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Ardooie (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: ardooie | koolskamp | lichtervelde | cinquefoils: 3 (red) |
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[Flag of Ardooie]

Flag of Aardoie - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 7 December 2005

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Presentation of Aardoie

The municipality of Ardooie (9,111 ihnabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,457 ha) is located in the "heart" of the province of West Flanders, 7 km of Roeselare and Izegem and 10 km of Tielt. The municipality of Ardooie is made since 1976 of the two former municipalities of Ardooie and Koolskamp.

The two villages forming the municipality of Ardooie were mentioned for the first time, jointly, in 847, as the villae (estates) of Hardoya and Coloscampum, as parts of a settlement made by Charles the Bold to the Benedictine abbey of Elnone (now Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, in the north of France).
The name of Ardooie comes from aard, land and oy(e), an empty space, and refers to the location of the village in the middle of fields. Koolskamp means a wide open area upon a height.

Source: Municipal website

Ardooie is twinned with the town of Roncq, located in the north-east of Lille, close to the border with Belgium (near Menen and Mouscron). The two towns share the old Flemish traditional jeu de bourles, once very popular in the Belgian Flanders and the north-eastern suburbs of Lille.
Jeu de bourles is a bowl game played indoor in a specific track called bourloire, usually located in the backroom of a traditional pub (locally called estaminet). The word bourle comes from the Picard verb bourler, to fall, and has nothing to do with a boule (bowl). The jeu de bourles is not related to the different kinds of jeu de boules played in Lyon or in Provence. It seems to be closer to the bourle de fort played in Angers and to the bowl game played on lawn in Britain and all over the Commonwealth.
The players (bourleux), forming two teams of four, have to throw the bourle as close as possible to a fixed point called étaque, which is embedded at the end of the bourloire on the edge of a pit. The track is 25 m long x 2 m width and is concave; the shape of the cavity is not fixed and differs from track to track. The bourles are asymmetrical in shape and weight; therefore, their trajectory is sinusoidal in the best cases, so that bourle throwing requires specific skills.
The bourle also differs from place to place. Most bourles are made of walnut, like the Roeselare bourle, popular in Belgium, which weights 1.8 km and has a size of c. 20 x 11 cm. The Tourcoing bourle is similar to the Roeselare bourle. In Wattrelos (north of France), the players use the more recent grosse bourle (big bourle), made of gaiac, a very hard wood traditionally used in the textile industry; that bourle weights up to 9 kg and its size is 30-40 x 10 cm. Every bourle is different from the others and is a family heritage transmitted from generation to generation. In the past, the bourles were protected from worms and insects by dipping them into the slurry pit; today, they are coated with linseed oil.
Jeu de bourles was believed to date back to the XVIIIth century; however, a Decree issued in Lille on 4 August 1382 bans the jeu de bourles from the town. The game was still very popular in 1900, with 244 bourloires in Tourcoing. Only a dozen are left today. The recent foundation of the Fédération du Nord des Sociétés de Bourles is an attempt to preserve this Flemish heritage in France. There is a similar association in West Flanders.

Source: Joël Cottrand, Nord-Eclair, 2 August 1998

Ivan Sache, 7 December 2005

Municipal flag of Aardoie

The municipal flag of Ardooie is white with three red cinquefoils placed 2 + 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag and arms of Ardooie were adopted by the Municipal Council on 4 June 1984, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 7 May 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The flag is a banner of the former municipal arms of Ardooie.

The current municipal coat of arms of Ardooie is:
Quarterly, first and fourth silver three cinquefoils gules, second and third azure chief ermine.
These arms combine the former coats of arms of Ardooie (first and fourth quarters) and Koolskamp (second and third quarters).

According to Servais, Ardooie was granted its first coat of arms by a Dutch Royal Decree in 1816. That coat of arms was a blue shield charged with three golden stars, the lower star having a comet tail. The oldest known seal of the municipality, showing three stars, is dated 1692. A more recent seal (XVIIIth century) shows the same three stars, but including one with a comet tail. The Municipal Council applied for the use of the latter arms in the beginning of the XIXth century. Since there was not the least clue on the colour of these arms, the municipal coat of arms was granted in the Dutch national colours (blue and yellow). In 1847, the Municipal Council decided to use the arms of the lords of Aardoie (XV-XVIth centuries), although there is no reported use of such arms by the local council at that time. The coat of arms ("Azure three cinquefoils gules") was granted by Royal Decree on 28 June 1847.
The coat of arms of Koolskamp ("Azure a chief ermine") is based on the old arms of the lords of Lichtervelde. The municipality of Lichtervelde still uses the Lichtervelde arms, "azure a chief argent seven ermines". These arms are known since the XIVth century and appeared as the village coat of arms on the seal of the local council in the XVIIIth century.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 7 December 2005