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Lochristi (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Lochristi]

Municipal flag of Lochristi - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 5 November 2006

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Presentation of Lochristi

The municipality of Lochristi (20,395 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 6,031 ha) is located 10 km north-east of Ghent. The municipality of Lochristi is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Lochristi, Beervelde, Zaffenare and Zeveneken.

The oldest known name of Lochrist is simply Lo, often written Lho, Loo or Loe, a Germanic word meaning "wood" or "clearing". Later, the monks of the St. Bavo's abbey, to which Lo belonged, added Sancti Christi to the name of the village, to distinguish it from the several other places named Lo. In the XV-XVIth century, Lo Sancti Christi was shortened to Loochristi, eventually Lochristi.

In the Middle Ages, Lochristi was located on the road from Antwerp to Lille, which followed an ancient Roman way. The village belonged to the powerful St. Bavo abbey, founded in Ghent by St. Amandus around 630. After the sack of the abbey by the Northmen in 851, the Count of Flanders promised to refound it. Later, he transferred a part of Lochristi to the St. Peter abbey, also located in Ghent. Around 1300, the St. Bavo abbey was granted again the whole of Lochristi, with the duty to develop agriculture. A big domain named Hyfte (today the borough of Hijfte) was set up. After the revolt of Ghent, Emperor Charles V closed the St. Bavo abbey in 1540; as a compensation, the last abbot, Lucas Munich, was granted the domain of Hyfte. He lived and died in the castle of Rozelaar at Lochristi In the meantime, the abbey was transferred to the Bishopric of Ghent. In the XVII-XVIIIth century, Lochristi lived in a relative peace thanks to its "hidden" location among the woods, which were more and more transformed into agricultural plots.

In 1799, the French administration created the three municipalities of Lochristi, Zaffelare, and Zeveneken. The municipality of Beervelde was erected only in 1921, merging parts of Destelbergen, Heusden, Laarne and Kalken. Lochristi lived in the XIXth century mostly from agriculture and still lives from horticulture, thanks to the boom of azalea and begonia cultivation in the 1880s, which earned to the town the nickname of the flowers' municipality (bloemengemeente).
The Beervelde Park, owned by Count Renaud de Kerchove et Denterghem, welcomes every year since 1989 in May and October more than 20,000 gardening fans during the Beervelde Garden Days. The 25-ha park was designed in 1870 in the English lanscape style.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 5 November 2006

Municipal flag of Lochristi

The municipal flag of Lochristi is quartered white and blue with a red and yellow rose in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 28 August 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 17 November 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 16 September 1988.
The four quarters symbolize the four former municipalities merged into Lochristi. The colours are taken from the municipal arms. The roses recall flower growing in Lochristi.

The municipal website shows the municipal arms, described as:
Mits een paar wijzigingenn keel drie sleutels van goud en in lazuur een leeuw, gedwarsbalkt van zeven stukken van zilver en keel, geklauwd, getongd en gekroond van goud (Per pale, gules three keys or, azur a lion argent three fesses gules langued armed and crowned gules).
They represents the arms of the two Ghent abbeys that owned Lochristi, St. Peter (keys) and St. Bavo (lion). They also recall the former arms of Beervelde and Lochristi.
As shown by Servais, the arms of Beervelde, granted by Royal Decree on 18 April 1924, had the St. Bavo's arms in their left part . The former arms of Lochristi, granted by Royal Decree on 25 September 1947, showed St. Bavo's lion.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 November 2006