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Schelle (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2017-08-12 by ivan sache
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Flag of Schelle - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 11 January 2006


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Presentation of Schelle

The municipality of Schelle (7,914 inhabitants on 1 January 2007, 780 ha; municipal website) is located 10 km south of Antwerp, near the confluency of the Rupel and the Scheldt.

The castle of Laar (Laarhof) was already mentioned in a document dated 1298, by which Jan Berthout sold it to Jan Sanders, lord of Cleydael. This family kept it until 1829, when it was ceded to the Ravenstyn family. In 1831, Frans van Ravestyn completely revamped the castle, which was further modified by Johannes van Ravenstyn in 1840-1845. The entrance gate with two towers, known as the Ravenstyn gate, dates from that time. The castle was no longer inhabited in 1947 and the family sold is to the electricity company Interescaut.
The chapel of Laar is dedicated to the Mater Dolorosa. It was rebuilt in the 17th century but was founded long before. Until 1831, it was the private chapel of the owners of the castle of Laar. Near the chapel is the statue of the Brigand, by the artist from Schelle Roger Pintens Jr, recalling the villagers who took part to the Boerenkrijg against the French administration at the end of the 18th century.

The Sts. Peter and Paul church of Schelle is the oldest in the valley of Rupel. Its walls, built in the 13th century, are surmounted by a Gothic octogonal belfrey with a thin spire. The main artwork kept in the church is a painting by Antoon Van Dijck (1599-1641) showing the martyre of St. Sebastian.

The Harmonium Art Museum was founded in Schelle by the art photographer Ben Roemendael. The collection is made of 14 ancient, revamped and playable harmoniums from 1880-1930. Most of them are pipe air harmoniums, used in the past in private houses, schools, small churches and chapels to accompany psalms and other religious songs. The few pressure air harmoniums shown in the collection had more potential and could sometimes replace the organ. Musicians visiting the museum may want to play the harmoniums.

Ivan Sache, 11 January 2006


Flag of Schelle

The flag of Schelle is blue with three yellow rams placed 2 and 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag, adopted on 18 April 1988 by the Municipal Council, is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 13 December 1988 by the Executive of Flanders and published on 8 November 1989 in the Belgian official gazette.

In 1819, Schelle was granted arms by (Dutch) Royal Decree, as "Azure three pales or an escutcheon of the same three towers azure. The shield is supported by the bust of a pope"). These arms were confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 30 December 1841. However, the original request by the municipal administration was erroneous. It was intended to use the arms of the Suys family, a noble family of dyke builders using rams in their coat of arms, but the arms of the Berthout family were used instead, replacing the rams with towers. The High Council of Nobility added a second mistake. There was a doubt on the genuine colours of the shield and the colours of the arms of the Netherlands were used, azure on or instead of or on azure. The Flemish Heraldic Council recommended to correct the two mistakes and the current arms of Schelle were adopted in 1988,as "Azure three pales or, an escutcheon azure three rams or. Shield surmonted with the bust of a pope with a tiara or".
[Municipal website]

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 11 January 2006