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Finsterwolde (The Netherlands)
Reiderland municipality, Groningen province
Last modified: 2011-06-04 by andrew weeks
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by Jarig Bakker, 17 Jul 2003
Adopted 17 Jul 1961
Finsterwolde former municipality
Finsterwolde is a former municipality, since 1 Jan 1992 part of Reiderland
in east Groningen province in the Netherlands. This area is part of the
Dollard-area; the Dollard is a large inlet on the border of the Netherlands
and Germany, and scene of a constant battle between sea and man. When in
the 17th-19th century the marshy area of southeast Groningen was exploited
many labourers from elsewhere were imported to do the peat-digging. After
that process was finished the labourers were no longer needed, and many
were resettled f.i. in Finsterwolde, where they could find jobs as farm-hands.
However there were not enough jobs, and the payment was rather low. This
led in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century to
a social movement, which connected to the Dutch Communist movement. The
most notable leader was Fré Meijs, who with his charisma dominated
Finsterwolde for decades in the second part of last century. 80 - 90 %
of the population voted CPN (Communistische Partij Nederland), and after
the Soviet Union was dissolved and the CPN merged into the GroenLinks
(Green) party the Finsterwolders first voted VCN (Vereninging van Communisten
in Nederland, the new communist party), and after that was wiped away they
went en masse over to the PvdA (Dutch Labour party).
It can still be regarded as one of the last Stalinist bulwarks in the
The flag of Finsterwolde: seven horizontal stripes of white, black,
white, red, white, black and white, whose width relate 1:1:1:2:1:1:1; towards
the hoist a blue triangle, whose top reaches till halfway the flag, with
a yellow lion.
This flag was adopted on 17 Jul 1961 by municipal decision; in the
triangle is the image of the municipal coat of arms. The triangular form was chosen
as a symbol for the threat of the water pointing at the heart of the community.
The red stripe reminds of the progressive social tendency in the municipality.
The black stripes symbolize the agricultural character, while the white
stripes have been added for esthetical reasons.
Source: Sierksma's Nederlands Vlaggenboek, 1962 [sie62]
I have used the lion from the coat of arms in the Koffie Hag album.
Jarig Bakker, 17 Jul 2003
Finsterwolde Coat of arms
from the Koffie Hag-Album "Nederlandsche Gemeentewapens".
Granted 8 Mar 1870.