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Niel (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: niel | letter: n (yellow) | berthout |
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[Flag of Niel]

Municipal flag of Niel - Image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg , 7 September 2007

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Presentation of Niel

The municipality of Niel (8,922 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 527 ha) is located south of Antwerp, on the northern (right) bank of river Rupel.

Niel was mentioned for the first time in 1150. Until the 1970s, it was known for its bricks and shoes. The industrial decline led to reclaim by nature of several abandoned places and clay pits, so that Niel is known today as a green town.

Ivan Sache, 7 September 2007

Municipal flag of Niel

The flag of Niel is vertically divided yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow (seven stripes) with a yellow letter "n" in the top of the first red stripe.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 30 December 1986, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 6 June 1989 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 November 1989.
The flag is a quasi-banner of the municipal arms, the letter "n" being used as the crest on the arms, as it was already used on a XIVth-century seal.

According to Servais, the arms of Niel were granted by Royal Decree on 23 June 1877. They are based on the arms of the famous Berthout family, and differ from the arms of the neighbouring municipality of Mortsel only by the "n" crest, so that the flag of Niel differs from the flag of Mortsel only by the letter "n".

The Gelre Armorial shows several Berthout coat of arms:
- Berthout, "Die He. (the Lord) van Mechelen", 809, folio 72v: "Or three pales gules";
- Henri VII Berthout, "Die He. van Duffel", 833, folio 73v: "Or three pales gules (Berthout) a franc canton ermine";
- Jean de Berlaer (Berthout), "Die He. van Helmunt" (Helmont), 838, folio 73v: "Argent three pales gules (Berlaer)",
- Guillaume Berthout de Duffel, "H. Willem v. Duffel", 893, folio 75v; "Or three pales gules a franc canton ermine a crescent sable".

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 7 September 2007