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Kruibeke (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-06-25 by ivan sache
Keywords: kruibeke | bazel | rupelmonde |
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Flag of Kruibeke - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 12 August 2007

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Presentation of Kruibeke

The municipality of Kruibeke (15,328 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,342 ha: municipal website) is located in the region of Waasland, ten kilometers south-west of Antwerp, on the left bank of the Scheldt. The municipality of Kruibeke was established in 1976 as the merger of the former municipalities of Kruibeke (7,189 inh.), Bazel (5,104 inh.) and Rupelmonde (3,034 inh.).

Kruibeke was once a hamlet depending on Bazel. The autonomous domain of Cruebeke emerged in the 13th century; in 1262, it was listed among the possessions of the Van Ghendt family, residing in the castle of Altena. The castle was revamped in 1380 and defended by lord Mark Van Schoonvelde against the Ghent militia. Burned in 1584, the castle was rebuilt ten years after. Later transferred to the Counts of Flanders, Kruibeke was purchased in 1547 by the merchant Kaspar Douchy, from Antwerp, who swapped it for another domain. The new owner of the domain quickly transferred it to his nephew Antoon Douchy, who had to sell it in 1592 to pay his debts. Kruibeke was purchased by the Lafranchy family, a noble Italian family from Pisa, whose members lived in the castle of Altena until 1850. From 1946 to 2000, the castle was used as convalescent home by the Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul from Beveren, who transferred it in 2000 to the Brothers of Charity of Ghent; the castle is used today as a college of the International Institute Canon Triest, where psychiatry, ergotherapy and management are taught to some 20 novices.

Ivan Sache, 11 August 2007

Flag of Kruibeke

The flag of Kruibeke is vertically divided red-white with a white rising unicorn in the red field.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag, adopted on 2 September 1987 by the Municipal Council, is precribed by a Decree issued on 17 November 1987 by the Executive of Flanders and published on 16 September 1998 in the Belgian official gazette .
The flag is a quasi banner of the municipal arms, the unicorn having been moved down from the crest of the arms to the red field of the flag.

The arms of Kruibeke are "Per fess gules and or. The shield surmounted by an unicorn issuant argent". Servais [svm55a] shows the former arms of Kruibeke, granted by Royal Decree on 16 February 1847, confirming a (Dutch) Royal Decree from 1818, as "Vert an unicorn argent". The origin and meaning of the unicorn are unknown to Servais.


Former flag of Kruibeke - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 August 2007

A. Maris (Tidjschrift Heemkundige Kring Wissekerke, 3-1978/2) claims that the unicorn, with a horsetail argent, comes from the arms of the Lanfranchi, lords of Kruibeke from 1594 to the French Revolution. The crest of the Lanfranchi arms was a white rising unicorn with golden horns, mane and hoofs.
Maris adds that the former flag of Kruibeke was vertically divided green-white, which explains the colours of the former arms of Kruibeke.
The arms of Lanfranchi are "Per fess gules and argent"; the Lanfranchi were from Pisa, nobility granted by Decree on 15 February 1585 and 25 May 1592. Therefore, it is obvious that the modern arms of Kruibeke are the arms used by the Lanfranchi when lords of Kruibeke.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 11 August 2007

Former municipality



Former flag of Bazel - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 August 2007

Bazel is a still rural village built around Astrid Square On the square, there is a building, today housing an inn called De Eenhoorn (The Unicorn); although its exact date of building is unknown, the building played a significant role in the battle of Bazel on 16 June 1452. The building was then the seat of the Court of Justice and once the meeting place of the High College of the Waasland. The battle of Bazel was part of the Ghent Uprising (1449-1453) against Duke of Burgundy Philip the Good; the Burgundian troops stayed in Rupelmonde, why the Ghent militia, led by Wouter Leenknecht, stayed in Bazel. During the withdrawal, a militian from Ghent killed with his spear the Duke's bastard son, Corneille of Burgundy, aka Cornelius of Beveren. As a retaliation, the Duke ordered the slaughter of the 2,000 prisoners and the plundering of the whole Waasland.

According to A. Maris (Tidjschrift Heemkundige Kring Wissekerke, 3-1978/2), Bazel used a vertically divided blue-yellow flag.
The arms of Bazel are "Azur two keys argent per saltire in base a turnip proper". According to Servais, the arms, granted by Royal Decree on 15 June 1853, are based on a municipal seal from the 18th century. The keys stand for the patron saint of Bazel, St. Peter, while the turnip represents Waasland.

