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Wanze (Municipality, Province of Liège, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Wanze]         [Proposal of flag of Wanze]

Municipal flag of Wanze - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 16 May 2005
Left, flag in use
Right, flag proposal, not used

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Presentation of Wanze and its villages

The municipality of Wanze (12,802 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,395 ha) is located in the valley of the Meuse, 30 km of Liège and Namur. The municipality of Wanze is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Wanze, Antheit, Bas-Oha, Huccorgne, Moha and Vinalmont. The territory of the municipality is watered by river Mehaigne, which crosses it from north to south; the northern part of the municipality is part of Parc naturel des vallées de la Mehaigne et de la Burdinale.
Wanze and Antheit are peri-urban areas of the town of Huy and includes most of the industrial activity in the municipality (sugar house and lasagna factory in Wanze), except the lime quarry exploited by Carmeuse in Moha. The other villages of the municipality are mostly rural.

Wanze (2,807 inh.; 407 ha), watered by the last meanders of the Mehaigne, is often considered as the affluent suburbs of Huy. The first Belgian sugar house was built in Wanze in 1812, and is still active. The town hall of Wanze is a former women's priory set up around 1154 after a settlement made to the abbey of Floreffe by Countess Ermesind, widow of Count Albert de Moha. The wealth of the priory increased in the XIIIth century; at the end of the XVIIIth century, there were only two to three nuns and a prior in the priory, which was closed during the French Revolution and sold on 22 January 1798.
The hamlet of Longpré (254 inh., 110 ha), formerly part of the municipality of Couthuin, was incorporated into Wanze in 1976. The Temple's Farm belonged to the Order of Malta until the French Revolution. Several legends are related to the farm; the most famous of them says that a souterrain links the farm to the fortress of Moha. Of course, the souterrain has not been found yet.

Antheit (4,128 inh.; 714 ha), located on a wooded hillside north of Huy, is the birth town of the painter Paul Delvaux (1897-1994), considered as the best representative of oniric surrealism. Until 1930, Delvaux made realist paintings inspired by Impressionism; he later destroyed several hundreds of these early works. In 1936, he exhibited at Brussels with De Chirico and met Magritte. He changed his style and painted weird scenes bathed in a disturbing light (Nocturne, 1939; Les Phases de la lune, 1941). After the Second World War, most Delvaux' paintings showed still, sleep-walking women, mermaids and skeletons placed in ruins modeled after the classical antiquity (Messagère du soir, 1980). Delvaux was also fascinated by railway stations where nothing happens; he spent his youth in a place surrounded by three railway lines. In 1980, the painter opened a foundation and museum in St. Idesbald, near his house in Veurne.

Bas-Oha (1,648 inh.; 701 ha) is located 3.5 km of Huy. The hamlets of Lamalle and Oha are located on the plateau of Hesbaye, whereas the hamlets of Bas-Oha and Java are located in the valley of Meuse.

Huccorgne (657 inh., 843 ha) is located 10 km of Huy in the valley of Mehaigne. The village is nicknamed pays des veaux (Calves' Country). The Cycle Museum is housed by the Famelette farm in Huccorgne. It shows 180 bicycles made from 1830 to now. The farms was in the XVIth century an outpost of the fortress of Moha. Its barn, with a skeleton dated 1564, is one of the biggest barns in Wallonia.

Moha (1,595 inh.; 551 ha), located 7 km of Huy, was the seat of a County set up in the IXth-Xth centuries. The County of Moha had its justice court, located in Wanze, and kept it after its incorporation to the Principality of Liège.
The fortress of Moha was built between the XIth and the XIV th century on a spur dominating the confluency of the Mehaigne and the Fosserôle. Among its owners are the related dynasties of Dabo, Eguisheim and Moha. Their most famous members are St. Odile (c. 660-c. 720), the patron saint of Alsace, and Pope Leon IX (Bruno d'Eguisheim-Dagsbourg, 1002-1054, Pope in 1049). Leon IX was the champion of the papal supremacy and excommunicated the Patriarch of Constantinople Mikhail Keroularios (c. 1000-1059, Patriarch in 1043), exacerbating the schism with the Church of Orient, which was definitive in 1054. In 1230, after the death of the last Count Albert III and his daughter Gertrud, Prince-Bishop of Liège Hughes de Pierrepond confiscated the fortress. The inhabitants of Huy invaded the castle in 1376 and supressed it. Since then, the Romantic ruins of the fortress have been watching the valley.

Vinalmont (1,349 inh.; 1, 069 ha) is located 7 km of Huy on the edge of the plateau of Hesbaye. The name of the village, known since 1137, refers to grapevine ("Montes vinalis") grown in Vinalmont until winter 1694, when Louis XIV' soldiers burnt down the vines, and replaced today by small grains and sugar beet. The famous limestone of Vialmont, which becomes more and more white with age, has been extracted since the Middle Ages. The quarry explains why most of the houses of the village, especially in the hamlet of Wanzoul, are made of rubble stone instead of brick.


Ivan Sache, 16 May 2005

Municipal flag of Wanze

The municipal flag of Wanze, as confirmed by the municipal administration, is quartered white-grey-red-white with a grey shield with a red canton in the first quarter of the flag.

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the Heraldry and Vexillology Council of the French Community proposed a white flag with a red square canton, that is a banner of the municipal arms.

The municipal arms of Wanze, adopted by the Municipal Council on 11 September 1979 and confirmed by Royal Decree on 12 February 1980, are D'argent au franc-quartier de gueules ("Argent a quarter gules").
It seems that the municipality decided to have a more complicated pattern than proposed by the Council and to use silver as the litteral translation of argent, which is extremely uncommon on flags.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 16 May 2005