Any‘Michel’ who proudly claims that the village is named after him is a liar and knows nothing about history. Because the place name ‘Michelbeke’ dates back to the times when Germanic peoples inhabited the woody area around the river Zwalmand the Boembeek brook, shortly after the Romans had left. In fact the name ‘Michelbeke’ is derived from two Germanic words: ‘miglo’ – urine-like mud – and ‘beca’ – brook. Still proud, Michel?
But don’t worry. Fortunately, no stinkingbrook flowing throughMichelbeke today. On the contrary. The inhabitants of Michelbeke are doing their utmost to decorate the whole village with fragrant flowers. Hence the lovely smell in the colourful streets.
St. Sebastian’s Church. In former times Saint Sebastian was invoked against the plague that would sweep away cattle. And still today, every year on the third Sunday of June, a horsemen parade is held in his honour. The church, somewhat hidden in a corner of the village centre, was built between 1792 and 1794 and has a classical style. The tower, however, is much older and dates back to the early 16th century. The art collection inside the church is quite impressive. One painting stands out: ‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’, featuring the weapons of PetrusBlondeel, Lord of Sint-Maria-Oudenhove en Michelbeke.
Boembeke Mill. The first picture of this monument of rural culture shows up on a map, commissioned by the monastery of Nieuwenbos in 1624. Unfortunately, the mill is in quite a ramshackle state at the moment. It became a listed building in 2005 and Natuurpunt, a non-profit organization, has the ambition to restore the mill in order to make it turn and grind again. Moreover, plans have been made for the millto generate green electricity and serve as a meeting place for people visiting the MiddenloopZwalm natural area. This project aims to give a strong impulse to both recreation and natural development.The chapel near the orchard along Langendries has been thoroughly restored.
Berendries. Cyclists label this slope as ‘diabolical’. So be prepared if you want to test things out on your bike. The Berendries is located along the road between Michelbeke andSint-Maria-Oudenhove. The climb is about 800 metres long and 66 metres high: a gradient of 8%. Raging, indeed.