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Ichtegem (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2005-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: ichtegem | discs: 3 (white) | chevron (white) | ermines: 7 (black) |
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[Flag of Ichtegem]

Municipal flag of Ichtegem - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 July 2005

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Presentation of Ichtegem

The municipality of Ichtegem (13,344 inhabitants on 31 December 2004; 4,534 ha) is located 15 km north-east of Diksmuide, 20 km south-east of Ostende and 15 km south-west of Bruges. It is made since 1977 of the former municipalities of Bekegem (1,071 inh.; 466 ha), Eernegem (6,567 inh.; 1,836 ha) and Ichtegem (5,706 inh.; 2,232 ha).

Ichtegem is located in a hilly region called Vlaamse Ardennen (the Flemish Ardennes) and has very strong list with the national Flemish sport, cyclism.
The cyclist race Omloop Vlaamse Ardennen (Circuit of the Flemish Ardennes) was ran every year in Ichtegem from 1945 to 2001, except in 1970, when it was cancelled because of the snow. It was originally a Belgian affair, with famous winners as Eric de Vlaeminck (1969), Patrick Sercu (1974, 1975) and Johan Museeuw (1995).
In 2006, Ichtegem was confered the title of Dorp van de Ronde 2006 (Village of the Tour 2006) for the 90th Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders). The Tour starts from Bruges and arrives in Ninove after having crossed the most beautiful Flemish villages. Since 2000, the organizers of the race select every year a "Village of the Tour". Ichtegem title was confered under the patronage of the legendary "Flandrian" Jules van Hevel, from Ichtegem, winner of the Tour in 1920 and five times in the top five. Ichtegem is also the village of Karel van Wijnendaele, the founder of the Tour of Flanders and of Richard Depoorter, who died in the village of Wassen during the Tour of Switzerland in 1948. Ichtegem has a cyclist brass band called De Zwaluw (The Swallow).

Source: Tom Cobbaert's website

The oldest mention of Bekegem dates back to 1107, when Bishop of Tournai Baldericus ceded the church of "Bichengem" to the St. Amand's abbey in Elnone. In 1227, the church was transfered to the St. Bertinus' abbey in Saint-Omer. The biggest farm (14 ha) in Bekegem was built in 1713 by Jacob Gheestecooren. In 1814, Bekegem had 347 inhabitants and 62 houses. In 1827, King of the Netherlands planned to merge the municipalities of Bekegem and Roksem. This never happened because of the 1830 Revolution. In 1846, Bekegem had 597 inhabitants and four cafés. The industrial revolution started in Bekegem in 1869, when miller Callemeyn powered the Watervalle mill with a stem engine. In 1886, Bekegem had 866 inhabitants and 18 cafés (ratio 1:48!). On 21 April 1895, Mayor August Monteyne proclaimed new municipal laws, for example forbidding to make a fire in a distance less than 100 meters of a building. In 1902, Bekegem had 1,022 inhabitants. The number of pubs was not recorded. Unfortunately, a blaze destroyed the Het Vaderland café on 9 August 1903, killing two.

Source: Bekkegem website

Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005

Municipal flag of Ichtegem

The municipal flag of Ichtegem is blue with three white disks placed 2 + 1 and a red shield with a chevron ermine between the disks.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 13 September 1984, confirmed by Royal Decree on 1 July 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986. It is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Servais, the arms of Ichtegem before the municipal fusion were:

Azure three bezants a letter I or in canton.

They were granted on 10 November 1819 and confirmed on 31 August 1838. Eernegem used similar arms but with the letter E, with the same adoption dates as Ichtegem. Koekelare used similar arms but with the letter K. They were confered in 1818 and confirmed on 11 May 1840. All these arms are based on the arms of the lords of Koekelare (with three bezants), already listed in the Gelre Armorial (XIVth century). The letters are used to differentiate the three former villages of the domain of Koekkelare.
On the flag of Ichtegem, the bezants (yellow discs) of the original arms have been changed to white discs. The discs are indeed white, as confirmed by the arms shown on the municipal website and a picture of the flag flying over the city hall, also from the municipal website.
The shield in the middle of the flag is nearly identical to the municipal arms of Gistel, a city located 10 km north-east of Ichtegem.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005