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Hechtel-Eksel (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2017-04-16 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Hechtel-Eksel]

Municipal flag of Hechtel-Eksel - Image by Jarig Bakker, 9 October 2001

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Presentation of Hechtel-Eksel

The municipality of Hechtel-Eksel (11,517 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 7,670 inhabitants) is located in Kempen. The municipality was established in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of Hechtel and Eksel.

Hechtel was mentioned for the first time in 1160 as Hectala, a Germanic word for a hedge (in Dutch, haag). Hechtel and Eksel belonged to the County of Loon, incorporated to the Principality of Liège in 1366. The sharing of the moors among the villages was a matter of dispute, which was eventually solved by a Decree signed by the Prince-Bishop of Liège on 8 March 1745.
Hechtel served as a battlefield in 1702 in the beginning of the War of Spanish Succession and in 1831 during the Dutch attack of the young Belgian state. In September 1944, a bloody battle opposed in Hechtel the withdrawing German army to the allied forces; the fighting lasted 7 days, killing 39 villagers, burning 123 houses and severely damaging 154 other, so that a British officer nicknamed Hechtel "the Little Caen".

Eksel was mentioned for the first time in 700 as Ochinsala, after which the hamlet of Hoksent was also named. St. Willibrordus built a chapel in Hoksent on a piece of land granted by the nun Berthilindis on 27 July 710; the today's chapel of Hoksent was built in the beginning of the 17th century. Eksel was known for its teuten, the famous pedlars from Kempen, who built wealthy houses; they were 35 teuten registered in Eksel in the early 19th century.

Ivan Sache, 15 July 2007

Municipal flag of Hechtel-Eksel

The flag of Hechtel-Eksel is vertically divided black-white with the yellow letters H and E placed close to the middle of the flag in the black and white fields, respectively.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel[w2v02]>, the flag, adopted on 9 August 1984 by the Municipal Council, is precribed by a Decree adopted on 7 May 1985by the Executive of Flanders and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The two stripes stand for the two former municipalities of Hechtel and Eksel, which are also represented by their initials. The colours come from the arms.

The former arms of Eksel are "Bendy argent and sable of six pieces, the bned sable charged with the yellow letters E, X and L, respectively". According to Servais [svm55], the arms, granted by Royal Decree on 23 October 1905, are based on a municipal seal dating from 1625. The origin of the bends is unknown; the letters form a kind of rebus for the name of the village.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache,