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Haaltert (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-12-22 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Haaltert]

Municipal flag of Haaltert - Image by Ivan Sache, 16 October 2001

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Presentation of Haaltert and its villages

The municipality of Haaltert (17,442 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,030 ha) is located 6 km south of Aalst. The municipality of Haaltert is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Haaltert, Denderhoutem, Heldergem and Kerksken, together with the village of Terjoden, formerly part of the municipality of Erembodegem (itself incorporated to Aalst in 1976).

Haaltert was mentioned for the first time in 1046, as Haaltert, in a document by Engelbert d'Oisy, who was ordered by the Pope to found a chapter of 12 canons in the St. Gorik church. This wealthy chapter was transferred in 1495 to the St. Martin church of Aalst.
The Land van Haaltert was mentioned in 1277; later, the Duke of Brabant granted the region to the lords of Rotselaer and the Country of Haaltert was renamed Land van Rotselaer. Jan van Rotselaer was the first lord in 1279. The Country of Rotselaer included the villages forming the today's municipality of Haaltert, together with the villages of Aaigem and Vlekkem, today part of the municipality of Erpe-Mere. There were three municipal courts in Haaltert (with jurisdiction on Kerksken), Denderhoutel and Heldergem.

Denderhoutem was mentioned for the first time in 1096 as Holthem, in the aforementioned cartularium. The village of Herlinkhove remained independent until 1807. In the XIIth century, the local lords, for instance Gosuinus (1132) and Waltherus (1150), bore the title of lords of Holthem. The name was changed to Tenrehoutem ("the woods near the river Dender") in the XVth century. The inhabitants of Denderhoutem are nicknamed the turfboeren ("the peat farmers"); in 1830, De Potter mentions indeed a peat bog covering 5 ha in Denderhoutem.

Heldergem was mentioned for the first time in 1096, as Heldreghem, in the cartularium of the St. Peter (later St. Adrian) abbey of Geraardsbergen, when Bishop of Cambrai Manas transferred the rights on the church of Denderhoutem and its dependencies of Heldergem and Iddergem to the abbey (Altare videlicit de Holthem cum appenditiis suis Heldreghem et Ydrighem). Several goods were later transferred to the abbey of Anchin, that still owned 34 ha of land in Heldergem in 1650.

Kerksken is an etymologic mystery. Some say the name of the village comes from kleine kerk, "a small church", whereas other prefer the Merovingian origin kerk hem. The place was indeed already settled in the Merovingian period.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 9 July 2007

Municipal flag of Haaltert

The municipal flag of Haaltert is white with three lions, with blue tongue and claws, placed 2 and 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 29 November 1977, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 1 July 1986 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The municipal website confirms that the new municipality of Haaltert retained the arms of the former municipality of Haaltert. These arms were granted by Royal Decree on 24 February 1818 (Dutch) and again on 12 August 1843 (Belgian).
Servais says that the arms are "derived" from the arms of the Country of Rotselaer, quartered with the Van Boelare arms on the seal used by the court of Haaltert-Kerksem in 1307. The Dutch College of Arms granted the three lions on a white field from the Rotselaer banner, and not the three rooks of the Rotselaer family.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 9 July 2007