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Wijnegem (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2011-11-12 by ivan sache
Keywords: wijnegem | saltire: engrailed (yellow) | grapes: 4 (yellow) | roelants |
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[Flag of Wijnegem]

Municipal flag of Wijnegem - Image by Filip van Laenen, 5 October 2001

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Presentation of Wijnegem

The municipality of Wijnegem (8,890 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 786 ha) is located just east of the municipality of Antwerp.

Wijnegem was mentioned for the first time in 1161, when Bishop of Cambrai Nicholas transferred the rights on the church of Broechem and its dependencies of Oelegem and Wijnegem to the abbey of Tongerlo.
Wijnegem is a toponym of Frankish origin (7th-9th centuries), meaning "Wini's lineage's estate", but the place was already settled in the Prehistoric and Roman times, as shown by excavations made by the Antwerp Association for Roman Archeology since 1972.

In the Middle Ages, Wijnegem belonged to the Duchy of Brabant. It was the seat of a powerful domain. In the 14th century, the mention of the Goed ter Borcht (Goods near the fort) seems to indicate that a primitive castle already existed there, or at least a manor in which the villagers could shelter in periods of unrest. A true castle was built around 1530 in Renaissance style by the Vleminck, a lineage from the town o Limburg. Christopher Plantin, King Philip II's official printer, and several other humanists and artists from Antwerp were familiar guests of the castle of Wijnegem.

The village was severely damaged during the Eighty Years' War (1568-1648). In 1621, the domain of Winegem was transferred to Lancelot van Haudion; it was erected a County for Charles van Haudion in 1698. Wijnegem was then a rural village with some 60 houses and 200-300 inhabitants, and 25 farms of 5-35 ha in area. At the end of the 19th century, Wijnegem had five breweries, a mill and a few cloth workshops. In 1866, Louis Meeüs set up in the village one of the biggest brandy and genever distilleries in Europe, employing 300 workers. However, the success of the distillery was short: all copper was seized during the First World War, while the Vandervelde Law (1919) on alcoholic beverages was the deathblow of the factory.

Source: Municipal website - text by R. Correns

Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008

Municipal flag of Winegem

The municipal flag of Wijnegem is black with a yellow engrailed saltire cantonned by four yellow grapes.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 27 November 1988, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 13 December 1988 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 November 1989.
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 Wijnegem were granted by Royal Decree on 26 February 1845 as In sabel een uitgeschulpt schuinkruis, vergezeld van vier gesteelde en gebladerde druiventrossen, alles van goud ("Sable a saltire engrailed or cantonned by four grapes slipped and leaved, all or"). These arms have been used since the late 18th century by the Roelants family, lords of Wijnegem. They added canting grapes (wijn means "wine" in Dutch) to their family arms.
The original arms of the Roelants family are used as the municipal arms and banner of arms in Dessel; the yellow saltire from the Roelants arms also appears, not engrailed, on the municipal arms and banner of arms of Balen.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 2 January 2008