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Zwaagwesteinde (The Netherlands)
Dantumadeel municipality, Fryslân province
Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
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by Jarig Bakker, 23 Aug 2003
Zwaagwesteinde - Frisian: De Westerein (in their own vernacular: de Westereen)
is a village in Dantumadeel, Fryslân. The name signifies: the western
end of Kollumerzwaag. It was a peat-diggers
village, in which Salomon Levy, a Jew from Hessen, Germany, settled at
the end of the 18th century. It is said that Salomon brought trade to Zwaagwesteinde
- however he was at the time seen as one of the people organizing the "Kollumer
Oproer" (Kollum revolt) in 1797, and executed.
In the good old days De Westereen boasted 36 pubs. In the Second World War
the village was known as "unoccupied territory".
In 1954 there were 3594 inhabitants; in 1973 4617.
In my youth it was a poor village, with a high level of unemployment.
The main labor the male population could find was in the Coöperatieve
Condensfabriek of Frico in Leeuwarden. In order to get there they had to
jump on the train, which slowed down a bit near Westereen, and at 't
febryk the train slowed down again for them to jump off. In the 1960's
the Dutch Railways presented the village with a real railway station. De
Westereen was also known for the local custom of "stekke mei de punt
fan 'e bûsdoek" - (wanna fight with the point of the handkerchief?)
- and in the point was a hidden knife...
Nickname (surprise, surprise): "Messetrekkers", knifestabbers.
De Westerein coat of arms: per fess red and green, on the cutting line a silver
fess; in chief with two pennies, in base a shuttle, all in gold; a heart shield
of gold with a black Mercury's helmet.
Flag: two equally wide horizontal stripes of red and green, with a
yellow hoist-triangle reaching 1/2 of flag length, charged with a black
cartwheel of 7/15 flag height.
The colors red and green represent heather and meadows.
The pennies are "gouden tientsjes" gold coins of 10 HFL, representing
the change from poverty to prosperity. The heart shield has the Roman god Mercury, department of trade. The silver fess is a symbol of the water
in the environment and the railway, so important for the village. The shuttle
is for the textile industry in De Westerein.
In the flag the shuttle (industry) and the helmet of Mercury (trade)
have been joined in the single symbol of the cartwheel, for transport by
dogcart (hûnekarre), the driver, the cart, the lorry, and
Source: Genealogysk Jierboekje 1994.
Encyclopedie van Friesland 1958.
Jarig Bakker, 23 Aug 2003
Zwaagwesteinde coat of arms
image from Ralf Hartemink's site.