Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Hulshout - Image by Jarig Bakker, 30 September 2001
The municipality of Hulshout (9,257 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,735 ha) is located in southern Kempen. The municipality of Hulshout is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Hulshout, Houtvenne and Westmeerbeek.
Hulshout was mentioned for the first time in 810, as Hulsholt, in a
document of the abbey of Tongerlo. The name of the village means "a
holly (hulst) wood" (hout). Probably built on the site of an old
Roman settlement, Houthulst must be one of the oldest villages in
Kempen, located in the past near one of the biggest peat bogs of the
In 994, Ansfried of Taxandria, Count of Streyen and later Bishop of Utrecht, transferred the villages of Houthulst and Westerlo to the Notre-Dame and St. Martin churches in Utrecht. The Wesemael family was appointed manager of the domain on the churches' behalf; in 1247, Arnold of Wesemael had to pay 10 marks per year to Utrecht. In the XIIIth century, the Wesemael family transferred a part of its right on Hulshout and Westerlo to the abbeys of Tongerlo and Averbode. In 1294, Hendrik Berthout, lord of Geel, took Hulshout and Veerle under his protection. For decades, Hushout was a bone of contention between the lords of Geel and Wesemael and the Counts of Westerlo. On 4 December 1460, Duke of Burgundy Philip the Good granted to his chamberlain Jan of Wezemael the castle and village of Westerlo, together with the villages of Hulshout, Olen and Zoerle-Parwijs.
In 1634, the castle owned by Lambert Van Cannaert was destroyed by a blaze. In order to revive the fire, a clueless maid threw into it a big piece of fat; her clothes cought fire and she spread the blaze by running away through the castle. The site of the castle was afterwards avoided by the villagers, who claimed it was not a safe place. Around midnight, shiny human shapes were seen floating around; some 200 years ago, someone found there a pot full of money. The ghosts have disappeared but the name of the place, the Black Land (zwart land) has remained. Lambert belonged to a famous noble family; he most probably dug the "Vaart", then a genuine canal linking the peat bogs to the river Nete. The peat from Hulthoust was then famous and highly prized, yielding 1,589 guilders per year to its owner. Anyway, this money increased the lord's wealth but did not improve the villagers' poor condition. The Black Land was the place where most of the local quarrels were solved, often with violence, therefore the nickname of messenvichters (knife fighters) given to the inhabitants of Hulshout.
Houtvenne means "a wood (hout) in a marshy place" (ven), here by the river Nete. Together with the village of Oosterwijk, it formed a domain ruled from 1435 to 1565 by the Wittem family.
Westmeerbeek, originally known as Meerbeek ("the brook, beek, which flows from the marsh", moer, here into the Nethe), was indeed named by Noah, according to the local tradition. Sailing in Kempen, Noah ran onto the Venusberg, near Herselt, and said to his crew, in local Dutc: Herzeilt naar het westen daar zijn meer beken! ("Sail westwards, where there are more rivers"), which is the origin of the names of Herselt and Meerbeek, respectively.
Source: Municipal website
Ivan Sache, 28 July 2007
The flag of Hulshout is horizontally divided in seven horizontal
stripes in turn red and white.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 24 May 1989, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 20 July 1989 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 December 1990.
There is no explanation given, but the colours might have been borrowed from Antwerp.
Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 28 July 2007