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Galmaarden (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)


Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: galmaarden | gammerages | tollembeek | vollezelle | lion (yellow) | crosses: crosslets (yellow) | crosses: 15 (yellow) | enghien |
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[Flag of Galmaarden]

Municipal flag of Galmaarden - Image by Filip van Laenen, 27 October 2001

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Presentation of Galmaarden and its villages

The municipality of Galmaarden (in French, Gammerages; 8,158 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 3,495 ha) is located 30 km west-south-west of Brussels, in the region of Pajottenland, close to the linguistic border between Dutch and French and to the administrative borders between Flemish Brabant, Hainaut and East Flanders. The municipality of Galmaarden is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Galmaarden (3,116 inh.; 1,161 ha), Tollembeek (2,990 inh.; 1,362 ha) and Vollezelle (1,746 inh.; 972 ha).

Galmaarden, located on the border with the Duchy of Flanders, belonged until the French Revolution to the County of Hainaut. The oldest mention of the village, in a deed from Geraardsbergen, dates back to 1068. In the XIIIth century, Galmaarden belonged to the lords of Braine, who were succeeded in the XIVth century by the lords of Montignies-Saint-Christophe and in the XV-XVIth century by the lords of Hennin-Liétard. The domain of Galmaarden became a Duchy in 1623. The village was granted a chart in 1330 and a market in 1381. Jean de Montignies-Saint-Christophe granted to the village a franchise suppressing all the feudal duties. In the late Middle Ages, the village, then known as Gaumerage, was a significant center of cloth making. In 1795, Galmaarden was incorporated into the Department of Dyle, transformed into the Province of Southern Brabant in 1814, shortened to Brabant in 1831.
The inhabitants of Galmaarden are nicknamed de Brabantse Patatten, "the Brabantian potatoes" (in Flanders, potatoes were poor people's fare).

Tollembeek belonged until the French Revolution to the domain of Enghien, part of the County of Hainaut. The region was part of the Hernewoud, ran by a Mayor and seven Magistrates; the region, as usual at the time, included several enclaves. The oldest mention of the village is Tholobecca, in 1148.
The inhabitants of Tollembeek are nicknamed de Hanezoekers van Tollembeek, "the Tollembeek rooster searchers" (they once lost, or thought they had lost, the rooster on the church spire).

Vollezelle, mentioned for the first time in 1117 as Vloensela, belonged since 1248 to the lords of Enghien, who transferred it later to Countess Margareta of Flanders and Hainaut. The lords of Enghien appointed the St. Adrian abbey in Geraardsbergen as the "manager" (voogd) of the village. The abbey of Vorst and the family of Arenberg also had possessions in Vollezelle.
Vollezelle has always been famous for its stud farms, specialized in the breeding of the Brabantian draft horse. In 1867, Remi Van Der Schueren opened a stallions' stud farm, later renamed "Haras de Vollezelle", haras being the French word for stud farm. Together with his two sons Alfred and Arthur and two other breeders, Telesphore D'Hauwer and Paul Mersch, he made of Galmaarden the Belgian and then word center for the breeding of Brabantian draft horses. The Galmaarden horses named Bienvenu, Brillant (proudly standing in front of the former town hall, today the Brabantian draft horse museum, as a bronze statue made by Ron Deblaere in 2000) and Indigène de Fosteau became world famous. Crown Prince Albert, later sworn in King as Albert I, visited Vollezelle in 1907.
Vollezelle was in the past settled by coal miners, who lived in the poor hamlet of Achterdenbos. Its local name of Congo recalls that the miners came back home with black faces.
The poet and playwright Jaak Ballings (1881-1941) was school teacher in Vollezelle. After a linguistic conflict with the French-speaking local "lord", Baron de Steenhault de Waerbeck, he moved to the Ministry of Work and Social Affairs in Brussels. Ballings wrote more than 150 plays, played by amateur troops and by professional theaters in Belgium and the Netrherlands as well; the Jaak Ballings museum was inaugurated in 1997 in the former town hall of Vollezelle.
The inhabitants of Vollezelle are nicknamed de Hengstemans, "the Stallions".

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 6 July 2007

Municipal flag of Galmaarden

The flag of Galmaarden is a gyronny of ten pieces black and white, the black pieces being each charged with three yellow crosses crosslets, with, overall, a blue escutcheon charged with a yellow leopard.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag and arms were adopted on 24 September 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 2 December 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The today's arms of Galmaarden combine elements of the former arms of Galmaarden, Tollembeek and Vollezelle, described by Servais as follows.
The former arms of Galmaarden were granted by Royal Decree on 27 July 1908 as "Azure a lion or". The old municipal seals (XIVth century and later) show a leopard, which was changed into a lion on the arms granted in 1908, for an unknown reason, and reestablished on the new arms granted in 1985. However, the origin of the leopard on the seals is not known either, since most rulers of Galmaarden since the XIVth century used a lion on their arms and not a leopard. The leopard, therefore, might have been derived from the lost arms of the early lords of Galmaarden. The oldest known lord of Galmaarden is Wauthier de Braine (1280), who descended from the lords of Enghien and used their family arms.
The former arms of Tollembeek are "Quarterly, I and IV azure a lion or, II and III a mullet faceted or".
The former arms of Vollezelle are similar to the arms of the lords of Enghien, that is the shield of the current arms of Galmaarden.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 6 July 2007