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Denderleeuw (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

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

Municipal flag of Denderleeuw - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 June 2006

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Presentation of Denderleeuw and its villages

The municipality of Denderleeuw (17,493 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,384 ha) is located on the river Dender, 5 km south-south-east of Aalst, on the border of (East) Flanders with (Flemish) Brabant. The municipality of Denderleeuw is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Denderleeuw, Iddergem and Welle.

Denderleeuw was named after Knight of Leeuwe (Servais says after an old word meaning "a hill"), but a local legend relates the name of the town to the lion (in Dutch, leeuw). There was once a big lion scaring the villagers until St. Amandus, the apostle of Flanders, helped them to get rid of it, built a chapel, and named the surrounding settlement Lewe.
At the end of the XIIth century, Denderleeuw formed a single domain with the neighbouring village of Liedekerke, owned by the Lord of Liedekerke. His castle was located between the Old and New Dender, and each of the two villages formed a municipality with a Bailiff and a Mayor.
The inhabitants of Denderleeuw are nicknamed schiptrekkers (ship pullers), because, before the age of mechanic propulsion, the villagers of the borough of Huissegem were professional boat and ship pullers. They are recalled by the yearly Schiptrekkers festival.

Iddergem was named after the Frankish lord Idder, who founded a settlement (gem) there. In the XIIth century, Iddergem, Teralfene and Erembodegem formed a single domain owned by the Knight of Erembodegem. The village shared its justice court with Welle, Teralfene and Erembodegem from the XIIIth to the XVIIth century. In 1649, Iddergem was transferred to the Vilain XIV family, which kept it until the end of the XVIIIth century.
The inhabitants of Iddergem are nicknamed tovenaars (wizards).

Welle has also a legend associated to its name. Jesus Christ and St. Peter were to find a name for the place. Christ had papers with the names of the villages in his hands when wind started to blow. Peter screamed "Lord, they fly away". Since Peter did not keep screaming, Jesus answered "It's all right, it's allright" ('t is wel, 't is wel), therefore the name of Welle given to the village.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 18 June 2006

Municipal flag of Denderleeuw

The municipal flag of Denderleeuw is white with three blue wavy stripes.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 10 September 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 2 December 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The three waves represent the river Dender and the three former municipalities merged in 1976. The former municipal arms of Dendermonde also showed a blue wave.

The current municipal arms of Denderleeuw are shown on the municipal website, and have no relation with the flag. They are:
"Per pale, gules three lions or armed and langued gules 2 and 1, sable a chief argent a label sable",
that is the arms of Liedekerke (still used by the municipality of Liedekerke) and Vilain, respectively.
Servais shows the former arms of Denderleeuw as "Per pale argent a wavy bar azure or a lion proper".
The arms were granted on 4 August 1814 by (Dutch) Royal Decree and confirmed by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 27 May 1844. Since no historical seals were known, it was probably decided to create canting arms showing the rebus Dender - Leeuw.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 18 June 2006