Zonnebeke town hall
|• Mayor||Dirk Cardoen (INSPRAAK)|
|• Governing party/ies||INSPRAAK, CD&V|
|• Total||67.57 km2 (26.09 sq mi)|
|Population (1 January 2013)|
|• Density||180/km2 (470/sq mi)|
Zonnebeke is a municipality located in the Belgian province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the villages of Beselare, Gheluvelt, Passendale, Zandvoorde and Zonnebeke proper. On January 1, 2006, Zonnebeke had a total population of 11,758. The total area is 67.57 km² which gives a population density of 174 inhabitants per km².
The villages of Zonnebeke congregated around a large Augustinian abbey and its associated Benedictine convent in Nonnebosschen. Both were destroyed during the iconoclastic outbreak in 1580. Only the abbey was rebuilt, but was looted during the French occupation the abbey was confiscated. Passendale played a role in the Battle of Westrozebeke in 1382.
Situated in the centre of the Ypres Salient, World War I destroyed the whole area. Left abandoned until the early 1920s, people slowly returned and rebuilt the villages. In 1932, the locals opened a cheese making facility, which to this day is the only source of Passendale cheese.
Today, Zonnebeke has returned to its long-time balance between agriculture, small business and work in the neighbouring towns. Its major industry is the brickworks in the village of Zonnebeke itself, which extracts the local blue clay.
The municipality comprises the villages of Zonnebeke proper, Beselare, Gheluvelt, Passendale and Zandvoorde. All are "deelgemeentes", meaning they were independent municipalities before the merger in the 1970s.
The municipality of Zonnebeke borders the following towns and municipalities:
Memorial in the Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke
Zonnebeke (1918), painting by William Orpen, showing devastation after World War I
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zonnebeke.|
- Official website - Information available in Dutch and limited information available in English, French and German