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Herne (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)


Last modified: 2019-03-10 by ivan sache
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Presentation of Herne and its villages

The municipality of Herne (in French, Hérinnes; 6,483 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,463 ha; municipal website) is located in Pajottenland, 5 km north of Enghien and therefore on the linguistic border between Dutch and French and on the border of Brabant and Hainaut. The municipality of Herne was established in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of Herne (2,168 ha), Herfelingen (1,113 ha) and Sint-Pieters-Kapelle (1,181 ha), which was a French-speaking municipality in the Province of Hainaut until 1963.

Herne was mentioned for the first time in 1100 as Herines, but the name of the municipality is of prehistoric origin, from karinas, "a settlement on the glittering water", here the river Mark. The old name of the river has been kept for one of its tributaries, the Harebeek (Harenbecca, 1117).
Herne formed together with Tollembeek and Sint-Pieters-Kapelle the Country of Herne (Hernegewoud - potestas van Herne), while Kester, Oetingen and Herfelingen formed the Country of Kester (Kestergewoud - potestas van Castre). The two domains were transferred in the 7th century by Waldetrudis to the chapter she had found in Mons (where she is know under her French name of St. Waudru). In the first half of the 12th century, the Country of Herne was incorporated into the domain of Enghien, part of the County of Hainaut. Engelbert, lord of Enghien and husband of the daughter of Count of Hainaut Jacques d'Avesnes (d. 1191 during the Third Crusade) granted in 1211 a village charter to Herne. Another charter granted in 1338 confirmed the franchises of Herne. All the civil and religious buildings of the village were destroyed in 1580 by Protestants coming from Ninove. On 27 October 1798, some 300 brigands were defeated by the French troops during the Boerenkrijg.
Founded in 1314 by Walter II of Enghien and closed in 1783 by Emperor Josef II, the Cartusian monastery of Herne was the oldest of that kind in the Low Countries. The monastery was the mother house of the Cartusian monasteries of Kiel, Geraardsbergen, Gent-Rooigem, Diest-Zelem and Brussels-Scheut. The monastery of Herne had a significant influence on the cultural development of Brabant and Brussels; around 1360, parts of the Latin Bible was translated for the first time in Middle Dutch in Herne. This book was used for the translation of the Bible in Dutch, the famous Delft Bible (1477). A legend says that the heart of Margaret of York (1446-1503; aka Margaret of Burgundy, sister of Kings Edward IV of England and Richard III of England, third wife of Duke of Burgundy Charles the Bold) was buried in Herne.

Herfelingen was mentioned for the first time in 1194 as Harflenges, a Frankish name (5-6th century) meaning "at Harifolc's family". Together with Oetingen and Kester, Herfelingen formed the Country of Kester, part of the domain of Enghien and therefore of the County of Hainaut.

Sint-Pieters-Kapelle was mentioned for the first time in 1148, when the parish of Herne and its dependencies were transferred to the abbey of Cambrai. Together with Tollembeek and Herne, Sint-Pieters-Kapelle formed the Country of Herne, part of the domain of Enghien and therefore of the County of Hainaut.

Ivan Sache, 18 July 2007

Flag of Herne

The flag of Herne is vertically divided, with the left part gyronny of ten white and black pieces, the black pieces being charged with three crosses crosslets yellow, and the right part red with a sitting man, surrounded by a moon and a seven-pointed star in canton, all yellow.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag, adopted on 21 June 1988 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Decree issued on 13 December 1988 by the Executive of Flanders.

The left part of the flag is a banner of the today's municipal arms of Herne excluding the central escutcheon (that is the former arms of Sint-Pieters-Kapelle, unsurprisingly similar to the gyronny arms of the lords of Enghien), whose banner of arms (that is the former seal of Herne) forms the right part of the flag.
To say it the other way round, the modern arms of Herne are made of the former arms of Sint-Pieters-Kapelle, similar to the arms of the lords of Enghien, with an escutcheon based on the old municipal seal of Herne.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 July 2007