Our giants

Giants are something typical for Flanders and the north of France. You can see giants everywhere in the world, but nowhere as much as here. What makes the Flemish giants so special is the fact that they can dance. Of course, Jean le Bûcheron from Steenvoorde, who weighs 90 kilos, will dance more fluidly than, for example, the heavy Jan Turpijn from Nieuwpoort (750 kilos), but nevertheless, almost all of them dance and that is what makes them so popular in other countries.

Father Breughel

With the success of the breughel uniform, which made the harmony quite famous in the area, the idea grew to make a giant that really fits with the group. And so, “Father Breughel” was born: an enthusiastic, dancing giant, a people’s person, a hedonist with a belly and a pint of foaming beer in his hand.

The giant was designed by Adhemar Vandroemme, who also made the head and the hands. The rest was built by some volunteers of the brass band. The giant made its first public performance together with the harmony and the dance group on the 24th of june of 1962 in a folkloristic parade in Hazebrouck (France). On 30 September of the same year, during “Breughel feasts”, the giant was officially in the municipal register of Nieuwkerke.

The giant was designed by Adhemar Vandroemme, who also made the head and the hands. The rest was built by some volunteers of the brass band. The giant made its first public performance together with the harmony and the dance group on the 24th of june of 1962 in a folkloristic parade in Hazebrouck (France). On 30 September of the same year, during “Breughel feasts”, the giant was officially in the municipal register of Nieuwkerke.

Father Breughel

Father Breughel is 4m high, weighs 80 kilos and is carried by two men

With the disappearance of the dance group in the seventies, the giants disappeared to the background as well. Because the giants weren’t as carried on the streets as often as before, the group of carriers disappeared as well and the giants were put on wheels. In 1993, both of our giants were fixed up and since then, they are again carried more often.

Up to this day, Father Breughel still is the most enthusiast giant of our two giants. He accompanies the harmony around four times a year on outings and he even went to Vallgorguina (Spain) in 2003.

Jacques de la Douve

Jacques de la Douve is a historical figure. In 1408, he was "Lord of Nieuwkerke". This title came from a far ancestor who donated a piece of land to the people were the church of Nieuwkerke was built on. The Lords of Nieuwkerke lived in a castle not far away from the position of the current church. Jacques de la Douve was next to lord of the head of the magistrate of the city Belle. After his death, French soldiers invaded Nieuwkerke, destroyed the castle and set the curch on fire. Thereupon, Isabelle de la Douve, his only daughter, donated all the rest of the castle to the parish to rebuild the church. The castle was never rebuilt.

Jacques de la Douve is the oldest of our two giants. He was designed and built by the artist Adhemar Vandroemme from Ypres and saw the light of the day in 1961. His first public performance was during a folkloric parade on the Sunday of the fair that same year.