Jurbise

Member of the Belgium National Network

Jurbise, natural and bursting with life
Jurbise (Jurbeke in Dutch) is a French speaking municipality of Belgium, located in the Region of Wallonia in the Province of Hainaut. The territory covers 5,785 hectares and has a population of 10,500 inhabitants, which gives an average population density of 181 inhabitants /km². The municipality has six villages: Erbaut, Erbisoeul, Herchies, Jurbise, Masnuy-Saint-Jean and Masnuy-Saint-Pierre. Located a stone’s throw from the towns of Mons, Ath and Soignies and a 25-minute train ride from Brussels, Jurbise is a rural area that combines the charm of the countryside with the advantages of a city. Over 73% of the territory is taken up by farmland and livestock breeding. You can often find yourself walking in the municipality along fields that stretch as far as the eye can see. These vistas are part of what makes the municipality so attractive.

The area is also home to some remarkable trees and some protected wetlands. Specifically, the territory holds part of a Natura 2000 reserve, with a surface area of 1814 hectares (of which 33 are in Jurbise) and two sites of special biological interest, of which one, the Erbisoeul pond, is protected by a natural reserve status.

This density of natural sites does not prevent the municipality from hosting a range of useful services: doctor’s and vet’s surgeries, a clinic, a post office, banks, supermarkets, local producers, churches, schools, nurseries, libraries, sports facilities, funeral homes and restaurants, etc.

The municipality also enjoys good accessibility: it is served by two major roads, the National 524 and the National 56 that link the centre of Jurbise with the E19-E42 motorway between Paris and Brussels. Jurbise train station, the Erbisoeul stop and the Masnuy-Saint-Pierre stop also play an important role in the life of the district, as many residents use these transport links to travel to work.

Where past and present meet

As a ‘Pedestrian Municipality 2018’, Jurbise is crossed by many footpaths, where walkers can discover chapels, chateaux and beautifully maintained farms. Among these sites, the château of Moustier stands out. Today it houses the Council administrative services. We should also highlight the white château in Masnuy-Saint-Jean, a farm-castle of the 18th century occupied by a restaurant owner who is also a history buff.

While Jurbise’s architectural heritage is undeniably one of Jurbise’s biggest attractions, the area also boasts several unusual sites such as the Fontaine Locquet in Herchies, where water springs from a blue stone shaped by the stonemason Jean Bersoux. The most amazing site remains the Nail Oak in Herchies, dedicated to Saint Anthony and listed by the Region of Wallonia in 1985. Citizens visit the tree in the hope of curing their ailments.

Popular beliefs are at the heart of several folklore events that take place throughout the year in the district. In Erbaut, in a tradition that dates back to 1855, the Saint Bartholomew procession attracts hundreds of residents on horseback and tractors decorated with flowers, come to receive a blessing. In Herchies on Pentecost Monday, bicycles are decorated for the humorous parade in which two residents of Herchies play the Biritt’ and Hercinus, the village mascots.

Some villages are home to ancestral craft activities. This is particularly the case in Erbaut, where cress is grown thanks to the proximity of the River Dendre, a tradition that today is upheld by the Lievens family. La Maison Scouflaire is an alcohol distillery founded in 1921 in Herchies, which is also renowned for its breweries.

These products and activities are regularly promoted on the Council website, its Facebook page and in Jurbise Info, the local newsletter. A mobile application for citizens and visitors to the district could be released in a few months.

Living philo-slow-phically

Although the municipality is divided down the middle by a road, the six villages have managed to retain their spirit, their customs and their colours. This local flavour is celebrated by the various events committees, and is also proudly on display at the ‘Intervillage Games’ which create a friendly rivalry between inhabitants of the various villages of the district.

It should be mentioned that the residents of Jurbise feel happy in their municipality. Jurbise is a pleasant place to live, somewhere to spend simple, authentic moments. Several activities run by the ‘Entertainment’ department and by Social Services give citizens a chance to slow down and enjoy the present moment. For example, card games, book clubs, gardening, cooking, flower arranging and crochet encourage residents of Jurbise to awaken their senses and develop their creativity.

The district also boasts wellness centres, dozens of sports clubs, gardening clubs and bands such as the Jurbise Royal Fanfare Society and the Royal Harmony Saint Cécile of Herchies-Vacresse. The Royal Golf Club, established in 1933, attracts golfers to the land of the Princes of Croÿ, to putt among heather and broom.

