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Buggenhout (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-10-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: buggenhout | opdorp | lion (white) | lozenges: 5 (red) |
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[Flag of Buggenhout]

Municipal flag of Buggenhout - Image by Arnaud Leroy , 28 March 2004

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Presentation of Buggenhout

The municipality of Buggenhout (13,890 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,525 ha) is located on the river Scheldt, on the historical border between Flanders and Brabant. The municipality of Buggenhout is made since 1964 of the former municipalities of Buggenhout and Opdorp.

Very few remains of the Roman and Salic (Frankish) periods have been found in Buggenhout, which indicates a very sparse population at those times. The oldest historical record of the woods named Buckenholt dates back to the XIIth century, when the lord of Aarschot bequeathed all his possessions to the abbey of Affligem, where his son had taken the cloth.
The name of Buckenholt comes from Old Saxon boka (Dutch, beuk, "beech") and holt (Dutch, hout, "wood"). Buggenhout got its name from a beech wood, the Beukenbos. This wood was famous in the Middle Ages and stretched over 470 ha; unfortunately, only 171 ha, including 151 ha owned by the state, have been preserved until now.
The history of the Beukenbos is fairly complicated. The place, which was later named, along with the neighbouring areas, the domain of Buggenhout, was an historical oddity. Since the lower Middle-Ages, Buggenhout was part both of the Duchy of Brabant and the domain of Grimbergen. Because of family quarrels and interference by the abbey of Affligem in the quarrels, the domain of Buggenhout was confiscated. The woods were incorporated to the crown domain and Buggenhout was dismembered into two domains. One of them belonged from the end of the XVIth century to 1765 to the Bournonville family, from Artois, and took the name of Buggenhout-Bournonville (today, Buggenhout-Center). The domain became a Principality in 1658. Alexander II of Bournonville was a famous general who served Spain against France and fought on all the battle fields of that time. The other part, Buggenhout-Grimbergen (today, Opstal and Briel) belonged to the fief of the lords of Grimbergen and was nominally part of Brabant. Therefore, Buggenhout was a place where the lords never stayed.
Several toponyms in Buggenhout recall the times of the monks of Affligem, such as Minne(Monniken)veld (Monk's Field), Kruisveld (Cross' Field), and Wei(Gewijd)veld (Sacred Field).

Opdorp (mentioned in 1236 as Oppendorp, open dorp, "open villag"e) was a free fief (so that no taxes were perceived there either by Flanders or Brabant), nominally belonging to the domain of Bornem. Opdorp probably belonged in the Xth century to the domain of Ghent, then to the Duchy of Flanders. In 1258, Guido of Dampierre ceded the domain to William of Grimbergen, lord of Asse, for the services he had done him. In the XVth century, after the marriage of Elizabeth of Grimbergen with Gerard of Marselaer, the fief of Opdorp was incorporated into the domain of Marselaer until 1722.


Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 28 March 2004

Description of the flag of Buggenhout

The flag of Buggenhout is vertically divided blue-yellow with a coat of arms in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 19 March 1990, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 12 May 1990 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 4 January 1995.

The coat of arms shown on the flag of Buggenhout represents the two components of the municipality, Opdorp and Buggenhout.
The heraldic elements retained to represent Opdorp are not taken from the complicated coat of arms of the former municipality of Opdorp but are the arms of the former lords of Opdorp, the Marselaer family, "Argent five lozenges conjoined in bend gules".
Buggenhout is represented by the arms of the former and today's municipality of Buggenhout, designed after the arms of the Bournonville family:
Van sabel met een zilveren leeuw gekroond, gewapend en getongd van goud met dubbele schuinkruiselings geplaatste staart, het schild getopt met een kroon met vijf fleurons (Sable a lion argent crowned armed and langued or...).

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 28 March 2004