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Tessenderlo (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-12-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: tessenderlo | st. martin (yellow) |
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[Flag of Tessenderlo]

Municipal flag of Tessenderlo - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 6 May 2005

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Presentation of Tessenderlo

The municipality of Tessenderlo (16,999 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,139 ha) is located in the region of Kempen, close to the borders with the provinces of Antwerp and Flemish Brabant. The municipality of Tessenderlo is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Tessenderlo, Engsbergen, Hulst and Schoot.

Tessenderlo was mentioned for the first time in 1135, as Tessenderlon. The long name of the place was often shortened, especially in colloquial use: Senderloo, Loe, Loo and Looi. The inhabitants of the town are called "Looienaaren".
The popular etymology claims that Tessenderlo was named after the inhabitants of Kempen in the Gallo-Roman times, the Taxandrians. Tessenderlo as "Taxandria lauha" would mean the bushy moor settled by the Taxandrians. In the Middle Ages, the settlement increased with the foundation of new villages, such as Schoot, Engsbergen, Hulst and Schoonhees. The domain belonged to the Principality of Liège after the Principality had incorporated the County of Loon, and to the St. Servaas chapter in Maastricht, later succeeded by the Beguine convent of Diest. However, the main land owner in Tessenderlo was, from 1135 onwards, the abbey of Averbode, which built cattle farms. The town significantly developed at the end of the 19th century with industrialization.

Source: Municipal website

Tessenderlo is the site of a big chemical plant, which belongs to the Tessenderlo Group website.
Tessenderlo Group is one of the main producers in the world for potassium sulphate and sulfur-based liquid fertilizers. With a production capacity of approximately 1,000,000 tonnes of sulphates in its production sites of Tessenderlo and Ham, Tessenderlo Group occupies the second place in the world. Tessenderlo Group's subsidiary Tessenderlo Kerley Inc., located in Phoenix, Arizona (USA), is a world leader in the production of sulfur-derived liquid fertilizers. Tessenderlo Group is the sixth biggest producer of PVC (polyvynyl chloride) in Europe; monomeric vlnyl chloride (MVC), the base of PVC, is produced in Tessenderlo.

The athlet Tia Hellebaut (b. 1978 in Antwerp) lives and sometimes trains in Tessenderlo. She won the gold medal in high jump at the European Championships 2006 (Gothenburg; 2.03 m) and at the Olympic Games 2008 (Beijing; 2.05 m) ahead of the Croat Blanka Vlašić, who had remained undefeated for more than 30 contests. Tia is the first Belgian woman and the third Belgian athlete (after Gaston Reiff on 5,000 m in 1948 and Gaston Roelants on 3,000 m steeplechase in 1961) awarded an Olympic gold medal in athletics. On 5 December 2008, she announced her retirement for competition on 5 December 2008.

Ivan Sache, 5 December 2008

Municipal flag of Tessenderlo

The municipal flag of Tessenderlo is a square flag, horizontally divided blue-yellow, with St. Martin giving half of his cloak to a lame beggar, all in yellow, in the upper left corner of the flag.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag and arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 27 October 1992, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 20 July 1993 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 21 June 1994.
The colours of the flag are taken from the arms.

According to the municipal websiste, St. Martin is the patron saint of Tessenderlo. For years, the St. Martin church, built in the 15th century, has been the only church in the town. Its choir stand, often called a stone lace, is unique in Limburg.
The arms of Tessenderlo are officially described as In lazuur een Sint-Maarten met een kreupele bedelaar geplaatst op een grond, het geheel van goud (Azure, a St. Martin with a lame beggar on ground, all gold).
On the flag, the ground is omitted but the beggar's crutch is still visible.

Following Tia Hellebaut's gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, RTL made the inevitable report in Tessenderlo, showing the inevitable local fans and the inevitable admirers that came "from Antwerp to Limburg" to pay a visit to the town. At the end of the footage, we see a large, golden statue of St. Martin and the poor, which is very accurately reproduced on the municipal flag of Tessenderlo. The statue must be seen near the St. Martin church.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 24 August 2008