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The name Wilrijk is derived from the Germanic word "wil" (will) and the suffix "-rik", which means a settlement. The oldest known spelling of this village dates back to 1225, in a document of Duke Henry I of Brabant granting certain privileges to its inhabitants. In 1828, King William I ordered that all villages ending with -ik should have their final vowel removed as it was too difficult for non-native speakers to pronounce. Thus Wilrijk became simply Wilrijck but later on people started saying 'Wil-Rijk' instead so eventually it became official again in 1947 when an act passed by parliament changed its name officially into: 'Wilrijk'.