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Loos (Municipality, Nord, France)

Last modified: 2010-12-04 by ivan sache
Keywords: nord | loos | crescents: 3 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Loos]

Flag of Loos - Image by Ivan Sache, 7 March 2010

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Presentation of Loos

The municipality of Loos (21,410 inhabitants in 2006; 695 ha) is located a few kilometers south-west of Lille.

Loos was named after the Latin word locus, lucus, "a height surrounded by marshes". In 1147, St. Bernard, upon request of the Count of Flanders Thierry of Alsace, founded an abbey in the clearing of Loos; the fame of this pilgrimage place quickly increased, so that the parish of Loos was made a municipality in 1214.
In the 17th century, a long trial opposed the Chapter of Seclin and the lord of Frennes for the rule over Loos; the dispute was eventually settled in 1689, the lord of Frennes being recognized the sole lord of Loos.
The belfry of Loos, registered on 15 July 2005 on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, was built in 1883-1884 by the architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier.

An Imperial Decree signed on 8 March 1812 transformed the abbey into a beggars' asylum; on 6 August 1817, a Royal Decree created in the former abbey a jailhouse for the prisoners previously sent to Belgium. The jailhouse was completely rebuilt in 1906. On 1 September 1944 - that is 48 hours before the liberation of Lille -, 871 prisoners, most of them arrested for anti-German resistance acts, were transported from the Loos jailhouse to the railway station of Tourcoing and further sent to Germany. 561 of the 871 embarked on the "Loos train" never came back. The Loos jailhouse (Maison d'arrêt de Lille-Loos), revamped in 2009, is still in use.

In 1829, the chemist and industrial Frédéric Kuhlmann (1803-1881) built in Loos a chemical plant to produce sulphuric acid; this was the first step in the growth of the Établissements Kuhlmann, later incorporated into the Péchiney-Ugine-Kuhlmann group. The cloth factories Thiriez (later, TCB, merged with DMC to form TCB- DMC, suppressed in 1993) and Delebart-Mallet were set up in Loos at the same time.
Famous for its gin and its fiercy competition with the Claeyssens distillery, located at Wambrechies, the Loos distillery was closed in 2000 by the Belgian group Grandes Distilleries de Charleroi, owner of the two distilleries. The whole equipement and manpower was relocated to the Wambrechies factory.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 7 March 2010

Flag of Loos

The municipal flag of Loos, hoisted on the belfry (photo), is red with three yellow crescents.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms, De gueules à trois croissants d'or ("Gules three crescents or").

According to the municipal website, the arms of Loos date back to the Middle Ages, recalling that Thierry and William of Loos went on the Crusade with Count of Flanders Baldwin IX. The lords of Loos might have adopted arms recalling a standard captured from the Ottomans.

Ivan Sache, 7 March 2010