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Kuurne (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-06-25 by ivan sache
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Flag of Kuurne - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 15 January 2006

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Presentation of Kuurne

The municipality of Kuurne (12,626 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,001 ha; municipal website) is located in the north-eastern outskirts of Kortrijk.
The inhabitants of Kuurne are nicknamed ezels, donkeys. They don't seem to be ashamed by this nickname, and the donkey is now the center of the local folklore, with the Donkey Beer (Ezelsbier), the Donkey Cake (Ezelstaart), the Donkey Bread Roll (Ezelhapjes) and even a King Donkey (Koning Ezel) and the Order of the Donkey (Orde van de Ezel).
In the past, Kuurne provided most of its fresh vegetables to Kortrijk. The growers brought their products every day to the morning market with carts drawn by donkeys. The noise made by the carts and the donkeys woke up very early the inhabitants of Kortrijk, who opened their windows ans shouted with anger: De Kuurnse ezels zijn daar weer! (The donkeys from Kuurne are back again!)

The Leie Monument, built on the confluency of the Heulebeek and the Leie, recalls the fighting that took place there on 24 and 25 May 1940. The place was the main battle field of the fighting that lasted 18 days after the invasion of Belgium by the Germans on 10 May 1940. In Kuurne, the Germans faced the 12th Line Regiment, assisted with the Cyclist Border Guard regiment. During the battle, 94 houses were completely destroyed, 125 damaged and made unibhabitable and another 200 slightly damaged; moreover, 62 factories were either completely destroyed or severely damaged. The battle caused the death of 106 Belgians, one English and 45 Germans. The monument was built on the place were soldier Joseph Verhaeghe, from the 12th Line Regiment, heroically died.

The Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne cyclist race was founded in 1946. The race was cancelled in 1986 and 1993 because of the bad weather. It was most often won by Belgians, including famous champions such as Jozef Planckaert (1955 and 1960), Roger De Vlaeminck (1970 and 1971), Walter Planckaert (1973 and 1979), Patrick Sercu (1977), Johan Museeuw (1994 and 1997) and Andrei Tchmil (1998 and 2000). The race was won two times by the Dutch Jan Raas (1980 and 1983) and the last four races were all won by non-Belgians (Jan Kirsipuu, Estonia, in 2002; Roy Sentjens, The Netherlands, in 2003; Steven De Jongh, The Netherlands, in 2004; and George Hincapie, USA, in 2005).

Ivan Sache, 15 January 2006

Flag of Kuurne

The flag of Kuurne is horizontally divided white-yellow with the lesser municipal coat of arms, "Gules a merlette argent three annulets or 2 and 1", in the cebter.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag and arms, adopted on 28 March 1980 by the Municipal Council, are prescribed by a Royal Decree issued on 6 August 1980 and published on 25 September 1980 in the Belgian official gazette.
The colours of the stripes of the flag recall the colours of the merlette and of the annulets.
The greater arms are surmounted by a complicated crest itself surmounted by a white merlette.

In 1959, the Municipal Council applied for the arms of the De Zeelandere family, lords of Kuurne from 1642 to 1715. Since there was no historical municipal seal showing these arms, the request was rejected by the Belgian College of Arms.
Following the Law of 1977 requiring the adoption of arms by all the Flemish municipalities, the Council decided to apply for the arms of the last lords of Kuurne, the family Le Paige de Bar. In 1774, they competed with Count of La Tour-Saint-Quentin and Jozef Ruijs for the possession of Kuurne. The dispute was solved in 1793 but the family Le Paige de Bar was expelled by the French revolutionaries the next year. The arms of Kuurne are based on the seals used by members of the Le Paige de Bar family in the 18th-19th century.
[Heraldry of the World]

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 15 January 2006