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Steenvoorde (Municipality, Nord, France)

Last modified: 2005-03-05 by
Keywords: nord | steenvoorde | crown (yellow) | lions: 2 (black) |
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[Flag of Steenvoorde]by Olivier Touzeau


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Presentation of Steenvoorde

The small city of Steenvoorde (4, 000 inhabitants; 2,982 ha) is located in Flanders, on the border with Belgium. The neighbouring villages are Godwaersvelde, Boeschepe, Winnezeele and Houtkerque, and Dutch (locally called flamand, Flemish) is still spoken there by a sizeable proportion of the inhabitants.
The name of the city means in Dutch "gravelled ford", which recalls the ford by which the Roman way from Cassel crossed the river Ey Becque (becque is the local name of a brook, beek in Dutch). There was there a priory depending on the Templars's commanderie of Eecke, now a village located 6 km south of Steenvoorde, and an hospital founded by the local lord in the beginning of the XVth century.

Steenvoorde was famous in the past for the production of woollen cloth. Today, one of the biggest dairies in France is located there, as well as a vaccine production plant owned by Institut Pasteur. The detection kit currently used to detect BSE (mad cow's disease) is produced in this plant.
Steenvorde has kept three windmills, the Steenmeulen, made of bricks, and the Drievenmeulen and the Noordmolen, made of wood, and some of the last fields grown with hops in France. There is a Hop Festival in October, and the brewery Saint-Sylvestre, located in the neighbouring village of Saint-Sylvestre-Cappel, produces the renown beers Bière des Templiers and Bière des Trois Monts. The three "mounts" are Mont Cassel (176 m, the highest point of French Flanders), Mont des Cats (Catsberg, 158 m) and Mont Noir (151 m). Steenvorde has also a traditional candy called babbelaer.
The traditional giant of Steenvoorde is Yan den Houtkapper (John the Woodcutter), who made everlasting shoes for Charlemagne. The Emperor awarded him a breast-plate Yan still wears during festivals.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 10 November 2004


Municipal flag of Steenvoorde

The municipal flag of Steenvoorde is hoisted on the city hall, along with the flags of France and Flanders. The flag of Steenvoorde is vertically divided white-blue-white with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.

[Coat of arms of Steenvoorde]by Olivier Touzeau

The municipal coat of arms of Steenvorde is:

Parti et ecartelé le second,
En 1 : Fasce d'or et d'azur de 8 pièces et de 3 annelets de gueule brochant sur les 2 premières fasces en chef.
En 2 : en 1 et 4 d'azur à l'orle et à la tierce engrelées d'or, en 2 et 3 fasce d'argent et d'azur de 10 pièces et d'un lion rampant de sable.
Timbre : une couronne de marquis
.

Brian Timms gives:

Per pale barry of eight or and azure overall on the two bars in chief three annulets gules and quarterly first and fourth three pallets couped and a bordure conjoined all engrailed second and third barry of ten argent and azure a lion rampant sable.

According to the municipal website, these arms belonged to Eustache-Pantaléon de la Viefville, Lord of Steenvoorde in 1614, husband of Lady Claudine de Mérode. The dexter part of the shield represents the family of La Viefville, whereas the sinister part of the shield represents the family of Mérode.
Brian Timms said that Leuridan, in 1909, ascribed to the municipality the arms of La Fiefville, marquis in 1711, which now form the dexter part of the shield. Beforehand, the arms of the domain were those of the second and third quarters of the sinister part of the shield, but with the lion gules and not sable. The orle and the pallets might have been the arms of a branch of the family of La Fiefville.

The representation of the arms on the flag is not completely accurate:

Therefore, it is probable that the flag was made after a black and white drawing of the coat of arms. All the flags seen in Steenvoorde are identical.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 10 November 2004

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