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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Damme Town Hall
Municipal flag
Coat of arms
Coat of arms
Location of Damme in West Flanders
Location of Damme in West Flanders
Damme is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Sovereign state Belgium Belgium
Region  Flemish Region
Community Flanders Flemish Community
Province  West Flanders
Arrondissement Bruges
Coordinates 51°15′0″N 03°16′0″E / 51.25°N 3.266667°E / 51.25; 3.266667Coordinates: 51°15′0″N 03°16′0″E / 51.25°N 3.266667°E / 51.25; 3.266667
Area 89.52 km²
– Males
– Females
10,899 (2006-01-01)
122 inhab./km²
Age distribution
0–19 years
20–64 years
65+ years
Foreigners 1.47% (01/07/2005)
Unemployment rate 4.62% (1 January 2006)
Mean annual income €12,112/pers. (2003)
Mayor Dirk Bisschop (CD&V)
Governing parties CD&V
Postal codes 8340
Area codes 050

Damme is a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders, six kilometres northeast of Brugge (Bruges). The municipality comprises the city of Damme proper and the towns of Hoeke, Lapscheure, Moerkerke, Oostkerke, Sijsele, Vivenkapelle, and Sint-Rita. On 1 January 2006, the municipality had a population of 10,899. The total area is 89.52 km², giving a population density of 122 inhabitants per km².

Damme church

In the 13th century, Damme was the port for Bruges, to which it was linked by the river Reie. The river has now been canalised into the long, straight, treelined and picturesque Damse Vaart, which continues across the Dutch border to Sluis. The line of the town's star-shaped fortifications can still be traced by lines of tall poplar trees and in places by a moat. It was the site of the Battle of Damme, fought on 30 and 31 May 1213.

Today, it is a popular venue for eating out, and a destination for boat trips. Damme has more recently become known as a book town, with numerous bookshops and regular book fairs.

Well-known Damme inhabitants include Jacob van Maerlant, a medieval poet and the town clerk of Damme until his death in around 1300, and Karel Verleye, co-founder of the Bruges College of Europe, who died in Damme in 2002.


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

DAMME, a decayed city of Belgium, 5 m. N.E. of Bruges, once among the most important commercial ports of Europe. It is situated on the canal from Bruges to Sluys (Ecluse), but in the middle ages a navigable channel or river called the Zwyn gave ships access to it from the North Sea. The great naval battle of Sluys, in which Edward III. destroyed the French fleet and secured the command of the channel, was fought in the year 1340 at the mouth of the Zwyn. About 1395 this channel began to show signs of silting up, and during the next hundred years the process proved rapid. In 1490 a treaty was signed at Damme between the people of Bruges and the archduke Maximilian, and very soon after this event the channel became completely closed up, and the foreign merchant gilds or "nations" left the place for Antwerp. This signified the death of the port and was indirectly fatal to Bruges as well. The marriage of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York, sister of Edward IV., was celebrated at Damme on the 2nd of July 1468. It will give some idea of the importance of the town to mention that it had its own maritime law, known as Droit maritime de Damme. The new ship canal from Zeebrugge will not revive the ancient port, as it follows a different route, leaving Damme and Ecluse quite untouched. Damme, although long neglected, preserves some remains of its former prosperity, thanks to its remoteness from the area of international strife in the Low Countries. The tower of Notre Dame, dating from 1180, is a landmark across the dunes, and the church behind it, although a shell, merits inspection. Out of a portion of the ancient markets a hotel-deville of modest dimensions has been constructed, and in the hospital of St Jean are a few pictures. Camille Lemonnier has given in one of his Causeries a striking picture of this faded scene of former greatness, now a solitude in which the few residents seem spectres rather than living figures.

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