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Dilsen-Stokkem (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-11-03 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Dilsen]

Municipal flag of Dilsen-Stokkem - Image by Jarig Bakker, 8 October 2001

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Presentation of Dilsen-Stokkem and its villages

The municipality of Dilsen-Stokkem (19,171 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 6,561 ha) is located south of Maaseik, on the border with the Netherlands, here the river Maas. The municipality of Dilsen-Stokkem is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Dilsen (administrative seat of the municipality), Stokkem, Elen, Lanklaar and Rotem.

Dilsen is one of the oldest villages of the Maasland (Maas Country), as shown by Prehistoric and Roman remains found there. The small hiils of Kempen called Vossenberg, Heulentak and Heuvelsven were the oldest inhabited places around Dilsen, where axes, arrowheads and potteries from the Ages of Stone, Bronze and Iron were found. Dilsen was mentioned for the first time as Thilesna, probably the Celtic name of a river, in 1062, when Markgrave Otto of Thuringia and his wife Adela transferred the church and the related goods in Dilsen to the St. Servais chapter in Maastricht. This represented the half of Dilsen located between the main road Tongeren-Maaseik and the Maas. The other half of Dilsen, located beyond the road, belonged until the XIIIth century to the County of Gelderland and was transferred in 1253 to the County of Loon. After the incorporation of the County into the Principality of Liège, the Prince-Bishop of Liège was lord of Dilsen.
In 1723, Prince-Bishop Georges-Louis van Berghes transferred Dilsen to Baron Michel van Rosen, provided he would watch the woods. Michel van Rosen built in 1725 the castle of Dilsen, still there today.

Stokkem (from Germanic Stockheim, "the estate near the woods") was probably founded by Colongus, a warlord from Tongeren, in 48 AD. The village then developed around a fortified castle built on a height dominating the left bank of the Maas by the Counts of Loon to protect the county from potential invaders, especially the Counts of Gelderland. In 1244, Stokkem was granted municipal rights and became one of the ten towns of the County of Loon. In 1318, it was considered as the strongest fortified place in the County of Loon. The town was severly damaged by a blaze in 1605; the castle was seized and plundered by the Dutch in 1702, as was the town several times in the XVIIIth century by the troops scouring the valley of the Maas.
A Royal Decree signed on 19 July 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 20 Augustus 1985 granted the honorific title of town to several Belgian municipalities. On 27 november 1985, the Municipal Council of Dilsen adopted the new name of Dilsen-Stokkem for the municipality, because Stokkem bore the title of town before the French Revolution but lost it during the Dutch rule. By Royal Decree of 28 July 1987, the title of town was granted to the municipality of Dilsen-Stokkem.

Elen was already settled in the Ages of Stone and Bronze. The name of the village appeared around 1150 as Yelne, probably from Hellinia or Halina, "a hard soil". In 1259, the village was kown as Helle and in the XIVth century as Eelen or Elen. It was founded as a parish in Charlemagne's times. Around 773, Adelardus, Charles Martel's grandson and Charlemagne's nephew, took the coat in the abbey of Corbie (Picardy, France) and transferred to it his domain of Elen, which explains that the Abbot of Corbie was later the lord of Elen. In 1558, the abbey transferred Elen to Godfried of Bocholt, lord of Grevenbroek; the lords of Bocholt swapped in 1612 Elen for Grenville with the Prince-Bishop of Liège. On 24 July 1741, the Prince-Bishop transferred Elen to Baron Thomas Cornelius van der Marck (1705-1744), owner of Sipernau, who built the castle of Ende. The moat and the tower of the castle were added by Knight Theodoor Olislagers (1787-1861).

Lanklaar (named after lang, "long", and laar, "a clearing"), once awarded the title of most beautiful place in Limburg, developed around the old hamlet of Mulhem, located along the Tongeren-Maastricht-Nijmegen road. Mulhem is probably the Roman settlement shown as Feresne on the Peutinger Map; in 1867, the foundations of a Roman temple were founded near the canal's dyke. The chapel of Mulhem (Molenheim, 1158), founded by St. Willibrord and one of the oldest in the area, was destroyed in 1827 during the digging of the Zuid-Willem canal. Lanklaar proper was mentioned for the first time in 1281 as Langlaer; it was probably a small village built in a clearing of the former Ledebos wood. Lanklaar became an independent municipality in 1809.

Rotem (meaning "a clearing"), mentioned for the first time in 1202, was probably founded by the German Emperor Friederich Barbarossa, who transferred it to the Bishop of Liège in 1174. The first church of Rotem, built along the Maas, was sacked by William of Orange in 1568.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 16 June 2007

Municipal flag of Dilsen-Stokkem

The municipal flag of Dilsen-Stokkem is horizontally divided yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 8 July 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 17 November 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 16 September 1988.
The flag is a banner of the escutcheon placed in the middle of the municipal arms.

The arms of Dilsen-Stokkem, as shown on the International Civic Heraldry website, are red with a perron symbolizing the municipal rights and an escutcheon of the arms of the County of Loon. Therefore, the flag of Dilsen-Stokkem is part of the series of municipal flag based on the arms of Loon, but with less stripes (the flag with the ten stripes had already been adopted by Borgloon in 1980).

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 16 June 2007