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Wemmel (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: wemmel | kraainem | cross (red) | bird (black) | kraainem |
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[Flag of Wemmel]

Municipal flag of Wemmel - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 12 January 2008

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Presentation of Wemmel

The municipality of Wemmel (14,996 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 874 ha) is located just north of the Region of Brussels-Capital. Wemmel is a Dutch-speaking municipality with "facilities" for the French-speaking citizens.

Wemmel was settled by Roman colonists before the IInd century AD, replaced around 370 by Franks. The village probably developed around the St. Servaas church, then located in the middle of rich arable lands.
Wemmel belonged to the Duchy of Brabant. One of its oldest known lords is Marshal Goswin de Wembelne (XIIth century), whose lineage ruled Wemmel until the marriage of Isabelle de Wembelne with Arnout II de Kraainem at the end of the XIIIth century. Arnout III de Kraainem died in 1302 during the Battle of the Golden Spurs, in the French party. His son Léon negotiated in 1336 the peace treaty that ends the quarel of the Duke of Brabant and the Count of Flanders for the control of Mechelen. Léon's grand-daughter married Giselbert Taye, lord of Elewijt, so that Wemmel was transferred to the powerful family of Coudenberg, that ruled the domain, erected a Barony and, subsequently, a Marquisate, until 1792.
In 1838, the Mayor of Wemmel, Count Guillaume-Bernard de Limburg-Stirum, purchased all the goods still owned by the Coudenberg in the municipality. His heirs eventually offerred the castle to the municipal administration, that transformed it into the town hall.

Source: Municipal website

The current Mayor of Wemmel is Marcel Van Langenhove, who has won a very high position in the hall of shame of international football referees.
On 18 April 1990, Benfica Lisbon played against Olympique de Marseille the second leg of the semi-final of the European Champions' Cup. Marseille had won the first leg, 2-1. At the 83rd minute, Vata scored for Benfica; the win, 1-0, was enough for Benfica to reach the final. However, Vata scored with the hand, a fault that was noticed by everybody but the referee, Marcel Van Langenhove.
The goal caused a national affair in France, with Prime Minister Michel Rocard commenting the event (he was blamed for "populism", but this was in 1990), and the referee never admitted he had made a mistake, even when shown the TV images. France had never been so close to a war against Belgium!
The FIFA did not mind inviting Van Langenhove to the World Cup, where his performance was, once again, everything but memorable.

Ivan Sache, 31 December 2007

Municipal flag of Wemmel

The municipal flag of Wemmel is yellow with a red cross and a black bird in canton.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 17 September 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 14 June 1988 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 16 September 1988.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Servais, the arms of Wemmel, granted by Royal Decree on 21 May 1873, are based on old municipal seals, which all show, since 1388, a cross and a crow in canton. The seals were derived from the canting arms of the lords of Kraainem (in Dutch, kraai means "a crow"). On Servais' drawing, the bird is shown as a merlette (no beak, no feet), but the modern arms of Wemmel use a crow, as shown on the municipal website.
The Gelre Armorial shows "Or a cross gules a merlette sable in canton" for Arnout of Kraainem (H. Arnt v. Craynnen, #836, folio 73v) - but a complete crow is drawn!
The Lalaing Armorial shows "Or a cross gules a crow sable in canton" for Kraainem (Crainem, #130, folio 78v).

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 31 December 2007