Town Hall and St Nicholas Church
|o Mayor||Lies Laridon (CD&V)|
|o Governing party/ies||CD&V, sp.a-Open|
|o Total||149.40 km2 (57.68 sq mi)|
|o Density||110/km2 (290/sq mi)|
Diksmuide (Dutch pronunciation: [?d?ks'moey?d?]; French: Dixmude, West Flemish: Diksmude) is a Belgian city and municipality in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Diksmuide proper and the former communes of Beerst, Esen, Kaaskerke, Keiem, Lampernisse, Leke, Nieuwkapelle, Oostkerke, Oudekapelle, Pervijze, Sint-Jacobs-Kapelle, Stuivekenskerke, Vladslo and Woumen.
Most of the area west of the city is a polder riddled with drainage trenches. The major economic activity of the region is dairy farming, producing the famous butter of Diksmuide.
The 9th-century Frankish settlement of Dicasmutha was situated at the mouth of a stream near the River Yser (Dutch: IJzer). The name is a compound of the Dutch words dijk (dike) and muide (river mouth). By the 10th century, a chapel and marketplace were already established. The city's charter was granted two centuries later and defensive walls built in 1270. The economy was already then based mainly on agriculture, with dairy products and linen driving the economy.
From the 15th century to the French Revolution, Diksmuide was affected by the wars between the Netherlands, France, Spain, and Austria, with a corresponding decline in activity; it was captured by Allied forces in the Capitulation of Diksmuide in 1695. The 19th century was more peaceful and prosperous.
At the outset of World War I, German troops crossed the Belgian border near Arlon, then proceeded hurriedly towards the North Sea to secure the French ports of Calais and Dunkirk. The Battle of the Yser started in October 1914. Thanks to the water the Belgians were able to stop the Germans; at the end of October, they opened the floodgates holding back the River Yser and flooded the area. As a result, the river became a front line throughout the First World War. The city was first attacked on 16 October 1914 and defended by Belgian and French troops, which marked the beginning of the battle. Colonel Alphonse Jacques led the troops that prevented Diksmuide from being taken by the German Army. Despite the heavy Belgian losses, the press, politicians, literary figures and the military itself created propaganda which formed public opinion into making the action appear strategic and heroic.
By the time the fighting ended, the town had been reduced to rubble. It was, however, completely rebuilt in the 1920s.