Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Willebroek - Image by Jarig Bakker, 5 October 2001
The municipality of Willebroek (23,300 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,741 ha) is located in the region of Klein Brabant, 15 km north-west of Mechelen. The municipality of Willebroek is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Willebroek, Blaasveld, Heindonk and Tisselt.
The Willebroek Canal (28 km), linking Brussels to the river Rupel (and
therefore to Antwerp via the Scheldt), was authorized by Mary of Burgundy in 1547. The building of the canal started in 1551 and was completed ten years later.
The canal replaced the Zenne, deemed too sandy, as the mean waterway between Brussels and Antwerp, to the great wrath of the inhabitants of Mechelen. Once the holders on a profitable toll on the Zenne, they attempted to postpone the building of the new canal, which had already been allowed by Philip the Good in 1436.
In Brussels, the Willebroek Canal was connected to the Brussels-Charleroi Canal in 1832. The canal was completely revamped in 1922 and 1955. Originally joining the Rupel near the village of Klein-Willebroek, the canal was extended 4 km to the north-west, up to the lock of Wintham.
Source: Cycling Belgium's Waterways website
"On the Willebroek Canal" is the second chapter of "An Inland Voyage" by R.L. Stevenson (1919), including:
"Next morning, when we set forth on the Willebroek Canal, the rain began heavy and chill, The water of the canal stood at about the drinking temperature of tea; and under this cold aspersion, the surface was covered with steam.[...]"
Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008
The municipal flag of Willebroek is horizontally divided
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag, already used in Willebroek before the municipal reform, was adopted by the Municipal Council on 3 February 1981, confirmed by Royal Decree on 3 April 1981 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 May 1981 and, again, on 4 January 1995.
The origin of the colours is not known.
Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008