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Blankenberge (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2016-11-05 by ivan sache
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Flag of Blankenberge - Image by Eugene Ipavec, 24 July 2011

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Presentation of Blankenberge

The municipality of Blankenberge (19,362 inhabitants in 2015; 1,741 ha; municipal website) is located on the shore of the North Sea, 20 km north-east of Ostend and 10 km north of Bruges. The former municipality of Uitkerke was incorporated to Blankenberge in 1970.

Blankenberge was once a small fishermen's village. Because of its rather strategic position, the village was often plundered and destroyed, when it was not flooded by the sea.
In the 19th century, Blankenberge was among the first Belgian sea resorts visited by tourists. The first hotels were built around 1850. Blankenberge is now a popular sea-resort, with a 3-km long sand beach, whose width reaches 350 m at low tide. The famous pier of Blankenberge, built in 1933, has also a length of 350 m. The former fishing port was transformed into a marina were up to 750 boats can moor.
The oldest civil building of the town is the ancient Town Hall, built in 1680 using material from a former Spanish fortress. The Paravang (from French paravent, "a windscreen"), an elegant windscreen with benches located alongside the Léopold park, was built in 1908. Its roof was very attractively designed in neo-gothic style with glazed tiles and shell-shaped decoration.
Other places of interest in Blankenberge are the Dairy Museum (Zuivelmuseum, the only permanent museum of that kind in the Low Countries; website) and, last but not least, the Casino.

Every year on the first week-end of May, some 10,000 walkers meet in Blankenberge for the International Blankenberge Two-Days Walk of Flanders, sanctioned by the International Marching League. Marked routes of 6, 14, 24 and 42 km (marathon) are proposed to the walkers. In each little town the walkers are welcome at the cafés and taverns, and many stop to enjoy them.

Ivan Sache, 22 August 2005

Flag of Blankenberge

The flag of Blankenberge (photo) is vertically divided black-white-black (1:2:1) with the municipal shield of arms in the middle. The flag hoisted on the Town Hall (photo) has very large arms with seemingly equally broad stripes and a different rendition of the dunes.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag, adopted on 11 March 1987 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 October 1987 by the Executive of Flanders and published on 16 September 1988 in the Belgian official gazette.

According to Servais [svm55], the municipal arms of Blankenberge were granted on 9 January 1841. The three mountains make the arms canting (in Dutch, Blankenberge means "white / clear mountains"). These arms, first mentioned in 1697, might have been derived from the arms of the Van Borssele family, "Sable a fess argent", still used as its arms by the Dutch municipality of Borsele (Zeeland).
The Gelre Armorial shows "Sable a fess argent" for Wulfart IV Van Borsele, lord of Vere (Die He. v. d. Veir, #1022, folio 83v) and Nicolas Van Borsel, lord of Brigdam (H. Clays v. Borsel, #1026, folio 83v); "Sable a fess argent in chief three mullets of the same" for Franck Van Borsele (H. Vranc v. Borsel, #1024, folio 83v), "Sable a fess argent a label gules" for Philippe Van Borsel, lord of Cortkeene (H. Phes v. Borsel, #1027, folio 83v); and "Sable a fess argent a saltire gules overall" for Baesdorp (Borsel) (H. Gens v. Baerstorp, #1107, folio 86r).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 25 May 2007

De Vrije Noordzeezeilers

The burgee of De Vrije Noordzeezeilers (VNZ, The Free North Sea Sailers) is orange with a black lozenge positioned wedge-like bearing a white four-pointed star perhaps suggesting the main points of the compass (image).
The whole emblem seems to appear on an orange squarish flag.

Jan Mertens, 6 July 2007

Royal Scarphout Yacht Club Blankenberge

The Royal Scarphout Yacht Club Blankenberge (RSYB), founded in 1955, is open to sailers and motor boaters. It is situated, strategically, near the yacht (former fishing) harbour. Scarphout is the name of a medieval village engulfed by the sea.
The burgee of RSYB (
website), is horizontally divided white-black (the municipal colours); the municipal arms, with blue initials RSYB added to the white (silver) stripe, are placed in the centre of the flag, while a fimbriated blue dividing line, straight to the left of the arms and wavy to the right, is added; in the upper hoist is a royal crown in full colours.

Jan Mertens, 4 May 2007