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Brussels (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2012-10-13 by ivan sache
Keywords: brussels | brussel | bruxelles | st. michael | buren (daniel) | ulb | torches: 2 (blue) | atomium |
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[Flag of Brussels]

Municipal flag of Brussels - Image by Santiago Dotor, 10 March 2003, logotype from the municipal website

See also:

Flag of Brussels

The municipal flag of Brussels, as flown from the town hall (a recently-restored, beautiful medieval building in the Grand Place) and other buildings, is a square, horizontally divided green-red flag, with in the middle a very large version of the municipal logotype, a stylized, disc-shaped silhouette of St. Michael trampling the devil, in dark yellow.

Santiago Dotor, 10 March 2003

A photo available on the Daedalum blog, June 2007, shows the emblem with black holding lines; the emblem is neatly inscribed within an imaginary circle.
On a flag offerred on Belgian eBay in May 2007, said to have never been used and with dimensions 140 cm x 150 cm (almost square), the emblem is smaller.

Jan Mertens, 14 March 2009

Louda's European Civic Arms [lou66] shows the arms of the town of Brussels as "Gules a Saint Michael or trampling the devil".

Filip Van Laenen, 7 September 1995

Former flags of Brussels

[Former flag of Brussels]     [Former flag of Brussels]

Former municipal flags of Brussels, c. 1900 - Images by Ivan Sache, 12 June 2005

Nouveau Larousse Illustré, Dictionnaire Universel Encyclopédique (7 volumes, published in Paris, 1898-1904) shows the flags of the main Belgian towns, then based on the traditional colours of these towns.
Two flags are shown for Brussels, the first horizontally divided red-green and the second vertically divided green-red.

Jan Martens & Ivan Sache, 12 June 2005

[Former flag of Brussels]

Former municipal flag of Brussels, c. 1930 - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 July 2001

The cover of Vexillacta [vxl] #12 (June 2001) shows a painting by Pierre Thévenet (1870-1937), entitled Bruxelles - Porte de Namur - 21 juillet 1932. The 21st of July is the National Day in Belgium. On the main building represented on the painting are hoisted:
- the flag of Belgian Congo;
- the national flag of Belgium ('Belgian square', with proportion 13:15);
- the flag of the municipality of Brussels (red with a green border);
- the flag of the municipality of Ixelles (horizontally divided green-white).

Ivan Sache, 3 July 2001

Free University of Brussels (Université Libre de Bruxelles)

[Flag of ULB]

Flag of ULB - Image by Ivan Sache, 28 June 2008

The Free* University of Brussels (ULB), founded in 1834 - only four years after the independence of Belgium -, is divided today in seven faculties (Philosophy and Literature; Law; Social, Politic and Economic Sciences [Solvay Business School]; Sciences; Medicine; Applied Sciences [Polytechnich School]) and four institutes (Public Health; Motricity Sciences; Pharmacy; European Studies). The ULB also manages the Erasmus Hospital and a network of hospitals in Wallonia.
The ULB has three campuses in Brussels (Solbosch and Plaine at Ixelles, and Anderlecht) and another four in Wallonia (Couillet and Gosselies at Charleroi, Nivelles, and Treignes at Viroinval).
In the academic year 2006-2007, the ULB catered 19,900 students, 27% of them being foreigners and 1,200 of them Ph.D students. Professors at the ULB were awarded three Nobel Prizes (Jules Bordet, Medicine, 1919; Albert Claude, Medicine, 1974; Ilya Prigogine, Chemistry, 1977) and one Fields Medal (Pierre Deligne, 1978).

*"Free" in a Belgian educational context ordinarily means not founded by the state, province, municipality... but by a non-state body (most of which are Roman Catholic); here, however, it refers to its liberal and Masonic origins and, also, academic freedom.

