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Assenede (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2010-01-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: assenede | oosteeklo | acorns: 3 | fleur-de-lis (white) | boekhoute |
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Presentation of Assenede

The municipality of Assenede (13,584 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 8,722 sq. km) is located 20 km north of Ghent in the Meetjesland, close to the border with the Netherlands. The municipality of Assenede is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Assenede, Bassevelde, Boekhoute and Oosteeklo.

In the late Middle Ages, the northern part of the County of Flanders was known as the Vier Ambachten*, formed by the lordships of Boekhoute, Assenede, Axel and Hulst, the latter two being located today in the Netherlands. In 1494, a 25-km long dyke was built between Boekhoute and Terneuzen to protect the polders located north of Assenede.

Diederik van Assenede (1220/1230-1293) spent most of his life in the Four Lordships, especially in Assenede; he served as a clark / secretary (Dierckins, nostre clerc, Dierkin de Hassenede) the Countess of Flanders Margaretha of Constantinople and her son Gwijde of Dampierre. Very little is known on the life of Diederik, but he has remained famous for his contribution to the Dutch literature, Floris ende Blancefloer. This is a translation in Middle Dutch, dated c. 1260, of the French Floire et Blanceflor, a courtly tale of chivalry dated c. 1160. The tale relates the impossible love between a Moorish prince and the daughter of a Christian slave, with, as it was the use, a happy-end.
Diederik's original manuscript has been lost, but there still exist two copies of it; the first one is kept in the library of the State University of Leiden (The Netherlands) whereas the second one is known only by a fac-simile of a fragment of it. The original text begins as follows:

Nu hoert na mi, ic sal beghinnen
Ene aventure tellen van minnen,
Die den dorperen no den doren
Niet bestaet, dat sise horen.

The first two verses read "Now listen to me, I shall begin to tell you a tale of mine" but the whole, 3,975 verse long, tale is unreadable for non-specialists. Transcriptions in prose have been published in the 2000s.


Ivan Sache, 19 May 2007

*De Vier Ambachten are the Four Cooperating Jurisdictions in the north of the County of Flanders. The regions are Assenede, Axel, Bouchoute and Hulst. About 1050 several kanselarijen were founded in Flanders, each had some ambachten (Latin, officium) and each ambacht had some parochies (villages). In 1242 the four Ambachten started to cooperate as the Vier Ambachten (Quatro officia). This cooperation was based on a keure, an official memorandum by the Count of Flanders.

Rene van der Elshout, from the Historic Circle Oudheidkundige Kring "De Vier Ambachten Hulst", 27 April 2008

Municipal flag of Assenede

The municipal flag of Assenede is quartered per saltire, first white with a green leaved acorn, second yellow with a black lion holding in its right paw a black double-headed eagle, third yellow with a black sail boat, four white with a blue horn.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag was adopted on 11 April 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 3 June 1985 and published in the Belgian municipal gazette on 8 July 1986.
The first quarter is based on the canting (in Dutch, eek means "oak", see Eeklo) arms Oosteeklo applied for in 1901, to no avail; the second quarter shows the old arms of Assenede, granted in 1841; the third quarter recalls that Boekhoute once had a fishing port; and the fourth quarter represents the arms of the Busere family, once owner of Bassevelde.

According to Servais [svm55a], the old coat of arms of Assenede is identical to the old coat of arms of the Vier Ambachten. The lion recalls the County of Flanders whereas the eagle recalls that the Ambachten belonged to the Bishopric of Utrecht, then part of the German Empire. The arms of the Vier Ambachten are also included in the arms of Ertvelde (incorporated into Evergem in 1976) and Zelzate.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 May 2007

Former municipality of Boekhoute

Boekhoute was mentioned for the first time in 1018 as de Stede ende Ambachte van Bouchaute (The Town and Corporation of Boekhoute), one of the components of the Vier Ambachten ruled by the Count of Flanders on behalf of the German Emperor. In spite of the building of dykes as early as in 1325 (Vernouden dyke), Boekhoute was often flooded, for instance in 1375-76, 1404 (with the definitive suppression of the villages of Koudekerke and Weverswale) and 1530. The dykes split the village into two parts, the Houtland (Woodland) and the Polders, reclaimed from the sea.
In the late 16th century, Boekhoute, an important fishing port but also a border town with the Netherlands, was protected by a fortress built in the port in 1587. In 1690, the Dutch closed the port until the fishers agreed to pay a toll to the Dutch town of Philippine (today part of the municipality of Terneuzen). In November 1784, the Dutch army closed the Philippine sea lock, causing the flood of Boekhoute.
The Braakman gully was closed by a dyke in 1952, which protected Boekhoute during the 1 February 1953 flood, but suppressed the port and fishing in the village.

Source: Our Meetjesland website

Het Nieuwsblaad, 20 November 2009, reports the unveiling of the flag of Boekhoute, designed by an ad hoc working group. The new flag was proposed last week to the villagers in a door to door sale.
As shown on a colour photo by Michel Moens, the flag is white with a decentered red cross charged with the village's coat of arms; a fishing boat "sails" over the horizontal arm of the cross while the name of the village is written in black letters in the lower right quarter of the flag. The red cross, taken from the municipal arms, is made unequal to represent the former Braakman gully.
The boat is the Isabella shrimp fishing boat, of the Lemmerhengst type, registered as "BOU 8". Built in 1928, the Isabella was placed in 1973 on the former site of the village's cemetary, located near the church, as a tribute to the fishing heritage of the village. "BOU" is the official registration code for Boekhoute, still used by the Boekhoute ships active in the neighbouring Dutch ports of Breskens and Terneuzen.

Servais [svm55a] shows the coat of arms of Boekhoute as "Argent a cross gules an escutcheon gules fimbriated or".

Ivan Sache, 20 November 2009

Former municipality of Oosteeklo

[Flag of Oosteeklo]

Village flag of Oosteeklo - Image by Jarig Bakker, 10 August 2005

The flag of Oosteeklo is diagonally divided (per bend sinister) light green over dark green; the name of the village is written in yellow capitol letters on the diagonal of the flag; three leaved acorns are placed 1 and 2 in upper hoist; a blue diamond charged with a white fleur-de-lis is placed in lower hoist.
The flag was designed by the Municipal Millennium Committee (of Assenede?). It is chockful of symbology referring to elements from the name, historicism and heraldry of the village. The dark-green part is for the forests teaming with boars, deer and squirrels. The light-green part is for arable land. The acorns refer to the name of the village (eek, "oak"). The blue diamond with the fleur-de-lis reminds of the abbey here. The design of this flag is the responsibility of Malek Azoug, Jackie Claeys, Jurgen De Rycke and Marijke Engels.
The abbey was a Cistercian Abbey, founded in the 13th century, demolished c. 1585, when the nuns fled to Ghent. Oosteeklo was then part of the Ambacht (Lordship) of Boekhoute, which, together with Assenede, Hulst and Axel, formed the Vier Ambachten.

Source: Oosteeklo website

Jarig Bakker, 10 August 2005