Location of Merelbeke

Merelbeke looked at from the outside

Merelbeke is situated more or less in the centre of the Province of the East Flanders en is a part of the district Ghent - Eeklo.
The village is vast and long and is surrounded by the following parishes :

North - northeast :Ghent (Ledeberg - Gentbrugge)
Northeast : Melle (Gontrode)
East - southeast : Oosterzele (Landskouter - Moortsele - Scheldewindeke)
South - southwest : Gavere (Baaigem - Vurste)
West - northwest : the Scheldt (with on the other side De Pinte (Zevergem) en Ghent (Zwijnaarde))



The Hundelgemsesteenweg, a crowded provincial road between Ghent and Brakel, traverses Merelbeke from north to south. If you follow this road, you see Merelbeke changing from an urban to a rural area.
The most northern area ' Flora' leans against Ghent. The name 'Flora' refers to the numerous florists established there until after World War II. This area is densily populated and strongly urbanized. The 'Liedemeerspark', a nature reserve and a promenade park at the Scheldt, is the green lung of the 'Flora' area. Just across the border, in Gentbrugge, you find the train station of Merelbeke.

The Ring canal separates Flora from the centre of Merelbeke. The completion of a lock complex at the Ring canal in Merelbeke in 1962 put a stop to the floods that distressed Merelbeke for centuries. There are three bridges over the Ring canal : the big Ring canal bridge (Hundelgemsesteenweg), the smaller 'Heiwijk' bridge (Fraterstraat) and the 'R4' bridge. The city hall of Merelbeke was until recently located on the territory of Hukkelgem, some 300 metres past the Heiwijk bridge.

South of the Ring canal, the highway E40 Coast- Brussels passes through the territory of Merelbeke. There is an access and an exit in the direction of the coast as well as in the direction of Brussels. The R4 provides a quick connection with the E17 in the direction of Antwerp, and the cloverleaf on the E40 in Zwijnaarde with the E17 in the direction of Courtrai. The veterinary faculty of the university of Ghent is situated closely to the R4-bridge and the E40. Between the Flora area and the centre of Merelbeke you find the 'Kuiel', a trade centre along the Hundelgemsesteenweg. There you will also see the local youth centre.

The centre of Merelbeke accomodates quite a number of local authority services. In the heart of the centre of Merelbeke a new library is built, just across the new city hall. The police station, the sports centre, the swimming pool, the service 'public works' and the 'OCMW' are also situated in the centre.
That centre with its ribbon development looks rather urbanised. From 'The Kwenenbos' area on, Merelbeke becomes more rural. This area is like a spur of the centre. After World War II lots of florists from the Flora area settled in the Kwenenbos area. The container park and Groenendal are located in this area.
The parishes Bottelare, Schelderode, Melsen and Lemberge are still real old village hearts in a rural area. The picturesque Munte has the highest location, at 55m. In the rural area 'Makkegem', along the Bosstraat and the Makkegemstraat, there are a lot of woods, most of which are private property.


Municipal Arms

In gold a lion of sabre, clawed and tongued of throat and a scallop of throat. The shield is held by a sitting lion of sabre, with in the right claw a banner, and is divided into four. Part one and four are in lazure with three golden stars, part two and three are in lazure with a turned lion of gold tongued of throat; a left oblique bar over the whole banner, loaded with a golden comet and below a rock of the same; heart shield : in gold a turned lion of sabre, clawed and tongued of throat and a scallop of sabre (Statute book of 25-09-91).


Municipal flag

Yellow with a black lion, clawed and tongued of red, and a red scallop. (Statute book of 25-09-91)


Old names for Merelbeke and its parishes

Merelbeke: : the name 'Merelbeke' (1101) originates from a contraction of the Germanic 'marila' ('meer' in Dutch) and 'baki' ('bee'k in Dutch) and refers to a watery area.

Lemberge: the name 'Lintberga' (973) joins the Germanic 'lindo' ('linde' in Dutch) to 'berga' ('berg' in Dutch). 'Lembergen' from 1223 onwards refers to the composition of the soil ('lem' means loam).

Bottelare: the name 'Bottelar' (818) is explained as 'woody, swampy area'.

Melsen: the name 'Melcina' (818) should refer to a man Melchior, shortened to Mels or Melis, who gave his name to the village.

Munte: the name 'Monte' (990) goes back to the Roman 'Montem' (mountain).

Schelderode: the name seems to originate from 'Rodus' (866), what can be traced back to 'ropa' (uprooted woods) : the name refers to a cut down forest at the Scheldt.

(Source : 'Merelbeke, Geschiedenis en heemkunde'. 1988, Gemeentelijke Culturele Raad Merelbeke).

The inside
An Impression