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Bonheiden (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2013-12-01 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Bonheiden]

Flag of Bonheiden - Image by Ivan Sache, 24 September 2001

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Presentation of Bonheiden

The municipality of Bonheiden (14,499 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,927 ha) is located 10 km east of Mechelen. The municipality of Bonheiden is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Bonheiden and Rijmenam, minus the borough of Peulis, transfered to Putte.

Bonheiden emerged from the domain of Berentrode, known since the 9th century. A rode was a clearing, here in the Waverwoud, the region located between the two rivers Nete and the river Dijle. Berentrode belonged to the Berthout, lords of Grimbergen and Mechelen. In 1311, Floris Berthout, lord of Mechelen, listed among his goods "Berenrode" and "Boederheyden"; in 1330, the very same Floris wrote "Berenrode" and "Boenheyde". The name of Bonheiden progressively superseded Berentrode.
The etymology of Bonheiden is still disputed, at least the meaning of boede - boen. heiden means a heather moor (in Dutch, heide; in German, Heide). Carnoy claims that boen means "flat", whereas Lindemans believes it means "interlaced twigs or branches forming a fence". Uyterhoeven writes that a boede was a small wooden hut. Another explanation relates bon to the anthroponym Bodo, that indeed existed as Bodinus, Boidinus or Bodonis in Mechelen in the 13th-14th centuries.
Most of the ancient history of Bonheiden is linked to the neighbouring town of Mechelen. Wouter Berthout, lord of Mechelen, built the feudal castle of Zellaer, which was completely revamped in 1885. The two biggest farms in Bonheiden belonged to the Grand Beguine Convent and to the monastery of Blijdenberg, respectively. The parish church bleonged to the St. Rombout chapter. The Berthout were succeeded in Boheiden by the families Charles, Straignaert, Spira, Ittere de Castre (1648) and Romrée (1705). A significant part of the territory remained unused, since the Ferraris map (1775) shows the bruyère [moor] de Bonheyden. In the 19th century, the industrial revolution clearly ignored Bonheiden.

Rijmenam, known in the Middle Ages as Rimenham, belonged, like Bonheiden, to the Country of Mechelen. After the Berthout, its owners belonged to the families Oudart (1558), Faille (1628), de Brouxelles, van Duyveland, van Attenrode and Cuypers. On 1 August 1578, the battle of Rijmenam-Mispeldonck opposed the Catholic troops of Don Juan of Austria to the Protestant army of the Dutch States commanded by Maxiliiaan Bossu.
The Bakestraar is the border between Rijmenam and the municipality of Keerbergen, so that one side of the road is in the province of Antwerp and the other one in the province of Flemish Brabant.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 26 May 2007

Flag of Bonheiden

The municipal flag of Bonheiden is vertically divided green-yellow-purple.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 27 September 1984 and 25 August 1988 by the Municipal Council, confirmed on 13 December 1988 by the Executive of Flanders, and published on 8 November 1989 in the Belgian official gazette.
The colours symbolize the pines, the brooms and the moor, respectively.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 26 May 2007