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Eagum (The Netherlands)

Boarnsterhim municipality, Fryslân province

Last modified: 2011-02-18 by editor unassigned
Keywords: eagum | rooster |
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[Eagum village flag] Shipmate Flagchart : http://www.flagchart.net

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Eagum village (the center of the world ... nearly)

Eagum (old Dutch name: Aegum) is a village in Boarnsterhim municipality in Frylân. It used to be in the former municipality of Idaarderadeel. It is one of the smallest villages of Fryslân - there are 23 inhabitants, The village consists of 6 farms and an old church-spire.
When King Willem III died all bells all over the Netherlands were ringing, except for the bell in the church of Eagum. The villagers heard the news only one day later. They decided to avenge themselves: on the day of the King's funeral they started to chime the bell one hour before the official ringing time. When all bells started ringing the Eagum one was silent, but when they other were silent the Eagum one started again, making it being heard all over the municipality several times. That's ll teach 'em, the villagers told each other.
Eagum: Coat of Arms: in silver a red waterlilyleaf with a green shield-head, in which three rooster's legs with feathers.
According to tradition the center of Fryslân (and therefore of the whole wide world) is at three rooster's paces (trije hoannestappen) from the churchspire of Eagum.
The Frisian student society "Bernlef" in Groningen has solemnly placed a stone with a rooster at three rooster's paces from the church-spire.
Flag: two vertical stripes of green and red proportioned 2:1; in the green stripe a yellow trinacria of rooster's legs with feathers.
Source: Genealogysk Jierboekje 1986.
Encyclopedie van Friesland, 1958.
Jarig Bakker, 19 Aug 2003

How long would a rooster's pace be in metres?
Elias Granqvist, 20 Aug 2003

This would, of course, largely depend upon the breed, age and condition of the rooster in question. But at an average of 6.9 cm per pace (assuming that this was an average rooster, and assuming that average roosters in the Netherlands are the same as average roosters elsewhere, and assuming that I have the average correct in the first place) three paces would be 20.7 cm. On the other hand, if the rooster was as drunk as the students who placed him on the stone probably was, then the three "rooster's paces" in question would describe a half circle?
Christopher Southworth, 20 Aug 2003
(who obviously knows nothing whatever about cockerels)

According to my rusty math, the drunken rooster would walk an  average of the square root of the number of paces, ending up some 4.5 cm from the starting point, though the direction is now unspecified...
Al Kirsch, 20 Aug 2003

With all this precision about how far the rooster walks from the bell-tower, nobody has specified whether the bird went north, south, east, west or somewhere between. Do we measure from the center of the bell tower, the edge, the corner, what?
Bill Dunning, 21 Aug 2003

In France, the rooster would probably not be allowed to walk three paces and would be immediatly slit, placed into a casserole and cooked with red wine. This is the simplified recipe of the famous "coq au vin". In spite of being a speciality from Burgundy, the "coq au vin" (Frisian: hoanne yn wyn) won eternal fame thanks to the singer Claude Nougaro, from Toulouse, who related the unfortunate love a cock had for a clock in the farm in Poitou:
"Dans une ferme du Poitou,
Un coq aimait une pendule..."
The song ends with the clock ringing lunch time:
"Coq au vin, coq au vin".
An alternative version of the "coq au vin" is the "poule au pot", the boiled chicken (Frisian: hin yn 'e pot). The "poule au pot" was King Henri IV's prefered meal. To honour the king, several French housewives cooked nothing but "poule au pot" for their husband. Coming back home, a man named Ravaillac screamed "Poule au pot again. That's too much!". His wife ran after him: "Ravaillac, come back and pleaaaaaase drop that knife!" but it was too late. Ravaillac was quartered (not heraldically but with the help of four horses) after having murdered Henri IV  in Paris.
Ivan Sache, 22 Aug 2003

Eagum *is* the center of the world. In the churchtower is a stone, on which is written:
Aegum (that's the Dutch name) lies in the middle of the world,
Three paces from the tower is the center,
and who doesn't believe it can measure it!
The stone, which has been put there by Bernlef must still be there, and Bernlef is returning every year to check it. That must have been a grand party, because the village "mayor" of Eagum told me that it had taken him days to remove the beercaps, etc. His dad once found himself in a ditch in an uncomfortable position. That was quite a while ago, so the Bernlef stone must have been there for a long time.
I will go there and take some photos, which I will put on my website, and I will take due measurements!
You'll be notified by email when it's on the site. Perhaps your nephew can warn me when Bernlef will visit Eagum this year, 'cause I would love to make some shots of that happening!
Berdt van Oers, 24 Aug 2003

This afternoon I cycled to Eagum, and I made some pictures, which you can admire on my website.
It is quite understandable that the Bernlef-students don't know anything about this, as it was another student-society, "Frisia", which placed the stone, and annually return to make sure, that the center of the world is still there.
The three rooster's paces are 18 cm.
Berdt van Oers, 25 Aug 2003

Frisia is part of the choir of Bernlef - none of them speaks Frisian, but they have spent sometimes a week in Fryslân.
Jarig Sipma, 26 Aug 2003 (former chairperson of Bernlef)

The curious thing is, I knew this originally as:
In Eagum, seven steps from the tower, is the middle of the world.
This weekend, I cycled to Eagum. I entered the Church yard with respect, compas, tape-measure, paper, and pen, and with these tools I collected the following data:
The stone is approximately 21,5 cm from the base of the west-side of the tower. The print of the rooster's paw in it is 31 cm from the tower. As far as I could make out, the stone has the text:
in hoanestep
fen 'e toer
7-10-1972
(a rooster step from the tower, 7 Oct 1972)
To the left of the rooster step a decorative tile is set into the stone, except that it's no longer decorative having lost its top-layer almost completely. From an earlier visit I recall that it had the arms of Bernlef, and their name and location but all that's left is a piece of the crown and something like "Grin" (Grins: Groningen).
But what I've yet to mention is that the rooster isn't stepping away from the tower at all: It is but one step away from /reaching/ the tower; it's steping towards it!
Now for all you rooster-experts:
What size of rooster steps 31 cm in a single step (Bernlef version) and what size requires three steps (Berdt van Oers' version combined with the flag)?
Does this make one version or the other, more likely and what does that mean for the flag?
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 1 Sep 2003


Eagum Coat of Arms

[Eagum Coat of Arms] from Genealogysk Jierboekje 1986.