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Nazareth (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Nazareth

The municipality of Nazareth (10,962 inhabitants on 1 January 2007 - but the 11,000th inhabitant of the municipality was officially celebrated on 18 April 2007; 3,519 ha) is located 15 km south-west of Ghent. The municipality of Nazareth is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Nazareth and Eke.

Nazareth was most probably named after the Biblic place. However, A. Cassiman claims that Nazareth is a bastardization of magherhet, a magere heide, "a poor moor". In fact, magherhet is related to Countess of Flanders Margaretha of Constantinople, who developed the area in the XIIIth century, and the correct reading of goed te Magherhetten, geleghen in de prochie van Nazarette should be "Margaretha's possession [here a farm], located in the parish of Nazareth". The modern writing Nazareth was already used in 1259, with some later variations, such as Nazaret (1381), Nasaret (1393) and Nazarette (1572).
In the Middle Ages, Nazareth belonged to three different lordships, Kortrijk, Oudenaarde and Oudburg in Ghent. The village was divided between two domains, the Bailiwick (Schoutendom, aka Hoog Heerschip) and the Domain (Heerlijkheid). In 1359, the lord of Oudenaarde transferred the Bailiwick to Jan van der Zickele, magistrate in Ghent and owner of two farms in Nazareth. Jan's daughter, Philipote, married first with Philip de Gruutere and then with Jan van den Nesse, Chamberlain of King of Spain Philip II, who purchased for her the Domain of Nazareth. Through inheritance and marriages, Nazareth became the property of Lodewijk of Rockolfing, of Hungarian origin, whose grandfather had married Francisca van der Zickele, Philipote's sister. In 1653, he united the two parts of Nazareth. The family of Rockolfing kept Nazareth until the French Revolution, the last lord being Baron Louis-Charles-Ghislain, who remained Mayor of Nazareth until 1860. Eugenie-Amelie, one of his daughters, married Philip August Kervyn de Volkaersbeke, the root of another dynasty of Mayors of Nazareth.
In 1868, De Pinte seceded from Nazareth to form an independent municipality.

Eke is one of the oldest inhabited places in Flanders, as proved by remains of the Gallo-Roman period found there. The oldest mention of the village dates back to 737. The name of the village was once written Eca, Heke or Eeke. It is related to the Germanic roots *aikja, *aik, *eik, meaning "a place near an oak wood".
The domain of Eke, originally ruled by the lords of Eke, belonged to the lordship of Oudburg in Ghent, while two other parts of the village belonged to the lord of Dendermonde and the domain of Aishove in Kruishoutem, respectively.
During the Religious Wars, the lord of Eke took the Spanish party; accordingly, the Ghent militia plundered the church and burned the castle in 1578, 1579 and 1580.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 3 September 2007

Municipal flag of Nazareth

The flag of Nazareth is square, vertically divided blue-white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle covering 4/5th of the height of the flag.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 7 November 1977, confirmed by Royal Decree on 23 May 1978 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 25 August 1978. The source book explicitely states that neither the design nor the proportion of the flag match those of the other Belgian municipal flags.

The municipal arms of Nazareth, originally granted by Royal Decree on 22 July 1925, are described on the municipal website, as made of the arms of the families Rockolfing and Kervyn de Volkaersebeke:
1. in goud drie rozen van keel geknopt in het veld, gebladerd van sinopel en een schildhoofd van keel beladen met een gaande en omziende leeuw van goud, getongd van keel.
2. in sabel een keper vergezeld rechts in het hoofd van een eikel, gesteeld en gebladerd van twee stukken, links in het hoofd van een zespuntige ster, alles van goud en in de punt een arendspoot van zilver.

"Per pale, 1. or three roses gules seeded of the field leaved vert a chief gules a lion passant or langued gules, 2. sable a chevron in chief dexter an acorn slipped and leaved two pieces, in chief sinister a mullet all or in base an eagle spot argent."

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 3 September 2007