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Zemst (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2013-08-18 by ivan sache
Keywords: zemst | letter: h (yellow) | hofstade |
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[Flag of Zemst]

Municipal flag of Zemst - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 January 2008

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Presentation of Zemst and its villages

The municipality of Zemst (21,553 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,285 ha) is located 10 km south of Mechelen and 20 km north of Brussels. The municipality of Zemst is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Zemst, Elewijt, Eppegem, Hofstade and Weerde.

Zemst was in the past the capital of a domain much bigger than the today's municipality, stretching from Meise to Wolvertem and known as Hongarije van Zemst (Zemst Hungary). A strategic place on the river Zenne, Zemst was disputed between Brussels and Mechelen, which means that the town was seized and plundered very often.
The parish of Zemst is one of the oldest in Brabant and is the mother parish of Eppegem, Hombeek, Leest, Heffen, Kapelle-op-den-Bos, Heindonk and Weerde. The mysterious "Halve Steen" (Half Stone) found in Laar was probably a border stone.

Elewijt probably emerged in the Roman times around a military camp. The castle known as Steen was inhabited by Maria-Kristina of Egmont, the daughter of Count of Egmont and by the painter Pieter Paul Rubens (1635-1640). Elewijt, in peacetime, was the place of a popular pilgrimage to St. Hubert, invoked against "delirium" in men and animals (that is, rabies); while the pilgrimage disappeared in the XIXth century with the use of rabies vaccination, it is still reminded by a procession held on Whit Monday.
Elewijt is the birth village of the archer Hubert Van Innis (1866-1961), winner of two gold medals in the Paris Olympic Games (1900, Au cordon doré, 33 m; Au chapelet; also silver medalist, Au cordon doré, 50 m) and of another four gold medals in the Antwerp Olympic Games (1920, Moving bird, 28 m; Moving bird, 33 m; Moving bird, 33 m, team; Moving bird, 50 m, team; also silver medalist, Moving bird, 50 m and Moving bird, 28 m, team). Van Innis still holds the record of Olympic medals in archery and the record of Olympic medals for a Belgian athlet. The local legend says that he used to clean his café with champagne to celebrate his voctories.

Eppegem was mentioned for the first time in 966, as Ippingohaim, "Ippe's estate", in a chart signed by Emperor Otto I. The name of the village was later changed to Eppenghem (1245) and eventually to Eppegem (1945). The village had an important ship haulers' guild, that disappeared after the opening of the Willebroek Canal.

Hofstade was in the Middle Ages part of the Country of Mechelen. When Belgium became independent (1830), Hofstade was a small, poor hamlet depending on the municipality of Muizen; the municipality of Hofstade was created by Royal Decree on 23 February 1870.

Weerde was mentioned for the first time in 1150 in a bull signed by Pope Eugene II. In the XIIIth century, a lock was built to protect the village from the Zenne. A mill and a toll house were built, which contributed to the development of the village. Weerde is the smallest component of Zemst (2,068 inh.; 403 ha).

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 4 January 2008

Municipal flag of Zemst

The municipal flag of Zemst is diagonally divided black-yellow-green-yellow-black.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 26 February 1981, confirmed by Royal Decree on 25 June 1981 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 October 1981, and, again, on 4 January 1995.
The colours of the flags are taken from the arms, while the five stripes represent the five components of the municipality.

The municipal arms of Zemst, as shown by Servais, are:
Doorsneden in het schildhoofd gedeeld, 1. van sabel met leeuw van goud, genageld en getongd van keel, 2. van goud met drie palen van keel, in de schildvoet van sinopel met drie malies van zilver, het schild omgeven door de halsketting van het Gulden vlies, het geheel geplaatst op een mantel van keel, gevoerd van hermelijn, getopt met een kroon met vijf fleurons.
("Per fess, 1a sable a lion or armed and langued gules, 1b or three pales gules, 2 vert three mascles argent [...]").
The arms, granted by Royal Decree on 5 March 1954, were designed after the municipal seal used in the XVII-XVIIIth centuries, which shows the arms of the Marquisate of Bergen-op-Zoom. Weerde used the same arms, granted by Royal Decree on 5 March 1954.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 January 2008

Hofstade Zeil Club

[HZC burgee]

Burgee of HZC - Image by Ivan Sache, 25 July 2004

BLOSO (the sport and leisure agency of the Flemish government) owns in Hofstade a domain with a 35-ha lake.
Until 2002, the Hofstade Zeil Club was known as VVW-Hofstade and used the VVW burgee. Today, it has c. 100 members and uses a burgee designed by Thierry Demblon. The burgee is white with a large blue stripe along the hoist and a big yellow H in the white field. Blue stands for water and air, white for the sails and yellow for the sun, warmth and friendship.

Source: HZC website

Ivan Sache, 25 July 2004