Picture Gallery of Louise-Marie

Cities and Towns of South-East-Flanders



LOUISE-MARIE is a hamlet now partly belonging to the town of Maarkedal and partly to the City of Ronse (Renaix), Belgium. (1).

Louise-Marie has a young but remarkable history. This hamlet came into existence at the end of the 18th century and during the Holland period (1815-1830), when large parts of the north and east hills of the Muziekberg (Music Mountain) were developed. Since this newly developed area was located in far-off corners of the villages Etikhove, Nukerke, Schorisse, Ellezelles and the city of Ronse (Renaix), surrounded by woods such as Muziekbos, Nukerkebos and St.-Pietersbos, the growing population increasingly felt the need for its own church. During the Holland period, the construction of a church in a remote corner of Etikhove was considered. Parrellel with the establishment of this church, the hamlet would have been officially installed as a village, and called Willemsrode, after the Dutch king William I.

Due to the independence of Belgium in 1830, the plans for a new village were postponed. In 1847, however, the Belgian Ministry of Public Works, then led by Hubert Joseph Walther FRERE-ORBAN (1812-1896), adopted an economic recovery policy for Flanders, based on establishing new local communities. As a result, some important local landowners decided to revive the project of Louise-Marie.

On August 6, 1850, the Public Gazette of Belgium published a decree releasing financial support and agreeing with the construction plans for a church, a school and a presbytery for a new parish, officially called Sainte-Marie. On October 11, 1850, the foundation stone was laid by dean Liedts of Ronse, in the presence of curate Fonck, Mr. de Fiennes (important landowner in Etikhove) and public notary Platteau from Schorisse. Shortly afterwards, it was learned that, on the very day of foundation stone laying, Queen Louise-Marie of Belgium (the first queen of Belgium, also called Louise-Marie d'Orleans), had died. Out of respect, the name of the new parish was changed from Sainte-Marie to Louise-Marie. Moreover, Queen Louise-Marie had forwarded a generous donation to father Modest Stefaan Glorieux, parish priest in Ronse, to improve the fate of the poor in the region.

On February 6, 1851, a Royal Decree fixed the boundaries of Louise-Marie. According to this decree, the hamlet was located in five different villages or towns : Ronse (Renaix), Etikhove, Schorisse, Nukerke and Ellezelles.

On October 23, 1852, the founding church committee of Louise-Marie received a letter from the bishop of Gent, Ludovicus-Josephus Delbecque, confirming the boundaries as fixed by the above Royal Decree as far as the villages belonging to the diocese of Gent were concerned. The parish would become part of the deanery of Ronse (Renaix).

On January 10, 1853, a letter from the bishop of Tournai, Gaspar Joseph, arrived, announcing that the Flemish hamlets of Cocambre (Koekamer) and Lahaute (Tenhoute), located in the villages of Ellezelles, would be attached to the parish of Louise-Marie. Concerning the parish organization, no decision was made by the diocese of Tournai.

On March 1, 1853, a letter from the diocese of Gent stated that the part of the parish of Marie-Louise eastwards of the road Oudenaarde-Ath (Koekamerstraat) returned temporarily under the jurisdiction of the parish priest of Schorisse. Still, the worshippers from Berg ten Houte, Koekamer, and even from den Annoven intensively participated to the parish life of Louise-Marie.

In 1952, some more changes for made to the boundaries of Louise-Marie, due to the establishment of the Saint Peter Parish in Ronse. As a result of the 1963 regulation concerning the language boundaries in Belgium, the hamlets of Koekamer and Tenhoute were added to the city of Ronse. Consequently, the authority over Louise-Marie was now shared by only two towns.

In 1902, the cloister of the Saint Leonard Institute (Sint-Leonardusinstituut) was built in a neo-Gothic style. A large part of this cloister has now been rebuilt into a home for the elderly. The convent order of the Nuns of Mercy (Zusters van Barmhartigheid) is still active in this home.

Louise-Marie used to have a girls school (located on the nowadays parking of the home for the elderly), a boys school (now partly the parish meeting centre), an office of the gendarmery (in the Rijkswachtdreef nearto the Muziekbos), a train station (closed around 1984), a post office, a water spring (the Nitterveldbronnen), two textile companies, bakeries, butchers,... The only two things that Louise-Marie never had is a town-hall and a mayor. The home for the elderly is the only place left that offers some significant employment opportunities for the people of Louise-Marie.

Acknowledgement to: Louise-Marie 150 jaar

In September 2003, a book was published on the history of Louise-Marie, to commemmorate the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of its church. Authors are Antoine Lefever, Rudi Van Paemel and Marc Vuylsteke.

Sources and pictures:

Regionaal Landschap Vlaamse Ardennen

Louise-Marie 150 jaar

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