Last modified: 2008-06-21 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Nevele - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 6 January 2008
The municipality of Nevele (11,376 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,189 ha) is located 10 km west of Ghent. The municipality of Nevele is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Nevele, Hansbeke, Landegem, Merendree, Poesele and Vosselare.
Nevele was mentioned for the first time in 941, as Niviala, probably after a Celtic word meaning "a new settlement". The Country of Nevele was in the Middle Ages a powerful domain depending on the Lordship of Oudburg, part of the County of Flanders. The village of Nevele, the residence of the lord of Nevele, had the status of town (stad), with franchise. The fortified castle of Nevele, as well as the church and most houses of the small town, were burned during a war in 1381 and the lord moved to the castle of Ooidonk, located in Bachte-Maria-Leerne (a former municipality incorporated into Deinze in 1976). The town was plundered again by the Iconoclasts during the religious wars. The most famous lord of Nevele was Philip of Montmorency, Count of Horne, beheaded together with Count of Egmont in Brussels in 1568; the domain of Nevele was confiscated and the town never recovered from those events.
Nevele is the birth place of the poetesses and novelists Rosalie
(1834-1875) and Virginie (1836-1923) Loveling. The two sisters
co-authored several poems and novels describing in a realistic manner
the life of the Flemish farmers and their troubles with the town
bourgeoisie. After her sister's death, Virginie, often publishing as
"W.G.S. Walter", published the liberal, anti-clerical novel In onze
Vlaams gewesten (1877) and related the school quarrel in Sophie
(1885). Her best work, Het dure eed (1891) yielded her the
Quinquenial Prize of Dutch Literature. A fierce supporter of womens'
emancipation, she also authored childbooks and essays.
Virginie encouraged her nephew Cyriel Buysse (1859-1932), also born in Nevele, to become a writer, Once sermonized by his father who had found him sitting in a café with a young woman, young Cyriel emigrated to America. He eventually came back to Belgium and married a Dutch woman, spending his time half in Belgium and half in the Netherlands, contributing and then editing the monthly Groot Nederland. He stayed in the Netherlands during the First World War, contributing to De Vlaamsche Stem. After the war, he went back to Flanders where he attracted more attention than in the Netherlands. He was awarded the National Prize of Litarature in 1921 and elected at the Academy in 1930. King Albert I made him Baron in 1932, which was quite ironic knowing the content of his books. Buysse is indeed the best naturalist Flemish writer, who did not hide his preference for the lower classes in his novels Het recht van de sterkste, Van arme mensen etc. He was both influenced by the old Flemish realist writers such as Stijn Streuvels and the French naturalist school led by Émile Zola and Guy de Maupassant. Buysse was one of the first Flemings who owned an automobiel.
Nevele is the cradle of the Planckaert cyclists' family. Willy Planckaert (b. 1944) won in 1966 two stages and the green jersey of the best sprinter in Tour de France. His brother Walter (b. 1948) won the Tour of Flanders in 1976 and is now director of the Chocolat Jacques team. The younger brother, Eddy (b. 1958), won the Tour of Flanders in 1988 and Paris-Roubaix in 1990 as well as the green jersey for the best sprinter in the Tour de France 1988.
Hansbeke was mentioned for the first time in 1145, as Ansbeke. The
written form used in 1237, Hamsebeke, tells that the name of the
village means "the brook (beek) near Hamme", a hamlet located in the
north of the village.
Julius Arthur Nieuwland (1878-1936) left very early his birth village of Hansbeke with his family who emigrated to the USA. Ordained priest at Baltimore in 1903, Nieuwland taught organic chemistry at the University of Notre-Dame, Indiana. His main research topic was the use of acetylene and its derivatives for industrial applications. In 1906, he discovered the component parts of synthetic rubber. Further research led to the synthesis of the divinyl acetylene, an oil used by the company DuPont for the industrial production of rubber.
Landegem was mentioned for the first time in 941 (indeed a copy from a document of the late IXth century) as Landengehem, "Lando's estate".
Merendree was mentioned for the first time in 966, as Merendra, probably after a meander-forming brook. Archeologic remains show that Merendree is the oldest settlement in the region, from which a village developed between the Roman period and the Middle Ages. All over the XVIth century, the village was inhabited by Anabaptists.
Poesele was mentioned for the first time in 1121, as Poksala. Pok refers to the the brook Poeke while sal- was a house with a roof.
Vosselare was mentioned for the first time in 1087, as Furslare, according to the copy of a document made in the late XIIIth century. The name of the village most probably means "a desert land (laar) with thorny brooms (furs)". Ruled by a local family until the XIVth century, the village was then incorporated into the domain of Nevele.
Ivan Sache, 6 September 2007
The flag of Nevele is yellow with a red cross and a red lion in each
quarter, therefore virtually similar to the flag of
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.
The municipal website gives the blazon of the municipal arms as Schild van goud met een kruis van keel (rood) en met vier leeuwen van hetzelfde in de hoeken.
The arms are based on the municipal seal that was granted to the town of
Nevele in the XIVth century. The oldest known seal is appended to a document
dated 21 June 1316; it bears the writing zegel van de schepenen van de
stad Nevele in Vlaanderen (seal of the magistrates of the town of
Nevele in Flanders).
According to Servais, the arms of Nevele were granted by Royal Decree on 26 November 1926. The cross was awarded to Wouter of Nevele after he had joined the Count of Flanders in a Crusade in the XIIth century. The lions were probably added when the Ghistelle family became lord of Nevele in the XIVth century. The XVIIth century municipal seal shows the cross and the lions.
The Gelre Armorial has six entries for "Ghistelles", including "Gules a chevron ermine (Ghistelles) three cross moline shadowed" for Jean de Ghistelles, lord of Nevele (Die v. Nevel, #939, folio 80v), which does not confirm Servais' statement.
Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 6 September 2007