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Houthulst (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: houthulst | bird (black) | raven | crozier (blue) | keys: 2 (red) | corbie |
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[Flag of Houthulst]by Jarig Bakker

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Municipal flag of Houthulst

Houthulst (9,000 inhabitants) is located in the arrondissement of Diksmuide.

The flag of Houthulst is horizontally divided green-white-blue with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The colors of the flag were derived from the former arms of Houthulst (white and green) and Klerken (white and blue).
The flag was adopted on 11 March 1981.

Source: Municipal website

Jarig Bakker, 2 October 2004

Coat of arms of Houthulst

[Coat of arms of Houthulst]by Jarig Bakker

The coat of arms of Houthulst is:

Or a crozier azure supported by a raven argent with two turned keys gules.

The arms recall the origin of Houthulst. The arms of Houthulst (lit., woody holly) originally belonged to the abbey of Corbie. The raven (Latin: corvus, French: corbeau) cants for the name of Corbie. The keys symbolize St. Peter, first Pope and patron saint of the abbey. The crozier with its curl turned left refers to the exemption from the power of the local Bishop granted to the abbey. The exemption was first granted in 855 by Pope Benedict III. The arms were modified many times.

Source: Municipal website

Jarig Bakker, 2 October 2004

Corbie is today a small city (6,000 inhabitants) located in the department of Somme (Picardie, France).
In 657, St. Bathilde (d. 680), wife of King Clovis II (635-657; King of Neustria and Burgundy, 639-657), founded the monastery of Corbie. In the Carolingian times, the monastery was ruled by St. Adalard, a cousin of Charlemagne. It was one of the main centers of the Christian civilisation at that time. More than 300 monks chanted night and day the Lord's perpetual praise. St. Paschase Radbert wrote in Corbie the first theological treatise on the Eucharist. Monks from Corbie founded a daughter monastery in Corbey (Westphalia). Under the rule of St. Anschaire (Oscar, born in Corbie in 801), the abbey of Corbey was the main center of evangelisation of Northern Europe. The abbeys of Corbie bore the title of Count and minted their own coins.
In the XIth century, St. Gerard, a monk of Corbie, retired in the south-west of France, where he founded the monastery of Sauve Majeure. St. Colette (1381-1447), the daughter of a carpentar from Corbie, lead a cloistered life and had several visions. She abandoned reclusion and reformed the Poor Clares' order.
The closter and the convent buildings of the abbey were destroyed during the Revolution. The big entrance gate and the St. Peter's abbey church were preserved. Some ruined parts of the church (choir and transept) were suppressed in 1815.

In spring 1918, the Germans attacked the allied lines in Picardie. The hills of Villers-Bretonneux, located near Corbie, were strongly disputed between the Germans and the Australians. A war memorial and cemetary recalls the 10,000 Australians who died near Corbie. The German attack started on 21 March. On 26 March, Foch was appointed commander-in-chief of the allied troops in Doullens and stopped the German assault.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2004

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