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Middelkerke (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2010-08-27 by ivan sache
Keywords: middelkerke | lombardsijde | westende | lion (black) | anchor (black) | star: 6 points (black) | kite |
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[Flag of Middelkerke]

Flag of Middelkerke (official, not in use) - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 24 March 2007

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Presentation of Middelkerke

The municipality of Middelkerke (18,080 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 7,565 ha) is located on the North Sea, a few kilometers south-west of Ostend. The municipality of Middelkerke is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Middelkerke, Leffinge, Spermalie (the result of the merging in 1971 of Schore, Sint-Pieters-Kapelle, Mannekensvere and Slijpe), Westende (including Lombardsijde since 1971) and Wilskerke. In 1971, the borough of Raversijde, formerly part of Middelkerke, was incorporated into Ostend.

In the Middle Ages, the nine villages belonged to the Country of Bruges (Brugse Vrije), except Lombardsijde that had been granted municipal rights in the early Middle Ages; the eight other villages, except Schore and Sint-Pieters-Kapelle, belonged to the domain of Camerlincx.
In 1795, the French administration set up nine municipalities, each of them being a kerkdorp (village grouped around a church). The windmills and the churches were used as visual landmarks, especially the big church of Leffinge, known as "The Cathedral of the North".

In 1885, the opening of the steam (later electric) tramway line between Ostend and Middelkerke opened up the villages and boosted the development of coastal tourism. The line was increased the next year to Nieuwpoort. A company founded in Brussels in 1876 attempted to build a sea resort without involving the local administration; they opened a casino in 1891 but had to transfer the development of the resort to the municipality of Middelkerke.The main tourist attraction at that time, although inexpected, was the Tilted Well, a freshwater harnessing made of concrete that progressively tilted in the sand.
The first vacation houses in Westende were built by people from Brussels in 1896. The First World War completely wiped out the early development of the sea resorts: the casino and the town hall of Middelkerke were ruined, as was Westende, including the once famous Grand Hôtel Bellevue, and most of the rural villages of the hinterland.
During the Second World War, the Germans built on the coast fortifications belonging to the Atlantic Wall; the batteries of Leffinge protected Ostend while those of Westende protected Nieuwpoort. After the Liberation, several building dedicated to flat tourism were built in Middelkerke and Westende, suppressing the last remains of the earlier sea resorts.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 24 March 2007

Municipal flag of Middelkerke

Heraldic flag

The municipal flag of Middelkerke is vertically divided, left four rows and three columns of squares, in turn blue and white, right a black lion walking on a tilted black anchor surmonting a white six-pointed star.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag and arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 10 February 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 26 May 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The lion comes from the former arms of Lombardsijde, as shown by Servais [svm55a]. On 25 January 1973, these arms became the arms of Westende, with a slightly modified design based on the 16th-century seal of the village.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 24 March 2007

Logotyped flag

[Flag of Middelkerke]

Logotyped flag of Middelkerke (first version) - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 24 March 2007

The flag in use in Middelkerke, as communicated by the municipal administration, is not the heraldic flag but a white flag with the municipal logotype.
The logotype contains the text "middelkerke" (blue) / "gemeente" (municipality; yellow, much smaller letters) and the logo proper, consisting of nine squares, the three central ones blue and the other ones yellow, arranged in a new square diagonaly positioned - and suggesting a kite thanks to a loose blue line attached to the lowest blue square and moving leftwise up to the first "k" of "middelkerke".
Designed by Vanden Broele Creations, the squares represent the three former coastal municipalities (Middelkerke, Westende and Lombardsijde) and the six former inland ones. Putting the word "gemeente" underneath the place name is meant to suggest vivacity and friendliness.The municipality maintains the heraldic flag (nowhere seen) and calls above creation a "house style flag".

Arnaud Leroy & Jan Mertens, 24 March 2007

A new version of the logotyped flag was introduced in 2009.
This version is much more colourful, showing yellow dunes in the base, containing the elements of the previous logo but all blue. The rest of the flag - about two thirds - is taken up by playful pale blue, sky blue, and royal blue waves, all very thin, against a dark blue background.

Jan Mertens, 12 January 2010