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Wielsbeke (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Wielsbeke]

Municipal flag of Wielsbeke - Image by Filip van Laenen, 11 November 2001


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Presentation of Wielsbeke and its villages

The municipality of Wielsbeke (9,002 inahbitants on 1 January 2007; 2,176 ha) is located 15 km north-east of Kortrijk. The municipality of Wielsbeke is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Wielsbeke (3,097 inh.; 838 ha), Ooigem (3,651 inh.; 456 ha) and Sint-Baafs-Vijve (2,159 inh.; 857 ha).

Wielsbeke was mentioned for the first time in 1080, as Wilesbecke / Wilesbeke. Subsequent names of the village are Willesbecca (1141), Willebeke (1230) and eventually Wielsbeke (1308). The name of the village probably means "a brook making eddies". In 1141, Erpulpus transferred the rights on the church of Wielsbeke to the St. Martin abbey in Tournai.
Wielsbeke belonged to the lord of Ingelmunster; Otto de Plotho, lord of Ingelmunster, Rosebeke, Sint-Baafs-Vijve, Wielsbeke etc., died in 1702. Destroyed in the XIXth century, the castle of Wielsbeke was rebuilt in Louis XVI style.

Ooigem was mentioned for the first time in 964, as the wood Methela, when King Lothaire confirmed the transfer of the village by Count Arnoult the Great to the the St. Peter abbey in Ghent. Lothaire's chart says that "dozens of pigs grazed in the wood Methela". The name of Odengem was coined in 1080, later altered to Odenghem (1111), Odengien (1164), Odighem (1352), Oeieghem (1402), Oyghem (1430), Oyeghem (1575), Oyghem (1653) and eventually Ooigem (1903); according to Dassonville, the name of the village is derived from Audingahem, "Audo's estate".
Built in 1037, the sanctuary of Ooigem was transferred in 1111 by the Bishop of Tournai to the St. Peter abbey in Ghent; the parish of Ooigem was officially created in 1158. The village lived mostly from flax waving; in 1738, there were 39 weavers in the villages, most of them having one or two apprentices.
The domain of Ooigem was made of 60 parts, scattered over several villages. The oldest known lords of Ooigem belonged to the house of Luxembourg; subsequently, the domain belonged to the family of Thiennes and to the Counts of Saint-Pol; in 1510, the domain was purchased by Ferry de Gros, whose family was succeeded by the lords of Lens.
Ooigem is the birth village of His Grace Pieter De Brabandere (1828-1895), consecrated Bishop of Bruges in 1894.

Sint-Baafs-Vijve was mentioned for the first time in 1037, as Five, the name of the local brook. Subsequent names of the village are Vivia (1046), Fivia (1119), Vive (1260), Fivia Sancti Bavonis (1263), Five Saint Bavor (1277), Sint-Baefs-Vive (1365), Sente Badfs Vive (1382) and, eventually, Sint-Baafs-Vijve(1903).
An old parish dedicated to St. Bavo, Sint-Baafs-Vijve belonged to the St. Martin abbey in Tournai. Lord Lambertus de Vivia was mentioned in 1046, as was Walterus de Fivia in 1119 and, again, in 1260.
Sint-Baafs-Vijve is the place of a more than 150 years old tradition called Hondenzwemming (Swimming the dogs). This is a competition for dogs, split into three classes (smaller, middle and greater dogs), which have to run a bit and then swimm across the old arm of the river Leie. Like in several Flemish villages, the festival includes a throwing event, here, of course, the dog throwing (Hondenworp), during which Miss Wielsbeke throws stuffed dogs down to the happy mob.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008


Municipal flag of Wielsbeke

The municipal flag of Wielsbeke is quartered white-red.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 5 November 1980, confirmed by Royal Decree on 11 February 1981 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 13 March 1981.
The flag is based on the municipal arms, omitting the charges and the escutcheon.

The municipal arms of Wielsbeke can be seen on Miss Wielsbeke's scarf. They are very similar to the former arms of Waregem (which add a blue label added in chief), and are the former arms of the Plotho family.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008