Eeklo (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈeːkloː] ) is a Belgian municipality in the Flemish province of East Flanders. The municipality comprises only the city of Eeklo proper. The name Eeklo comes from the contraction of "eke" and "lo", two Old German words meaning oak and sparse woods (compare English Oakley).

Eeklo city hall, church, and market square
Eeklo city hall, church, and market square
Flag of Eeklo
Coat of arms of Eeklo
Location of Eeklo
Eeklo is located in Belgium
Location in Belgium
Location of Eeklo in East Flanders
Coordinates: 51°11′N 03°33′E / 51.183°N 3.550°E / 51.183; 3.550
Country Belgium
CommunityFlemish Community
RegionFlemish Region
ProvinceEast Flanders
 • MayorLuc Vandevelde (SMS Eeklo)
 • Governing party/iesSMS EEklo, Open VLD, Groen
 • Total30.45 km2 (11.76 sq mi)
 • Total20,890
 • Density690/km2 (1,800/sq mi)
Postal codes
NIS code
Area codes09



Origins and Middle Ages


There are not many traces of early habitation in the Eeklo area. It is presumed that some oaks would have attracted the attention of travellers on the Roman road that ran along the local sandbar among the marshes. By 1240, a town had grown here and had already become important enough to warrant a civic charter by Jeanne of Constantinople, Countess of Flanders. Over the years, the marshes were drained to give place to fortified farms, some remnants of which can still be seen today (Groot Goed). Like most other cities in the County of Flanders, Eeklo's economy was based on the cloth industry, and commercial relations were established with the more powerful neighbouring cities, Ghent and Bruges.

16th century until now

Eeklo on the Ferraris map (around 1775)

During the second half of the 16th century, Eeklo was in the unfortunate position of being on the border between the Catholic south and the Protestant north, which resulted in so much destruction that the town was nearly abandoned by its inhabitants. At around that time the legend of "recooking" appeared, actually a rejuvenation recipe that involved drinking a youth elixir, cutting one's head off and baking it again. While the head was in the oven, a green cabbage took its place on the body, symbol of the empty head.

The 18th and 19th century were more favourable and the textile industry took off again. Most of the town's schools and neo-gothic buildings date from that period. Today, Eeklo is changing its vocation from an industrial town to one of services to the neighbouring communities.

Main sights

  • The town hall and belfry have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999.[2]
  • Eeklo has a few notable churches and chapels, such as the St Vincent Church (Sint-Vincentiuskerk) and the chapel of the clinic of the Holy Heart (Heilig Hartkliniek).
  • A nearby provincial park, “Het Leen”, includes an arboretum and museum.
  • A local park, the Heldenpark, offers concerts in summer, and houses a playground for children, bowling areas for seniors, and a soccer and baseball field.

Famous inhabitants


Twin cities



  1. ^ "Wettelijke Bevolking per gemeente op 1 januari 2018". Statbel. Retrieved 9 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Belfries of Belgium and France". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization. Retrieved 5 November 2021.