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Jabbeke (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Jabbeke]

Municipal flag of Jabbeke - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 3 August 2007

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Presentation of Jabekke

The municipality of Jabbeke (13,615 inhabitants on 1 July 2006; 5,376 ha) is located 10 km west of Bruges, on the Bruges-Nieuwpoort canal, aka the Vaart. The municipality of Jabbeke is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Jabbeke (1,348 ha), Snellegem (1,108 ha), Stalhille (1,090 ha), Varsenare (1,021 ha) and Zerkegem (808 ha).

Jabbeke was mentioned for the first time in 961, as Jabekka / Jabeca, but nobody seems to know anything on the origin of the village's name. The lords of Jabbeke were involved in the murder of Count of Flanders Charles (Karel de Goede), killed in the St. Donat church of Bruges on 2 March 1127. In 1406-1407, the magistrates of the Brugse Vrije (a domain including several villages surrounding Bruges but not the town of Bruges) settled in Jabeke after the town of Bruges had imposed restrictions to the clothing industry. Accordingly, several noble families had their residence in Jabbeke, for instance the lords of Haveskerke, Caloen, Larebeke and du Bus de Gisignies.
The most famous inhabitant of Jabbeke was the painter and sculptor Constant Pemeke (1886-1952), whose workshop (the De Vier Winden house, where he settled in 1930) was transformed into the Constant Permeke Provincial Museum in 1959. Considered as a leader of the Flemish Expressionist school, Permeke is famous for his paintings of local landscapes. In 1997, his effigy was portrayed on the Belgian 1000 BEF banknote.

Snellegem developed in the Merovingian times around the Oosthof farm-castle. At the end of the XVIth century, Adolf of Meetkerke, lord of Oosthof, played an important part in the Iconoclast troubles; he served as the President of the States General under William of Orange. The village was nearly completely burned down by the French in 1683.

Stalhille, "a pasture on a hill", was already an independent parish in 1249. This rural village was known in the past for its stallion's breeders, especially the Simoens family, who brought the best stallions to the neighbouring villages for the insemination of the mares. Until the XXth century, there were also fishers in the village.

Varsenare celebrated its millenium in 2003. The lords of Varsenare were allied with the Straeten family, once the protectors of the abbey of Lessies, in Hainaut. They were also allied with the famous lords of Gistel, who spent the summer in Varsenare. The Brussels-Ostend line is one of the oldest railway lines in Belgium, but it took years to Varsenare to have its station: while the first train crossed the village on 28 August 1838, the station was inaugurated only on 23 October 1910, superseding a wagon used as the station since 1887.

Zerkegem, known as Sirigoheim in 765, must be the oldest parish of the municipality. Remains of a Celtic cemetary were found in the village in 1990. The later history of Zerkegem is closely related to the history of the neighbouring village of Snellegem.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 2 August 2007

Municipal flag of Jabbeke

The municipal flag of Jabbeke is made of nine rectangles in turn black and white, the central white rectangle being charged with three white swans with red beak and feet, placed 2 and 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 18 September 1989, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 17 April 1990 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 December 1990.
The colours of the flag are taken from the former arms of Snellegem (black and white), Stalhille (black and white), Varsenare (black and white), Zekergem (white) and Jabbeke (black and white). The central rectangle is a banner of the former arms of Jabbeke.

Servais shows the former arms of:
- Jabbeke: "Sable three swans argent", granted by Royal Decree on 11 April 1843, after arms of unknown origin and meaning, shown on a map from the XVIIth century;
- Snellegem: "Sable nine scallops argent 3 + 3 + 3", granted by Royal Decree on 11 April 1843, after the arms shown on a map from the XVIIth century. The oldest known arms of the village, "Argent six scallops gules", date back to the XVIth century;
- Stalhille: "Sable a swan argent on waves of the same";
- Varsenare: "Sable three swords argent per bend", granted by Royal Decree on 16 November 1842, after the arms of the lords of Varsenare, as shown on a roll of arms dated 1557, and mentioned again in the XVIIth century;
- Zerkegem: "Argent a tombstone azure two antlers gules", granted by Royal Decree on 7 December 1844, after the arms shown on a map from the XVIIth century. The tombstone (in Dutch, grafzerk) is canting.

The current arms of Jabbeke, as shown on the municipal website, are a mix of the former arms, "Quarterly, 1. Snellegem, 2. Stalhille, 3. Zerkegem, 4. Varsenare, an escutcheon Jabbeke overall".

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 2 August 2007