The story of the Waasland turnip is told by Servais as follows (quoting the translation from the International Civic Heraldry website):

Emperor Charles V once visited the town of Sint Niklaas and obviously a crowd gathered to see the emperor. Among these was a small farmer holding a huge turnip, which he wanted to hand to the emperor. The guards, however, prevented the farmer to reach the emperor. The emperor, however, noticed that something was happening and asked the farmer what he had in his hands. The farmer answered that he had a giant fruit and that he wanted to give it to the emperor. The emperor was intrigued and let the farmer pass the guards. The emperor accepted the turnip and awarded the farmer with a large purse.
Seeing the reward for a simple turnip, a local horsebreeder imagined the award he would fetch if he gave the emperor a good horse. So he offered the emperor a beautiful horse. The emperor responded, saying that for a beautiful horse, he would donate one of his precious possessions, and handed the breeder the turnip. Embarrassed the breeder had to accept the turnip, which ever since has been the symbol of the Waasland and its fertile soil.

Ivan Sache, 11 August 2007



Former flag of Rupelmonde - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 August 2007

Rupelmonde is located on the confluence (mond, lit., "mouth") of the Rupel and of the Scheldt. This strategic site was already settled by the Prehistoric tribes and the Romans. In 1071, Count of Flanders Robert the Friesian granted a charter to Rupelmonde, which was confirmed and increased in 1271 by Countess Margaretha of Constantinople: the burghers of Rupelmonde were allowed to set up a toll on the Rupel and the Scheldt. The town was so wealthy that Count Louis of Nevers allowed in 1330 the set up of a weekly market, which remained the single of that kind all over Waasland. Accordingly, all goods to be sold in Waasland had to be first purchased on the market of Rupelmonde. This privilege was extended to fish caught in the Rupel and the Scheldt, and beer, whose production was not allowed less than "two hours" from the town. The seamen from Rupelmonde could load and unload freely in Antwerp, but there was no reciprocity. The burghers were exempted from any toll all over Flanders and Brabant. Rupelmonde was therefore one of the earliest free municipalities in Flanders, with the title of poorte ende Vreyheit (free town).
Such a wealthy town could only attract warriors and plunders of that ilk; indeed, Rupelmonde never recovered from the 16th-17th centuries troubles that ruined the Low Countries. The town blossomed again in the 19th century after the industrial revolution; brickyards and salt marshes developed around the town, while other industries, such as brewery and lace making, became significant, too. However, the municipal territory was too small to host big industries, so that the only significant one today is shipbuilding.

Rupelmonde is the birth village of the mathematician and geographer Gerardus Mercator (Gerard de Cremer, 1512-1594). Mercator studied at the University of Leuven and published his first map, depicting the Holy Land, in 1537, followed the next year by a world map. Appointed Professor of Cosmography in Duisburg in 1552, he published in 1569 the 18 folios of the cylindric map projection known as "Mercator projection", the first map to give an accurate representation of the outlines of the coasts.
[Mercator's maps]

According to A. Maris (Tidjschrift Heemkundige Kring Wissekerke, 3-1978/2), Rupelmonde (like Bazel) used a vertically divided blue-yellow flag.
The arms of Rupelmonde, granted by Royal Decree on 30 January 1840 are "Azure a double-headed eagle or, at the fess point an escutcheon or a castle azure surmounted by a sword of the same". They were designed after an old municipal seal, whose matrix is kept in the Oudheidkundige Kring van het Land van Waas Museum in Sint-Niklaas. The seal is inscribed in Latin: SIGILLUM + CIVIT. +ET + PORTUS + RUPEL-MONDANAE, "Seal of the town and port of Rupelmonde".
The double-eagle recalls that Waasland, including Rupelmonde, belonged to Imperial Flanders (Rijks-Vlaanderen), nominally part of the Holy Roman Empire.
The castle is the once powerful countal castle of Rupelmonde, depicted in Sanderus' Verheerlyckt Vlaendren.
The sword recalls the power of the Count of Flanders; the castle of Rupelmonde was after 1241 the main prison in Waasland.

Ivan Sache, 11 August 2007