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Haacht (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2019-07-30 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Haacht]

Municipal flag of Haacht - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 October 2001

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Presentation of Haacht

The municipality of Haacht (13,729 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,057 ha) is located in the middle of the triangle Brussels-Leuven-Mechelen. The municipality of Haacht is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Haacht, Tildonk and Wespelaar, together with the villages of Wakkerzeel and Kelfs, separated from Werchter (the rest of Werchter having been incorporated into Rotselaar) and Herent, respectively.

Haacht is world-famous for its brewery, part until 1898 of the Haacht Dairy Farm (Melkerij van Haecht), transformed then into the Haacht Brewery and Dairy Farm (Brouwerij en Melkerij van Haecht). The SA Brasserie Haacht, a family brewery part of the group Co.Br.Ha, is indeed located on the municipal territory of Boortmeerbeek. The most famous beer of the Haacht brewery is the Primus pils, formerly known as Super 8 and renamed in 1975 after Duke of Brabant Jean I (in Latin, Primus; 1252-1294), known as a great soldier, poet and beer drinker. The Haacht brewery also produces the Adler (a Dortmund type pils since 1955) and the Eupener (whose bottle label and glas are decorated with the coat of arms of Eupen). Founded in 1894 in Lille (France), the Coq Hardi brewery, producing the pils of the same name, merged with the Haacht brewery in 1972. Until the end of 2005, the Leeuw Pilsener was brewed by the De Leeuw brewery in Valkenburg (The Netherlands); the production has been transferred to Haacht. The brewery also produces white and flavoured beers such as the Witbier / Blanche Haacht, the Valkenburgs Wit (available only in the Netherlands), the Mystic flavoured with cherries or lime; special beers such as the Keizer Karel / Charles Quint and the Gildenbier (recalling the harquebushers' guild of Diest); and the abbey beers of Tongerlo.

Tildonk is mostly known for the lock of the Leuven-Mechelen canal. The building of this canal was decided by Empress Maria-Theresia on 29 January 1750; the cornerstone was put by Prince Charles of Lorraine on 9 February 1750 and the 30-km long canal was filled with water on 21 December 1752. The canal had originally three locks, in Kampenhout, Mechelen and Zennegat, where it joins the river Dijle. After several damages caused by the break of dykes and locks, it was decided in 1760 to suppress the Mechelen lock and to build three new locks in Tildonk, Boortmeerbeek and Battel, which were inaugurated in 1763. To face the railway competition, the size of the canal was increased in 1836-1837 to fit ships with a draft of 3.60 m. At the end of the XIXth century, it was attempted to transform it into a true sea canal. The canal remained the property of the town of Leuven until 1972, when it was taken over by the Belgian state.
The five locks of the canal are of the "belly-lock" type, named after the curved shape of their lateral walls. The canal is a unique pre-industrial heritage since the walls from the XVIIIth century have hardly been modified. The Tildonk lock is indeed a double lock. The lock is watched by a post built in the second half of the XVIIIth century in Classic style.


Ivan Sache, 9 July 2007

Municipal flag of Haacht

The municipal flag of Haacht is white with five red stripes forming six horizontal white stripes twice higher than the red ones.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 20 May 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 1 July 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

The arms of Haacht, as seen on the municipal website, are "Argent three fleurs de lis couped gules". According to Servais, the first arms of Haacht were granted by Royal Decree on 25 February 1845 as "Sable three fleurs de lis argent", therefore with wrong colours and (complete) fleurs de lis. These are the arms of the lords of Rotselaar, who were also lords of Haacht since the XIIIth century. A seal of Gerard de Rotselaer, dated 1272, shows these arms, which were used on municipal seals in Rotselaar from the XIVth century onwards. These arms were granted to the municipality of Rotselaar by Royal Decree on 25 January 1973, which kept it and used a banner of these arms as the municipal flag since 1982.
The Gelre Armorial shows "Argent three fleurs de lis couped gules" for Jean II, lord of Rotselaer (Die He. v. Rotseler, #821, folio 73r) and "Argent three fleurs de lis couped gules a label azure" for Gerard de Rotselaer, lord of Vosselaer (Die He. v. Vorslaer, #825, folio 73r). The Lalaing Armorial shows "Argent three fleurs de lis couped gules" for Rotselaer (Rotselaer, #25, folio 72v). These arms are a countercoloured version of the arms of the lords of Wesemael, also historically present in Duffel and Grobbendonk. Wezemaal is today part of the municipality of Rostselaer, which means that the lords of Rotzelaer and Wesemael were neighbours, if not relatives. The use of the odd fleurs de lis couped in the two coats of arms cannot be merely a coincidence.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 9 July 2007