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Hoogstraten (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2016-03-20 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Hoogstraten]

Flag of Hoogstraten - Image by António Martins, 14 July 1999

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Presentation of Hoogstraten

The municipality of Hoogstraten (18,905 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 10,532 ha; municipal website), located north-east of Antwerp on the Dutch border, is the northernmost municipality in the Province of Antwerp. The municipality of Hoogstraten was formed in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of Hoogstraten, Meer, Meerle, Minderhout and Wortel. The municipality has a significant proportion (more than 10%) of Dutch residents.

Hoogstraten's main monument is the St. Catherine church, built in 1524-1526 by architect Rombout Keldermans (one of the architects of the cathedral of Antwerp) for Anthony I of Lalaing, the first Count of Hoogstraten, and Countess Elisabeth of Culemborg, whose mother was the grand-daughter of Duke of Brabant Philip the Good. The church was built in late Gothic style and is famous for its towers (104.70 m in height). Preserved during the religious wars in the 16th century, the towers were dynamited on 23 October 1944 by the withdrawing German troops. The church was carefully rebuilt as it was before in the 1950s.
Count of Hoogstraten Anthony II of Lalaing (1530-1568; biography), Governor of Mechelen, was a faitfhful supporter of William of Orange, in spite of being himself a Catholic. Together with William of Orange, Henry of Brederode and a few other nobles, Lalaing refused to plead allegiance to the King of Spain in 1567. In spite of having obeyed, the Counts of Hoorne and Egmond and several other were eventually sentenced to death and beheaded.
The Beguine convent of Hoogstraten was probably built around 1380. Severely damaged in the 16th century by blazes, it reduces to a few houses surrounded by a stone wall built in 1534. In 1553, some 40 nuns lived there, a number that dropped to two half a century later. The convent blossomed again in the second half of the 17th century, when 160 nuns lives there and a new church was built. The last nun left the convent in 1972.

Meer and the neighbouring villages are the main center of strawberry and tomato cultivation in Belgium, today grown in glasshouses and under plastic tunnels.

Ivan Sache, 27 July 2007

Flag of Hoogstraten

The flag of Hoogstraten is vertically divided red-white-red. According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag is prescribed by a Decree adopted by the Municipal Council on 14 April 1986, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 1 July 1986, and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Van evers en heiligen: Wapens en vlaggen van gemeenten in de provincie Antwerpen [pbd98], the arms of Hoogstraten were granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 20 October 1819 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 31 December 1838. The oldest known municipal seal, from the 17th century, shows the pale, derived from the arms of the Lalaing family.
The Gelre Armorial shows "Gules ten lozenges argent placed 3, 3, 3 and 1" for Nicolas II, lord of Lalaing (Die He. v. Lalayn, #1047, folio 84r) and "Quarterly 1 and 4 gules ten lozenges argent placed 3, 3, 3 and 1 (Lalaing), 2 and 3 or a chief bendy argent and gules (Quiévrain)" for Simon of Lalaing, lord of Quiévrain (H. ... Lalain, #1032, folio 83v).
The Lalaing Armorial shows "Gules ten lozenges argent placed 3,3,3 and 1" for Lalaing (Lalaing, #170, folio 80v).
The Lalaing had their castle in Ecaussinnes-Lalaing from 1386 to 1476, following the marriage of Jeanne d'Ecaussines with Simon de Lalaing, Grand Bailiff of Hainaut and Seneschal of Ostrevent, in 1357, and from 1529 to 1624. Lallaing (modern spelling) is today a village located near Douai, in the north of France.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 27 July 2007