Last modified: 2004-07-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: nord | coudekerque-branche | nieuw-koudekerke | nieu-coudekercque | porcupine | hedgehog | crown (yellow) |
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by Olivier Touzeau
The municipality of Coudekerque-Branche (Dutch, Nieuw-Koudekerke; local
Flemish written form, Nieu-Coudekercke; 25,000 inhabitants, 902 ha) is
located a few kilometers south of Dunkirk.
The village of Coudekerque exists at least since 1067 (as Koudkerque - the cold church). Following the battle of the Dunes (1658), the territory of Coudekerque was divided into two parts, the northern part being allocated to England and incorporated to the magistrate of Dunkirk while the southern part was allocated to Spain and incorporated to the châtellenie of Bergues. The center of the village, in the southern part, remained known as Coudekerque, or Coudekerque-Village, whereas the northern branchy was called Branche-de-Coudekerque.
The foundation of the municipality of Coudekerque-Branche was officialized by a royal decree on 14 December 1789 (the very same decree that calls the gathering the States General). In 1790, the population of the municipality was 1,200. Coudekerque-Branche was divided into four sections limited by canals:
The industrialization of Coudekerque-Branche started in the XIXth century in the western part of the municipality, because of the canals and the railway (1848) which made the city very close to the port of Dunkirk. The Dickson mill was opened in 1837, followed by the Mahieu sugar house, the Lavergne oil factory, the Clère && Boilet refinery, the Pieters brickyard, breweries, and the Weill mill. Between the two World Wars, the city enlarged to the east, with the warehouses of the Coopérateurs de la Flandre et de l'Artois (1922). New boroughs were built by the real estate company Le Foyer Flamand, which was a subsidiary of the Weill mill.
Like any reputable city in Flanders, Coudekerque-Branche has a giant, called Joséphine Peule, or la Peule, representing a mill worker. On 16 June 1996, la Peule was married to Celten the Roadie, the giant of the Belgian city of Poelkapelle.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 2 April 2004
The flag of Coudekerque-Branche shows the attribute of the municipal coat of arms, a crowned white hedgehog, on a red field.
The municipal coat of arms shows the crowned hedgehog on a black field, being thus blazoned as:
De sable au porc-épic d'argent couronné d'or. - Sable a porcupine argent crowned or.
The blazon says porcupine, but the animal is indeed a hedgehog, as proved by the name of local sport teams and associations. The municipal arms were adopted in 1937 and reused the medieval arms of the lords of Coudekerque or Coudecapeele.
Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 2 April 2004