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Zuienkerke (Municipality, Province of West Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-04-26 by ivan sache
Keywords: zuienkerke | houtave | meetkerke | nieuwmunster |
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Presentation of Zuienkerke

The municipality of Zuienkerke (2,743 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,886 ha) is located in the polders separating the town of Bruges from the North Sea (but does not reach the coast). The municipality of Zuienkerke is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Zuienkerke (1,478 inh.; 1,589 ha), Houtave (411 inh.; 1,632 ha), Meetkerke (396 inh.; 936 ha) and Nieuwmunster (491 inh.; 729 ha).

Ivan Sache, 5 January 2008

Municipal flag of Zuienkerke

The municipal flag of Zuienkerke is quartered, 1. A white field with a black cross charged with five yellow scallops and a black merlette in canton, 2. A black field with a white standing lion, with a red tongue, wearing a yellow crown and, around the neck, a yellow trefoiled cross, flanked by two white abbot's crosses facing dexter, 3. A red field with two white swords crossed per saltire and pointing down, with a yellow hilt, 4. A white field with a red cross voided with a black finch in the first and fourth quarters.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 23 January 1989, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 9 May 1989 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 November 1989.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms, which are made of the former arms of Zuienkerke, Houtave, Meetkerke and Nieuwmunster, respectively.

According to Servais, the former arms of Zuienkerke, "Argent a cross sable charged with five scallops or a merlette gules in canton", granted by Royal Decree on 25 February 1845, were derived from the arms of Uitkerke, since Zuienkerke belonged to the domain of Uitkerke in the Middle Ages. Uitkerke, incorporated into Blankenberge in 1970, was granted "Argent a cross sable charged with five scallops or" by Royal Decree on 14 april 1842. The Gelre Armorial show "Argent a cross sable charged with five scallops or" for Gerard of Uitkerke (He. v. Uytkyrken, #953, folio 81r). The seal of Johan of Huutkerke, dated 1339, shows quartered arms, with the original Utkerke arms in the frist and fourth quarters and a hunting horn in the second and third quarters.
The arms of Houtave, granted by Royal Decree on 28 February 1843, are shown on the map of the Vrijse van Brugge made by Pourbus in 1562. The legend says that these arms were granted by the Count of Flanders to the St. Andrew abbey that existed in the village in the XIIth century, but there is indeed no historical clue on the origin and meaning of these arms.
The arms of Nieuwmunster, granted by Royal Decree on 18 April 1847, show the cross of the Knight Templars and two finches, canting for the Vinck family (in Dutch, vink means "a finch"). The finches appear on several municipal arms in the area (see Bredene and De Haan), already shown on Pourbus map made in 1562.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 January 2008

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