times, the nearby city of Wasmünster was the regional center. Perhaps this was due to its convenient location on the Dyurma River, a tributary of the Schelda.
The history of Sint-Niklaas began to unfold only from the founding of the church dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra in 1217 on the recommendation of local clerics. Until the middle of the 16th century, this parish was under the jurisdiction of the Bishopric of Tournay. The socio-political structure of the region included it in the County of Flanders, which played a key role in the economic development of the city.
In 1241, Sint-Niklaas became the administrative center of the region, and in 1248 Margaret II granted him the lands to the west of the St. Nicholas church on the condition that these lands remain forever indivisible and will not be abandoned. These conditions led to the formation of the vast marketplace as we know it today.