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Wuustwezel (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: wuustwezel | loenhout |
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[Flag of Wuustwezel]

Municipal flag of Wuustwezel - Image by Jarig Bakker, 5 October 2001

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Presentation of Wuustwezel

The municipality of Wuustwezel (18,605 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 8,943 ha) is located in Kempen, north-east of Antwerp and on the border with the Netherlands. The municipality of Wuustwezel is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Wuustwezel and Loenhout.

Wuustwezel got its name from Germanic words woest ("a desert"), wisu ("a piece of land") and lauha (a small wood on a sandy height), therefore meaning "a high place in a desert".
Originally, the territory of Wuustwezel was made of small settlements and farms built on the banks of the rivers Kleine Aa and Weerijs (from Germanic weri, "a marsh"). In the Middle Ages, the village was part of the domains of Wuustwezel and Westdoorn, Westdoorn being traditionally considered as older than Wuustwezel. Once a peat producing village, Wuustwezel has evolved over the 150 last years to a rich agricultural village. The opening of the Breda road by Napoléon in 1811 significantly contributed to the development of the village.
Wuustwezel was transferred in the XIIIth century to the Van Wilre family by the Duke of Brabant. Later lords of Wuustwezel belonged to the Van der Rijt (1624) and de Vinck (1645) families. The castle of Wuustwezel is still owned by descendants of the de Vinck family.

Loenhout, mentioned in different documents from the XIIIth century, is one of the oldest villages in Northern Kempen. Most of the moors, marshed and trees of the village were suppressed during the land consolidation programm set up in 1966-1972. The hamlet of Braken became wealthy after the set up of the customs post with the Netherlands, which was transferred to Meer in 1982.

Source: History of Wuustwezel

Ivan Sache, 3 January 2008

Municipal flag of Wuustwezel

The municipal flag of Wuustwezel is quartered per saltire blue-yellow-red-white.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 30 September 1980, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 2 September 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986, and, again, on 17 October 1986.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

[Former flag of Wuustwezel]         [Former flag of Loenhout]

Former flags of Wuustwezel (left) and Loenhout (right) - Images by Ivan Sache, 3 January 2008

According to the municipal website, the flag of Wuustwezel also recalls the former flags of Wuustwezel, vertically divided blue-yellow, and of Loenhout, vertically divided red-white.

The modern arms of Wuustwezel, "Per pale, azure three finches or, or a fess chequered three rows argent and gules", are a combination of the former arms of Wuustwezel and Loenhout.
The dexter part, "Azure three finches or", represents Wuustwezel, and recalls the canting arms of the de Vinck family (vink means "a finch" in Dutch). These arms were granted to Wuustwezel, in the Nassau colours, by (Dutch) Royal Decree in 1821, confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 8 October 1858. The Vinck family's finches are shown on the coat of arms of Bredene and on the flag of Zuienkerke.
The sinister part, "Or a fess chequered three rows argent and gules", recalls the arms of Loenhout, "Or a letter 'L' gules a fess chequered three rows all over". This was the coat of arms used as the La Marck family as the lords of Loenhout (1465-1575) - therefore the addition of the "L" to the La Marck arms. These arms were granted to Loenhout by Royal Decree on 14 June 1902.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 3 January 2008