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Kruishoutem (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-12-22 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Kruishoutem]

Municipal flag of Kruishoutem - Image by Filip van Laenen, 16 October 2001

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Presentation of Kruishoutem

The municipality of Kruishoutem (8,152 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,676 ha) is located between Deinze and Dendermonde. The municipality of Kruishoutem is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Kruishoutem (5,255 inh.; 2,347 ha), Nokere (795 inh.; 673 ha) and Wannegem-Lede (685 inh.; 579 ha).

Kruishoutem is located on the slope separating Lower Belgium (the Sand Region, Zandstreek, with elevations not higher than 15 m asl) and Middle Belgium (the Sandy Alluvium Region, Zandleemstreek). Accordingly, the site was very convenient for human settlement and has been continuously inhabited since the Age of Stone; the first chapel in Kruishoutem, dedicated to St. Peter, was built on the Kapellekouter (65 m asl) hill. In the Middle Ages, the settlement progressively moved downhill to the current downtown, around the St. Elooi church, deemed too small and completely rebuilt in 1855.
Kruishoutem was mentioned for the first time in 847, as Hultheim ("a settlement near a wood"); the exact site of this Merovingian settlement is not known, but it was probably built on the crossroads of regional ways, not far from the source of the Molenbeek and around the watershed separating the basins of the Schelde and the Leie. The prefix kruis was appended to the name of the village in 1174 when the parish church was granted a relic of the Holy Cross "brought back" by a Crusader.

In 1670, Louis XIV allowed a yearly market to be set up in Kruishoutem. In the XVIIIth century, there was a Wednesday's flax market and periodic horse and cattle markets. In 1841, the Tuesday's market was set up, specifically dedicated to farm products; progressively, the market turned to an egg market, which made of Kruishoutem the first egg market in Western Europe since the Second World War.
Thanks to flax industry, the demography of the town boomed in the XVIII-XIXth centuries. Since the beginning of the XXth century, the farmers have specialized into poultry breeding. Because of the competition of the big breeding farms of the region, for instance in Deinze, poultry breeding is today only the main element of the local folklore in Kruishoutem. During Easter, the Gulden Eifeesten (Golden Eggs' Festival) recalls the past wealth of the town: after the election of the Queen of Eggs (Eikoningin) and of the Egg Farmer (Eierboor), there is an egg throwing event from the church towers (following a food throwing tradition still very vivid in Flanders - see for instance Londerzeel and Bergues). According to a photography on the municipal website, the thrown eggs seem to have a small coloured parachute.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 12 August 2007

Municpal flag of Kruishoutem

The flag of Kruishoutem is horizontally divided red-yellow-red.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 21 October 1977, confirmed by Royal Decree on 31 July 1978 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 16 June 1979.
The flag is a banner of the former arms of Kruishoutem, granted in 1935, and still shown as an escutcheon on the modern arms of Kruishoutem. They were originally the arms of the Jauche family.

The municipal website gives the official description of the modern arms of Kruishoutem:
Gevierendeeld, één van goud met een leeuw van sabel, genageld en getongd van keel, twee van goud met een kruis van keel, gekantonneerd van zestien geknotte adelaars van lazuur, drie van hermelijn met een kruis van keel, beladen met vijf rozen van goud, vier van keel met tien ruiten van zilver, geplaatst 3,3,3,1 over alles van keel met een faas van goud, het schild gestopt met de kroon van negen parelen, waarvan vijf opgezet tussen de omgebogen punten van de uitschulpingen en vier geplaatst in elk der uitschulpingen en gehouden door twee wilden in vleeskleur, omgord met gebladerte en steunend op hun knots in natuurlijke kleur.
(Quarterly, 1. Or a lion sable armed and langued gules, 2. Or a cross gules cantonned of 16 alerions azure, 3. Ermine a cross gules charged with five roses or, 4. Gules ten rhombs argent placed 3 + 3 + 3 + 1, overall an escutcheon gules a fess or [...])

Servais says that these complex arms were granted to Kruishoutem by Royal Decree on 3 February 1950, so we must understand that they superseded the arms described in the aforementioned source. They are based on a municipal seal dated 1626. They were the arms of Philippe of Jauche, lord of Kruishoutem in the beginning of the XVIIth century. The first quarter shows the arms of Flanders (Josien of Flanders was Philippe's grandfather), the second the arms of Montmorency (Jeanne de Montmorency-Croisilles was his grandmother), the third the arms of Sainte Aldegon de Noircarme (Anna of Saint Aldegon de Noircarme was his mother) and the fourth the arms of Lalaing.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 12 August 2007