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De Pinte (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-01-27 by ivan sache
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Flag of De Pinte - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 28 November 2005

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Presentation of De Pinte

The municipality of De Pinte (10,273 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,798 ha; municipal website) is located 10 km south-west of Ghent. The municipality of De Pinte was established in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of De Pinte and Zevergem.

The early development of De Pinte is mostly associated with the St. Peter's abbey in Ghent, which owned two-thirds of the current area of the town (885 ha). The other owners were the lords of Nazareth. The center of the abbey estate was the fortified farm of Scheldevelde. The name of Scheldevelde (lit., "the fields near the Scheldt") originally designed a big domain; it is used on the charts of the St. Peter's abbey dated 814-844 for the area stretching along the Scheldt southwards from Ghent up to Kruishoutem. The name of Scheldevelde was later given to different estates in this area, such as the farm of Scheldevelde in De Pinte, the domain of Wederscheldevelde in Astene-Nazareth and the domain of Scheldevelde in Nazareth. In De Pinte, Scheldevelde was mentioned in the 13th century as the name of a desert moor, probably a part from the deteriorated royal Carolingian forest known as Scheldeholt, that once spread from Ghent to Sint-Eloois-Vijve. A not very successful farm was set up in a clearing in the center of Scheldeveld in 1259. A more successful domain was set up in the 18th century with a central farm, systematic clearing around it and a radial network of seven paths. After the French Revolution, the domain was purchased by F.N. Speelman, who sold it to the De Potter-Surmont family. In 1846, the old farm was replaced by a castle built in late classic style by architect L. Minard. Zoé Borluut-DePotter bequeathed in 1858 the castel to the Charity Bureau of Nazareth, with the obligation of using it as a religious hospital housing no less than six old men and women from the hamlet of De Pinte.

De Pinte was indeed for a long time a hamlet of the domain of Nazareth, itself depending on the County of Flanders. In 1652, King Philip IV, Count of Flanders, made of Nazareth a higher domain, with full rights of exercizing justice granted to the lord of Nazareth.
After the French Revolution, the struggle for municipal independence started in De Pinte. On 7 April 1829, a first petition was sent to King William I, asking for the creation of a new municipality, to be named Willemsdorpe. The administrative procedure was stopped by the Belgian revolution in 1830 and was postponed until 1865, when a new petition was sent to the authorities. The Royal Decree prescribing the secession of De Pinte from Nazareth and the set up of the separate municipality of De Pinte was released on 2 June 1868. The former hamlet was known as Klein Nazareth (Little Nazareth) or De Pinte, after the name of a pub located there. A map dated 1662 shows a building labelled Het Pijntken on the corner of the Pintestraat and the Bommelstraat; the building is today a center for mentally handicapped people.
According to Grand Robert de la Langue Française, the word pint (in French pinte) comes from popular Latin pincta, "a painted, that is marked [liquid measure]"; the classic Latin root is picta, from the verb pingere, which gave in French peindre, "to paint".

De Pinte is located in the Vlaamse Zandstreek, that is the Flemish Sandy Belt. The first horticultural estates were set up there in the 19th century, for instance the tree nursery Verhoost and the begonia glasshouses of J. Anthierens and T. Van Speybroeck. The town also developed after the building of the Ghent-Kortrijk railway in 1839, with a junction to Oudenaarde added in 1857. From 1935 onwards, the horticultural plots located between the station and the village were sold by lots and the town was transformed into a nice villa suburbs of Ghent.

Zevergem is one of the oldest so-called oeverdorpen ("villages on the bank") of the Scheldeveld, known since 967 as Sewaringhem, "the family domain of Saiwirwar". The village belonged until 1232 to the local family Van Severghem, which exchanged it against domains in Munte and Balemgem with the St. Peter's abbey. It was incorporated into the powerful domain of Welden, made a County in 1716 for F.H. Volkaert. The center of the domain was successively known has "Hof te Seevergem", "Hof te Weldene" and eventually "Kasteel van Welden" (Castle of Welden).
The inhabitants of Zevergem are nicknamed tsuurkenszuipers, "half pint drinkers"; van Zevergem komen; lit., "to come from Zevergem", means to utter gossips.

Ivan Sache, 28 November 2005

Flag of De Pinte

The flag of De Pinte is horizontally divided red-white with the municipal shield of arms in the center.
According to the Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag, adopted on 30 March 1982 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Decree issued on 3 June 1985 by the Executive of Flanders and published on 8 July 1986 in the Belgian official gazette and, again, on 17 October 1986 (correction).
The colors of the flag are taken from the arms.

The arms of the new municipality of De Pinte, adopted at the same dates as the municipal flag, are those of the former municipality of Zevergem.
The origin of the arms of Zevergem is described on the village website. A letter sent on 5 December 1782 by the Bailiff, the Mayor and the Magistrates of the parish and domain of Zeeverghem to the feudal court of the Oude Burcht in Ghent bears a seal with the arms of the St. Peter's abbey in Ghent. In 1956, the municipality of Zevergem required to be granted arms different from those of the abbey's Prior and asked permission to use the arms of the Volkaert family, once the owner of the domain of Welden. The Royal Decree of 30 May 1958 granted those arms to Zevergem, with the following description: "Gules three eight-pointed stars or placed 2 and 1 and surrounded with twelve billets argent, four in chief, three in the middle of the shield placed 1 and 2 and five in the point of the shield. The shield is surmounted by a crown [...]. The whole is supported by two lions or langued gules."

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 28 November 2005