Schaerbeek (obsolete Dutch spelling, retained in French, pronounced ) or Schaarbeek (Dutch, pronounced ) is one of the nineteen municipalities located in the Brussels-Capital Region of Belgium. The first mention of the name was Scarenbecca, recorded in a document from the Bishop of Cambrai in 1120. The origin of the name may come from the Franconian (Old Dutch) words schaer (notch, score) and beek (creek).
Schaerbeek is nicknamed "the city of donkeys" (la cité des ânes or de ezelsgemeente). This name is reminiscent of times when people of Schaerbeek, who were cultivators of sour cherries primarily for Kriek production, would arrive at the Brussels marketplace with donkeys laden with sour cherries. Donkeys are still kept in Josaphat Park and sour cherry trees line the streets of the Diamant Quarter of Schaerbeek (Avenue Milcampslaan, Avenue Emile Maxlaan and Avenue Opale/Opaallaan). The Square des Griottiers/Morelleboomsquare is named after these trees.
The eastern part of Schaerbeek (the area near Vergote Square, Diamant quarter, and Josaphat Park) is nowadays a location selected by affluent people for its architecture and its convenient location (close to the EU institutions and the financial heart of the city, the airport and highways). Young couples are also favouring this suburb for its "Notting Hill" atmosphere and the still reasonable pricing of real estate, while prices are on the surge everywhere else in Brussels.
The western part of Schaerbeek (the area near the Brussels-North railway station, the Chaussée de Haecht/Haachtsesteenweg and the Van Praet bridge) is home to a large Turkish immigrant community, a significant part of which originates from Afyon or Emirdağ, Turkey. It is also home to a large Moroccan population and other immigrant communities such as Spanish, Congolese, and Asian immigrants. The area around St. Mary's Royal Church is the part where the Turkish community gathers in Brussels, which has led the area to be dubbed "Petite Anatolie" because of all the Turkish restaurants and shops at the Chaussée de Haecht/Haachtsesteenweg. However because of the numerous schools like the Hogeschool Sint-Lukas Brussel, the administrations and the proximity of the Rue Royale there is a social mix. There are also several affluent streets and neighbourhoods in this area including the Quartier des Fleurs/Bloemenwijk, Boulevard Lambermontlaan, Place Meiserplein, Squares Huart-Hamoir and Francois Riga and Avenue Eugene Demolderlaan).