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Wilrijk (District, Municipality of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2011-11-11 by ivan sache
Keywords: antwerp | wilrijk | goat pageant | geitenstoet | goat (white) |
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Presentation of the district of Wilrijk

The district of Wilrijk (38,319 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,361 ha) was formed in 1983 when the former municipality of Wilrijk was merged into the municipality of Antwerp.

Wilrijk, although settled c. 600 BC, was mentioned for the first time in 1003, as "Uuilrika", a name probably derived from the Gallo-Roman toponym Villariacum. Until the midle of the 19th century, Wilrijk remained a rural village, producing milk, butter, vegetables and flowers sold to Antwerp. In 1859-1865, a series of forts was built around Antwerp by General Brialmont; forts 6 and 7, as well as the smaller forts 11 and 16 were built in Wilrijk. The building of the Antwerp-Rumst-Mechelen road (1901) and tramway line 5 (1912) allowed several villagers from Wilrijk to work in Antwerp. In the beginning of the 20th century, Wilrijk had 6,243 inhabitants, to be compared with 3,553 in 1875.

Wilrijk is nicknamed Geitedorp (The Goats' Village) and its inhabitants Geitekoppen (Goats' Heads). The house Les Peupliers (The Poplars), located close to the center of the town, is one of the few designed by Le Corbusier in Belgium. The Jain temple of Wilrijk, inaugurated in 2003, is the biggest out of India.

Source: District website

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

Competition for a district flag

Antwerpen O Radio (page no longer online) announced on 11 September 2008 that the district of Wilrijk has launched a competition for a flag. Proposals should be submitted before 31 October 2008.

Details on the competition are given on the district website (page no longer online).
The proposals can be submitted by individuals or teams. A jury will select the best proposals, to be exhibited on 15, 16, 22 and 23 November in the Arts Center Berkenveld. Together with the district administration, the jury will select the winning design before the end of November. The winner shall win a 600 € prize, and there shall be a prize for the second and third runners-up, too (300 € and 100 €, respectively).
According to the competition rules, still available on the district website, everybody can contest. The two mandatory colours are Pantone Yellow c and Pantone Process Blue c, while colour gradations and writings are prohibited.
The technic specifications, still available on the district website, include the construction sheet for the flag shape. As stated in the Decree prescribing district flags, the flag should be swallow-tailed. Dimensions are given as 390 mm x 260 mm, the indentation being 130 mm in length (1/3 of the flag length).

Ivan Sache, 23 September 2008

Everyone has had his or her chance to compete, and the jury's selection was on view for a few days in the Arts Center Berkenveld. I went there last week and saw a number of very good, original, whacky, or awful designs some of which showed a clear reference to Wilrijk, of which a goat's head (folklore) and the initial "W" (self-evident) are the most representative. I had the chance to talk to one of the jury members who presented and explained a number of designs; certain arguments will surely be cited in the final jury report.
The shortlisted designs, five of almost fifty shown, have been framed. The Wilrijk District Council is expected to select the winner in December.

Jan Mertens, 18 November 2008

Gazet van Antwerpen announced the winner, Astrid Vrolix, on 21 December 2008. Abstract and quite modern-looking (and not accepted unanimously by the district council), the design incorporates the obligatory colours blue and yellow, adding white to represent the future augmentation of Wilrijk arms (a silver hand, recalling Antwerp).
The council intends to officially present the flag to the public at a suitable occasion, perhaps on 11 July (Flemish feast day), implying its previous approbation by the Flemish Heraldic Council.

Jan Mertens, 4 January 2009

Gazet van Antwerpen announced on 18 September 2009 that the Flemish Heraldic Council had disagreed with the design: its artistic merit is acknowledged but as it cannot be properly blazoned it does not fulfil a major condition. The Council prefers an earlier design (not specified) incorporating a hoist of blue and yellow, and a yellow falcon.
The district will try to rephraze the flag's description so as to make it acceptable to the Council. It feels that our flags are outdated compared to foreign ones which has led to the adoption of a rather more daring design.

The modified arms, however, have been accepted, as the former municipal shield augmented with a silver hand symbolizing the present mother town, Antwerp.

Jan Mertens, 10 October 2009

Former municipality of Wilrijk

[Flag of Wilrijk]

Flag of the former municipality of Wilrijk - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

The former flag of Wilrijk, still hoisted on the town hall of Antwerp, is vertically divided blue-yellow. The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

According to Servais [svm55], the arms of Wilrijk are "Azure a St. Bavo or". St. Bavo (589-654) is the patron saint of the town, also the patron saint of Ghent and Haarlem, invoked against pertussis. On the arms, Bavo is represented as a knight with a falcon and sword, following the iconographical tradition.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

Wilrijk Goat Pageant (Geitenstoet)

[Flag of Goat Pageant]

Flag of Wilrijk Goat Pageant - Image by Ivan Sache, 2 November 2010

The Wilrijk Goat Pageant (photos, 2010), now held every five years, was organized for the first time in 1965. The many goats recall a political comment made in 1895 about local backwardness; Lange Wapper is a legendary prank-loving, lanky giant.

The Goat Pageant flag (photo) is vertically divided yellow-blue (I have seen photos of items with blue next to the staff), in the centre a cartoon rendition of a laughing Lange Wapper (bust only) and a goat's head, all white with black contour lines.
The Pageant flags are offered for sale by the organizing committee and are usedby inhabitants on festive occasions.

Several other flags appeared in the 2010 pageant:
- Stadstrommelaars Antwerpen (Antwerp Drummers), a drummers' corps founded in 1898 by Frans Van Cuyck, Municipal Councillor in charge of Fine Arts.
The flag (photo) is white with a red border and a red and white fringe, in the middle the greater arms of Antwerp (with the crown, garland and supporters), on top the writing "STADSTROMMELAARS / ANTWERPEN", at bottom the year "1898", all in red.
- Fanfare Sint-Genoveva (St. Genevieve Brassband, full name, Koninklijke Harmonie Sint-Genoveva), from Oplinter.
The flag (photo) is yellow with a red border, in the middle a black lyra, red writings, on top "FANFARE SINT-GENOVEVA" (arched), flanking the lyra, "1898 / 1974", on bottom, "OPLINTER".
- A white flag with a blue cross (photo).
- Red flags with a white shield charged with a red swan / Blue flags with a red shield charged with a white swan (photo).
- Green flags with a beet (photo).
- Snorrenclub Antwerpen (Antwerp Moustache Club), founded on 5 October 1978.
The flag is based on the flag of Antwerp, with a black moustache in the white stripe and the black writing "SNORRENCLUB" (top) / "ANTWERPEN" (bottom) in the red stripes (photo). A similar flag belongs to Snorravia Republic, the independent state proclaimed by the club in 1987, with writing "REPUBLIEK / SNORAVIA".

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 2 November 2010