The flag of ULB is white with the university seal in the middle. The emblem of ULB is presented as the "torch seal", saying to have replaced "a Saint-Michael", but older. The present seal appeared indeed in 1841 and was used to seal the diplomas in 1886-1909.
The seal shows two torches crossed per saltire, surmounted by a star placed on a pentagon with 18 rays (maybe a Masonic symbol?). The motto "SCIENTIA VINCERE TENEBRAS" (To vanquish darkness by science) is placed on the rim of the seal, as well as the name of the university. On letters, the version with "ULB" should be used (diameter of the seal, 12 mm), while on the diplomas, medals and flag, the version with "UNIVERSITAS BRUXELLENSIS" should be used.
The colour of the seal is prescribed (on printed documents) as:
- Pantone 287c (100% in blue version; 35% in greyish version);
- CMYK 100-70-0-10 (35-20-0-0 in greyish version).

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 28 June 2008

Flag over the Atomium

[Flag of Atomium]

Atomium 50th anniversary flag (?) - Image by Ivan Sache, 8 May 2009

The Atomium is one of the emblematic monuments of Brussels. Designed by André Waterkeyn for the 1958 World Fair, the monument represents the unit cell of an iron crystal (magnified 165 billion times!). The structure is made of nine aluminium-coated steel spheres of 18 m in diameter and 2,400 t in weight, connected by tubes, of 23 m in length and 3.30 m in diameter, enclosing escalators. The inner design of the spheres was made by the architects André and Jean Polak.
As it happened in Paris with the Eiffel Tower, the Atomium, not expected to be kept after the World Fair, was indeed not demolished and became a symbol of the town.

On "regular days", the Belgian national flag (photo) is hoisted over the top sphere (located 102 m above the ground level).

The exhibition of the remains of the Spanish pavilion in the 1958 World Fair (7-8 June 2008) was announced with the hoisting of the Spanish flag over the relevant sphere.

On photos taken in July 2008, one of the spheres of the Atomium is surmounted by an odd "Benelux" flag (photo). The flag is in proportions 1:2, "tierced per pale" Netherlands-Belgium-Luxembourg (each third of the flag is made of the scaled version of the respective national flag). This flag was most probably part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the monument.

From 3 to 5 July 2010, the French flag was hoisted over the Atomium to celebrate Tour de France 2010. The first stage of Tour de France, 4 July, started from Rotterdam and finished in Brussels (223.5 km; winner, Alessandro Petacchi). The second stage, 5 July, started from Brussels and ended in Spa (201 km; winner, Sylvain Chavanel).
The event was reported by 7sur7, 2 July 2010. The report further says that the French flag replaced "the flag bearing the effigy of the triple presidency 'Belgium-Spain-Hungary' of the [Council of the] European Union".

Ivan Sache, 1 August 2010

Flag artwork in Brussels, by Daniel Buren

The French artist Daniel Buren set up in Paris in summer 2002 an artwork called Les couleurs : sculpture made of vertically coloured stripe flags hoisted over 15 big buildings.
According to Le Soir (26 March 2004), the Collège (Municipal Council) of Brussels has asked Buren to contribute to the revamping of the place de la Justice. Buren's artwork shall be incorporated into a larger revamping called Chemins de la Ville, drafted by the architects of the Capart bureau.
The first draft of the artwork includes 133 masts to be displayed on the whole square except the car ways (sic). Since the square is not flat, all masts won't be equally high but their elevation will be the same. The aim of the set up is to build a forest in which cars and pedestrians will have to find their way. The masts will have flags, and a special device will prevent the flags to wrap around the masts in case of wind. There will be a light on the top of each mast.
The authorization of setting up the Chemins de la Ville artwork shall be issued by the Region Brussels-Capital upon request of the municipality of Brussels.
The article in Le Soir is illustrated by a sketch of the artwork by Buren. The flags are shown with rough 3:1 proportions, with nine black vertical stripes alternating with eight white vertical stripes.

Ivan Sache, 20 July 2004