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Beringen (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2018-06-13 by ivan sache
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Flag of Berigen - Image by Filip van Laenen, 7 October 2001

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Presentation of Beringen

The municipality of Beringen (41,531 inhabitants on 1 January 2007, therefore the third biggest municipality in Limburg after Hasselt and Genk; 7,830 ha; municipal website) is located 20 km north-east of Hasselt. The municipality of Beringen was established in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of Beringen, Beverlo, Koersel and Paal.

Beringen was mentioned for the first time in 1120 as Beringe, that is "Bero's estate". In the Middle Ages, Beringen was a free domain (alleu), originally granted at the end of the 8th century by St. Adelard to the abbey of Corbie. In the Middle Ages, Beringen was managed on the Corbie abbot's name by the Count of Loon. In 1239, Count Arnold IV granted to Beringen the same rights as had been granted to the town of Liège, making of the town the oldest in Limburg Beringen was a town of the County of Loon, later incorporated into the Principality of Liège, and one of the 23 good towns (bonnes villes) of the Principality. The municipality was ruled by two mayors, one for the town (the free land, ruled by the court of Liège and one for the neighborhood (buiting, currently Paal and the northern part of Heusden, ruled by the court of Loon); the town was surrounded by a city wall with eight towers and canals, which, together with the three gates, were suppressed in the beginning of the 19th century. In 1700, the Latin school founded in the 12th century was transformed into a municipal college.
Coal extraction, that started in Koersel in October 1919 from a 623-m deep shaft, dramatically changed the life in Beringen, which was one of the seven mining sites in Kempen, with its port located in Paal. In 1967, the seven mines were merged into the NV Kempische Steenkoolmijnen, which did not prevent their closure. The last active mine in Beringen was closed on 28 October 1989 and transformed into the Flemish Colliery Museum.

Beringen is the birth place of the priest and poet August Cuppens (1862-1924; biography). Ordained priest in Liège in 1886, Cuppens founded with Lenaerts and Winters (the three of them being nicknamed "The Limburgian Triumvirate") the folkloric and linguistic weekly 't Daghet in den Oosten, first published on 1 February 1885. In 1899, he was appointed pastor in the small village of Loksbergen, where he started his poetry work. He invited in Loksbergen several writers and artists such as Hugo Verriest, Stijn Streuvels, Mieke Belpaire, Alice Nahon, Jef Lynen and Jozef Geurts and exchanged several letters with Guido Gezelle and Mieke Belpaire. Cuppens translated 56 poetry volumes by Gezelle into French and published himself four poetry volumes and several more poems in newspapers. Among his most famous works are the Marian song Onze-Lieve-Vrouw van Vlaanderen, written with the composer Lode de Vocht, and the occasional poem De slag der Zilveren Helmen (The battle of the Silver Helmets), written on 12 August 1914 after the battle of Halen.
The musician Ludovicus Sanctus (Lodewijk Heyligen van Beeringen, 1304-1361) was also born in Beringen. He was a very close friend of the Italian writer Petrarch, who called him "Socrat" in his letters. A Benedictine monk, Cantis served as cantor and secretary of Cardinal Giovanni Colonna in Avignon.

Beverlo is also an old Frankish domain. It belonged to the Country of Ham, which included Oostham, Kwaadmechelen, Beverlo, Heppen and Leopoldsburg. In 1795, Oostham, Kwaadmechelen and Beverlo became municipalities. Heppen and Leopoldsburg seceded from Beverlo in 1835. The Camp of Beverlo is at the origin of the creation of the town of Leopoldsburg.

Flag of Beringen

The flag of Beringen is horizontally divided yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red (ten stripes) with, in the middle, a brown bear with a black ring in muzzle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag, adopted on 13 November 1980 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by by Royal Decree signed on 11 February 1981 and published on 13 March 1981 in the Belgian official gazette.
The flag is a combination of the two components of the canting (beer means a bear in Dutch) municipal arms.

The municipal arms of Beringne are "Per pale barully of ten pieces or and gules argent a bear marron with an annulet sable in the muzzle". The yellow and red horizontal stripes recall the County of Loon, whereas the bear was already shown on the arms granted in 1362 to the town of Beringen.

Ivan Sache & Pascal Vagnat, 4 September 2006

Logo flag of Beringen


Logo flag of Beringen - Image by Ivan Sache, 30 September 2010

The municipal administration of Beringen has unveiled on 7 September 2006 its new logo and "house style".
The logo is made of a central, red area, representing Beringen downtown, surrounded by green elements representing the environment of the town and "conveying additional dynamics to the whole logo". Beneath the graphic elements is placed the motto "BERINGEN / MEER DAN MIJN STAD" ("Beringen / More than my town"), written in gray, except "MIJN", written in red.
The logo has already made its way on official documents and cars, and even on a flag (photo), to be hoisted on all municipal buildings, together with the official flag.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 1 October 2010