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Retie (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2011-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: retie | ermines (black) | label (blue) | berthout |
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[Flag of Retie]

Municipal flag of Retie - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 14 October 2007

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Presentation of Retie

The municipality of Retie (10,485 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,839 ha) is located in Kempen. In 1976, the hamlet of Schoonbroek was transferred from Oud-Turhnout to Retie.

Retie was probably Retus' domain in the Gallo-Roman times, whose name of Retiacum was later shortened to Retium and eventually Retie. In the 12th century, Retie was part of the Country of Geel, ruled by the lords of Grimbergen, the famous Berthout. In 1264, Hendrik II, aka Hendrik of Oosterlo after the name of his castle located near Geel, transferred the rights on the church of Retie to the abbey of Tongerlo. Retie became an independent domain in 1332.

The villagers of Retie are nicknamed kortoren, "short ears". In the County of Flanders and Duchy of Brabant, it was common to cut or shorten the ears of those caught for theft for the second time. The nickname is recalled by the bronze sculpture De Retierse Kortoor by Gerd Vercaigne, placed near the entrance of the old presbytery of Retie.

Retie is famous for its old linden, already mentioned in 1652, located on the village square near the church. Edward Sneyers does not exclude that the tree could have been planted in 1332 to celebrate the independence of Retie. The municipal council used to meet under the tree in the past, as did the burghers during the yearly jaargeding. The tree with a nearly horizontal canopy was given an iron support in 1891, completed in 1988 with wood. The tree was listed as "landscape" by Royal Decree on 19 February 1951 and as "monument" by Royal Decree on 2 June 1988.

Source: Heemkundige Kring Zeven Neten Retie website

Ivan Sache, 14 October 2007

Municipal flag of Retie

The municipal flag of Retie is vertically divided yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow-red-yellow, with a canton ermine and a blue label placed in the upper part of the flag, overlapping the canton and the stripes.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 18 May 1982, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 5 November 1984 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Van evers en heiligen. Wapens en vlaggen van de gemeenten in de provincie Antwerpen [pbd98], the arms of Retie were granted by Royal Decree on 26 February 1851 and confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 1 March 1993. They were bore by Gerard of Duffel, lord of Retie in 1331/1332. A bastard of Hendrik Berthout, lord of Geel, Gerard added the label to his father's arms as a mark of cadency. These arms are shown on the oldest known municipal seal of Retie, from the 14th century.
The municipal flag of Geel is similar to the flag of Retie, but without the label.

Servais [svm55a] explains the mythical origin of the arms of Berthout as follows:
In the 12th century, a lordbBerthout helped the King of Aragon in his struggle against the Moors. He fought there three times; the first time, he was rewarded with an estate and the title of provincial governor, the second time he was rewarded with the King's daughter, but refused both and went back to Flanders. The third time, the King asked Berthout what he would like as a reward. Berthout asked for the right to bear the arms of Aragon and was granted them with three pales instead of four, celebrating his three victories over the Moors.

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".

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 14 October 2007