10 Jan 2020
Belgians love their beer. Ghentians love their freedom. Mix the two, and you get Gentse Strop: liquid gold with a fluffy head and a rebellious soul.
The beer first saw the light of day in 2011, produced by Brewery Roman – a staple name in East-Flanders. ‘Gentse Strop’ literally means ‘Ghentian Noose’, and its name has a history as rich as the beer.
Here in Flandria Hotel we love things that have a story to tell, that’s why we chose Gentse Strop Beer for our Betty Bijoux Bar. Keep reading and find out more!
The story behind Gentse Strop takes us all the way back to the 16th century, when Emperor Charles V was in charge.
At the time, Ghent was going through economically rough times. When Flanders was asked to pay supplementary war taxes in 1537, Ghent refused and the situation culminated in an armed rebellion.
Charles was not amused. In 1540, he headed to Ghent to deal with the rebellious city himself, accompanied by a whole host of dignitaries and an army of over 5000 soldiers. He issued an arrest warrant against the 25 main agitators: the ones that were caught would end up losing their heads.
On March 4, the entire city magistrate appeared before the emperor to offer their apologies. These included a few unfortunate references to the sacred city privileges and the poor governing skills they thought were responsible for what had happened.
Charles did not appreciate the magistrate’s “sorry, not sorry”…
On May 3, 1540, a procession of Ghentians had to walk from the town hall to the Princes’ Court. The procession was closed by 50 ‘creesers’ (screechers), wearing a noose around their neck as a sign that they deserved the gallows. They had to kneel and beg the emperor for mercy.
To this day, Ghentians carry the nickname of ‘stropdragers’ (noose bearers).
The noose, however, took on a new significance as a symbol of resistance to tyranny and misplaced authority. Gentenaars wear it as a badge of pride instead of humiliation.
The noose still makes an appearance during the Gentse Feesten (Ghent Festivities), a ten-day open-air festival that takes over the city each summer.
Now, if there’s one thing that makes a good beer even better, it’s a good story – and Gentse Strop definitely has one that sticks.
If you’re curious, come try one at the Betty Bijoux Bar in our Flandria Hotel.