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Lille (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2012-09-05 by ivan sache
Keywords: lille | st. peter (yellow) | key (yellow) |
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[Flag of Lille]

Municipal flag of Lille - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 19 December 2005

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Presentation of Lille

The municipality of Lille (15,628 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,809 ha) is located in Kempen, south-west of Turnhout. The municipality of Lille is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Lille (5,093 inh.; 1,847 ha), Gierle (4,166 inh.; 1,854 ha), Poederlee (2,536 inh.; 1,145 ha) and Wechelderzande (3,531 inh.; 1,091 ha).
The capital of northern France is also called Lille, but its Dutch name is Rijsel.

Very little is known on the early history of Lille. The oldest mention of Lille dates back to 1123, whereas Wechelderzande and Poederlee were mentioned in 1187 and Gierle in 1259. Under the first nine Dukes of Brabant (from Godfried I to Jan III), Lille, Wechelderzande and Gierle belonged to the ducal domain.
In 1332-1333, Jan III sold his rights of use to the villagers. Until 1822, the moors and woods remained a common property, used by the villagers for peet extraction, hay mowing and sheep grazing. The today's municipal woods are a relic from that period.
In 1347, Jan III's daughter, Maria, married Reinoud of Gelre. She received the Country of Turnhout as a compensation for the unpaid part of her dowry; the Country of Turnhout was made of the free domain of Turnhout and of thirteen villages, including Lille, Wechelderzande and Gierle. On 25 July 1356, Johanna of Brabant made of the Country an hereditary feudal domain, which existed until the French Revolution. Maria died in 1399 and the domain was retroceded to the Duke of Brabant; it was later granted by Emperor Charles V to his sister Maria of Hungary as her widow's rent. Philip II pawned several parts of the domain to refill the state coffers. Lille, Wechelderzande and Vlimmeren were owned by the fabulously wealthy Scheltz family. After the Twelve Years' Truce, the Country of Turnhout was reunited by Filips-Willem of Orange. After his death, the whole domain was retroceded once again to the Duchy of Brabant. Philip IV pawned six villages, including Lille, Gierle and Wechelderzande to Jan de Proost, who built the beautiful castle of Wechelderzande. Following the treaty of Munster (1648), the Country of Turnhout was given back to the Orange-Nassau family. After a dispute between the family and Prussia, the Country was allocated to Prussia; in 1711, Empress Maria-Theresia, who was also Duchess of Brabant, purchased it and offerred it to her favorite Emanuel Tellez de Sylva Menezes et Castro. The Country was sold in 1768 to the Counts de Pestre de Seneffe.
The inhabitants of Lille are nicknamed Krawaten. The nickname recalled that farmers from Lille killed a Croatian officer and his mercenaries in the marshes of Lille in 1625.

Poederlee never belonged to the Country of Turnhout but was an independent domain. The first known lord of Poederlee is Walterus de Puderla (October 1209). The lords of Poederlee lived in a fortified farm surrounded by woods and located on the river Aa. The van Poederlee were an ancient lineage of knights dating back to the early years of the Duchy of Brabant. They owned the domain until c. 1309, and were succeeded by the van Vriesele family. After a marriage, Poederlee was transferred to the powerful Brimeu family in 1459. On 26 October 1536, Jacob van Brimeu announced that "his farm in Poederlee had burnt down." In the beginning of the XVIth century, the lord of Poederlee was Philippe Snoij, whose heiress Walburga married Philippe van Steenhuys, lord of Hers and Chancellor of Brabant, for which Poederlee was upgraded to a Barony in 1653. The last owner of Poederlee was the d'Olmen de Poederlee family, which was expelled during the French Revolution but kept the title of Baron van Poederlee until its extinction in 1928.

Source: Municipal website, after Nico Paepen

Ivan Sache, 19 December 2005

Municipal flag of Lille

The municipal flag of Lille is vertically divided blue-yellow-blue (1:2:1) with the municipal coat of arms in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag and arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 9 October 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 2 December 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.

The municipal arms of Lille are made of a blue shield with St. Peter holding a key, all yellow. The main church of Lille is the St. Peter church and the town is often called Sint-Pieters-Lille to distinguish it from Sint-Huibrechts-Lille (a former municipality incorporated into Neerpelt in 1976).

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 9 December 2005