Last modified: 2008-09-06 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Rumst - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 1 November 2007
The municipality of Rumst (14,650 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,990 ha) is located between Antwerp and Mechelen, on the confluency of the rivers Dijle and Nete, which form the Rupel. The municipality of Rumst is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Rumst, Reet and Terhagen.
Rumst, located on a main Roman way, was the oldest colonized place in the region of Rupel. The village was originally known as Rumesta, later Rumestam, Rumstse, Rumpst and eventually Rumst, a name made on ruim, "an open place", and ast, "a built area". Destroyed during the Frankish invasions, Rumst was rebuilt in the Middle Ages and protected against the Northmen by a castle built by the Berthout. Philip of Vianden, the
oldest known owner of the domain of Rumst, selfstyled lord of Rumst,
granted an autonomous administration, a free market, a yearly fair and
a municipal seal to the town. The domain of Rumst included then Rumst,
Boom, Ruisbroek, Willebroek and Heindonk. In the XVIIth century, the
domain was split and reduced to only Rumst and Terhagen, the latter
becoming an independent municipality in 1874.
In the past, most inhabitants of Rumst lived from the Rupel, as fishers, seamen, shipwrights or brick makers. Brick production became industrial thanks to the outstanding quality of the clay extracted from the banks of the Rupel.
Reet, from the Germanic raid or Middle Dutch reede, "a road", was probably also a Roman settlement built along the aforementioned main way. Succeeding to a chapel, a church was built in Reet, which became an independent parish in 1309. Most historical archives of Reet have been lost during blazes ans sacks, therefore little details are known on the early history of the town.
Terhagen, mentioned in 1560 as Hagen ("a meager wood") and made an
independent municipality in 1874, was in the past the regional capital
of brick production, which was a seasonal activity. Brick could be
framed and dried only from April to October, since bricks not dry
enough would broke in autumn. Winter was the season of extraction of
clay for the next framing campaign. There was a strong specialization
in brick workers: the vormers ("framers"), mostly adult men, were
the best paid workers, while the afdragers ("dryers"), mostly
children, and the gamsters, the women who piled up the dry bricks,
were half paid. In wintertime, the women stayed at home and made shoes
and slippers. The workers' families lived in tiny houses, owned by their
employers, in very unhealthy conditions.
The Terhagen yearly fair (kermis) was dedicated to St. Peter, the patron saint of the brick makers; taking place on the first Sunday after Sts. Peter and Paul day, the fair attracted workers from all over the region of Rupel.
Mechanisation of brick production in the 1960s caused the bankrupt of several brickyards in the early 1970s; there is today hardly one brickyard active in Terhagen. In this context, the municipal merging imposed to Terhagen and the resulting loss of its autonomous administration was bitterly felt.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 1 November 2007
The municipal flag of Rumst is horizontally divided red-yellow with a
white triangle placed along the hoist.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 25 March 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 7 July 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The colours are taken from the municipal arms while the three parts of the flag recall the three former municipalities of Rumst, Reet and Terhagen.
The municipal website says that the flag uses the colours of the old
flags of Rumst and Reet. Terhagen had no flag but a red wimpel used in
festivals. The division of the flag recalls the confluency of the Dijle
and the Nete forming the Rupel.
The municipal arms are "Per pale, gules a fess argent in chief a label or, gules three pales or a chief argent", that is the former arms of Rumst and Reet placed per pale. Terhagen had no arms.
The old arms of Rumst, according to Servais, were granted by Royal Decree on 3 July 1925. They were originally bore by Philip of Vianden, lord of Rumst in the XIIIth century. "Gules a fess argent" are the arms of the County of Vianden, today in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The oldest known municipal seal of Rumst, dated 1373, bears the arms of Vianden, who were no longer lords of Rumst, however.
The field of the arms of Reet uses the well-known pales of the Berthout family arms.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 1 November 2007