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Aubel (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-10-20 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Aubel]         [Flag of Aubel]

Municipal flag of Aubel - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 18 November 2005
Left, flag in use
Right, flag proposal, not in use

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Presentation of Aubel

The municipality of Aubel (4,166 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,884 ha) is located in the Country of Herve, between Liège and Verviers.

The local legend says that the first chapel in Aubel was built by a lord who had lost his way in the forest during a hunting party and had been saved after having invoked St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. Anyway, the first mention of Aubel, as Able, dates back to 1248. Able might be read as albula, "the little white" [river]. The white colour would refer to limestone, very common in the region. Aubel probably seceded at that time from the Banate (administrative division) of Voeren and constituted a separate banate with a justice court; the higher court was still in s'Gravenvoeren. In the middle of the XIIIth century, a priest was appointed to serve the St. Hubert's chapel, which indicated that the village was already fairly important; the title of parish priest of Aubel was granted in 1395.
In the XVIIth century, Aubel was one of the most importants banates in the Country of Dalhem. The right of having a free market was granted to Aubel on 28 August 1630. The market was soon the most important in the region for the trade of grain and dairy products. Needing money for his wars, King of Spain Philip IV put in pawn several of his Belgian domains, including Aubel, which was eventually sold on 30 March 1643 to Jean-Rodolphe d'Imstenraedt, lord of Mheer; the domain was transfered in 1688 to the barons of Loë. The last lord of Aubel was Baron Gérard de Loë-Imstenraedt. Some beautiful houses from that time have been kept, for instance the "Vieil Aubel" (built in XVIth century, revamped in 1700), as well as manors such as the manors of Altena (built in 1610) and Gothez (built in 1767).
During the night of 8 to 9 February 1799, conspirators met in the Stroevenbosch farm in order to prepare the attack of a French detachment stationed for the winter in Bois-Rouge. The conspirators were denounced and arrested. Four of the six captured conspirators were executed near the gate of rempart Léonard in Liège on 7 April 1799.

The abbey of Val-Dieu was founded in the XIIIth century. There is no document relating its foundation; it is supposed that the abbey was founded by Count Lothaire of Dalhem in order to expiate for the murder of St. Albert of Leuven, Bishop of Liège, killed in 1192. The abbey was built by Cistercian monks, who selected a then desert vally with a brook, required for agriculture and brewery. The abbey is still active and still produces cheese, fruit drinks and beer.

The Country of Herve is famous for its apple and pear trees orchards. In the XVIIth century, several farmers had a fruit press and a copper boiler they used to make sirop; sirop is usually a fruit drink, but the sirop of Herve is more a spread than a liquid. Around 1889-1890, the first attempts of industrialization of sirop production were made, using steam cooking and hydraulic presses. In 1902, Clément Meurens I (b. 1874) left his father's farms and set up a sirop factory close to the railway station of Aubel. He produced there the sirop Pomona, made with apples and sugar beats, and the sirop Poiret, made with pears and apples without adding sugar. These two sirops are still manufactured by the Siroperie Meurens. In 1922, Clément II Meurens joined his father's business and modernized the composition of the sirops with new mixtures and new proportions. In 1937, he invented the famous Sirop de Poires du pays de Liège. The new product was patented only in 1947 because of the Second World War, under the name of Vrai [Genuine] Sirop de Liège. Meurens hired a famous illustrator from Brussels, who made the famous label with the flowering pear trees from Aubel. He was succeeded by his son Clément III, whose daughter Martine joined the company in 1993.


Ivan Sache, 18 November 2005

Municipal flag of Aubel

The municipal flag of Aubel, as confirmed by the Municipal administration, is vertically divided green-white.
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community proposed a flag made of a green field with a white cross-bearing deer, based on the municipal arms, D'argent un Saint-Hubert au naturel, which are of a very complex, picturesque but non heraldic design.
According to Servais, these arms, granted on 30 July 1840, are based on the oldest known seal of Aubel (XVth century). They clearly refer to the legendary foundation of the village around the St. Hubert chapel. Dr. Lens (Armorial du Duché de Limbourg et des Pays d'Outremeuse, Dison, 1947) gives the adoption date of the municipal coat of arms of Aubel as 30 January 1840 (Royal Decree).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 20 November 2005