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Kalmthout (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-09-06 by ivan sache
Keywords: kalmthout | crozier (yellow) | towers: 2 (yellow) |
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[Flag of Kalmthout]

Municipal flag of Kalmthout - Image by Filip van Laenen, 30 September 2001

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Presentation of Kalmthout

The municipality of Kalmthout (17,504 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,945 ha) is located north of Antwerp, bordered by the Netherlands on its western and eastern sides.

The first villages in the region of Kalmthout were formed in the IVth century AD by the Salian Franks, roots of the later Merovingian kings. Kalmthout was mentioned for the first time on 15 March 1146, as Calmetholt, in a chart stating that Arnold of Brabant had transferred half of the village to the newly formed abbey of Tongerlo. Eleven years later, his son Arnold II transferred the second half of the village to the abbey. Wise lords, the monks of Tongerlo developed agriculture by draining the marshes and clearing the moors and the woods. The last manager appointed by the abbey, Godfridus Hermans, lived in the XVIIIth century in the manor "De Greef"; the abbey farm of the same name dates back to the same period. The French revolutionaries expelled the monks, confiscated their goods and made of Kalmthout a municipality.

In 1857, the flower grower Charles Van Geert settled in Kalmthout; in 1858, he planted the "street" of exotic conifers, which forms the backbone of the today's Kalmthout Arboretum. In 1952, Georges and Robert De Belder restored the site abandoned because of the Second World War. In 1954, Robert's wife, Jelena, graduate in agriculture with the University of Zagreb, started to increase the collections and transformed the garden into an arboretum. The Province of Antwerp purchased the arboretum, whose curator was Jelena De Belder until her death in 2003. The arboretum covers 10 ha and shows some 6,000 plants. The arboretum is especially worth being visited in May, when azaleas and rhodeodendrons blossom.

In 1995, the Province of Antwerp purchased the villa formerly owned by Willy Vandersteen in Kalmthout and transformed it into the Provincial "Suske and Wiske" Children Museum.
Willy Vandersteen (1913-1990), often nicknamed "the Brueghel of strip cartoon", created in 1945 his most famous characters, the brother and sister Suske and Wiske (in French, Bob et Bobette; in English, Spike and Suzy; in Swedish, Finn och Fiffi; in Esperanto, Cisko kaj Vinjo...) and designed some 285 of their adventures.


Ivan Sache, 5 August 2007

Municipal flag of Kalmthout

The municipal flag of Kalmthout is vertically divided red-yellow-red (1:2:1) with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 24 April 1989, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 13 June 1989 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 November 1989.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

According to Servais, the arms of Kalmthout were granted by Royal Decree on 12 June 1911. The oldest known municipal seal, from 1442, shows the crozier symbolizing the abbey of Tongerlo, flanked by two small towers representing Essen and Kalmthout, then merged into a single domain. In the modern arms, the tower was increased to two floors in the proposal, to which the final grant even added a third floor.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 August 2007