Many business owners and self-employed people have chosen Jurbise to set up their companies. Many have chosen a ‘slowfood’ or natural approach. This is particularly true of the market gardeners ‘Ne vous plantez pas’ and ‘Légumes à la ferme’, who use reclaimed materials and biodynamic methods. These traditional businesses are listed in the municipality’s free booklet ‘Products Close to Home’ and are invited to sell their wares at the ‘Virées du Terroir’ monthly farmers’ markets, which focus on short distribution channels, organic food and traditional techniques.

Happy communities for all

Besides taking time for themselves, Jurbisiens also give time to others. Several charity associations are active in the area and are supported by residents. In 2018, the Municipal Youth Council donated part of the profits from its activities to Viva For Life.

As you will have understood, celebrations and sports events are plentiful in Jurbise. Walks are organised throughout the district, such as the ‘Green points’ hikes organised by ADEPS, or by the ‘Nature Network’ association. Every year, the Jurbise Beer Festival gives locals the opportunity to taste craft beers while listening to music.

Generally, many efforts are made to strengthen social bonds, improve integration and encourage intergenerational relations. Beyond the large-scale events, the ‘Seniors Platform’ and charities such as

‘Altéo’ organise friendly dinners and day trips. Young people are not forgotten about – the project ‘Solidarity Summer, I’m involved’ enables them to actively participate in the life of their district, while play schemes are organised during school holidays and every week the Saint-Eloi Patro youth group welcomes children aged 4 and up.

Besides these services, the municipality has three primary schools and two well-attended nurseries. These facilities play an undeniable role in young couples’ decisions to move to Jurbise. We also encourage carsharing via the CarPool.be platform, providing a weekly shuttle bus service to Mons market, or the ‘Taxi Senior’ service for senior citizens.

Another indicator of the calm atmosphere in the district is the rock bottom crime rate and the high number of citizens seeking to move to Jurbise each year. Jurbise sees itself as a welcoming place. These attractive qualities and its proximity to a NATO branch headquarters undoubtedly explain the presence of citizens from over 60 nationalities.

A municipality that serves its citizens

All residents of Jurbise are invited to be in contact with the Council from their first day in the municipality. Council offices are located right in the heart of Jurbise, in a leafy 8 hectare park. Several administrative and functional services are provided there, in order to guide citizens and make their daily lives more pleasant. These departments cooperate with Social Services and other supra-municipal bodies (such as the ‘Heart of Hainaut’ energy centre or the environmental management service ‘Hygea’).

In order for everyone to get the information they require, public buildings are PRM accessible. Several Council employees are multilingual. Some municipal information is also available in English, such as the information folder for new citizens of the municipality, handed out at the annual welcome ceremony.

In terms of opening hours, administrative services are available during the week from 8am to 4 :30pm, as well as on Mondays until 5pm and on Saturday mornings. The Council and Social Services are constantly available via email or on the Council’s Facebook page. Some requests can also be made to

the Environment department via the free mobile application ‘Betterstreet’.

As shown by the massive turnout at the recent local elections, Jurbisiens are committed to helping to improve their environment and their way of life. The members of the Council College aim to be worthy of those expectations. Some initiatives begin thanks to requests made by citizens. An example of that is the Life Box, which contains all the vital health information for vulnerable people. This citizen initiative supports those measures already taken by the Council College in the field of health, such as first aid courses and screening days.

Representatives of Cittaslow:
Jacqueline GALANT – Mayor 
jacqueline.galant@commune-jurbise.be ; +32(0)65/37.74.21

Stéphanie HOTTON - Councillor responsible for Cittaslow projects
stephanie.hotton@commune-jurbise.be ; +32(0)65/37.74.65

Url from the official website of the city
www.jurbise.be
 

Poem from Pierre Coran, Belgian poet and novelist, Honorary Citizen of Jurbise

For decades I have lived
In a six branched puzzle
Where fields, woods, prairies,
Put on their seasonal finery.
Here is a rag bag,
Of farms with swallows’ nests,
A burial mound and three stations,
A nail oak, a forest
And on the sidelines, past the bounds, A perfectly round pavilion,
Where a prince poet would hunt

Streets, parks, squares celebrate, Theatre and a fanfare on the balcony. In blazing sun or north wind
A long ago king became a golfer
And better to protect and serve
A police academy grew
Our town hall is a château
If this brief sketch
Inspires you to adventure
Ask the birds for the keys