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Maldegem (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

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

Municipal flag of Maldegem - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 21 January 2007

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Presentation of Maldegem and its villages

The municipality of Maldegem (22,366 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 9,625 ha, therefore the biggest municipality in East Flanders) is located in the north-west of Flanders, close to the border with the Netherlands, in the region of Meetjesland. The municipality of Maldegem is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Maldegem, Adegem and Middelburg.

Maldegem (15,779 inhabitants; 6,108 ha) was in the Middle Ages the capital of a big domain ruled by the powerful lords of Maldeg(h)em, who lived in the castle of Reesinghe. The most famous of them was Filips III, known for his unconditional loyalty to Count of Flanders Gewijde van Dampierre. He was awarded the title of "The Loyal", which was later used for the town of Maldegem.
The Maldegem Steam Center (Stoomcentrum), opened in 1990, is located in the former railway station of Maldegem. In 1862, a private railway line increased the Ghent-Eeklo "58" line to Bruges. The line was purchased by the Belgian state in 1900 but was progressively superseded by the more direct Ghent-Aalter-Bruges "50a" line. On 26 February 1959, the Eeklo-Bruges passenger line was definitively replaced by a coach service. A daily goods train was maintained on the Eeklo-Maldegem line until 26 April 1988. The Steam Center has purchased buildings and material; in May 1990, the Maldegem-Eeklo line (10 km) was reopened with a tourists' steam train.

Adegem (5,977 inh.; 2,770 ha) is one of the oldest settlements in Meetjesland. The place was listed in 840 as Addingahem (Addo's estate) on a document of the St. Peter abbey in Ghent. Adegem was part of the domain of Maldegem until the French Revolution. The today's village structure appeared only in the XVII-XVIIIth century.
A legend says that the black plague remained once hung on a tree located between Maldegem and Aldegem. The Maldegem side of the tree was black and dead, whereas the Aldegem side of the tree had remained green and healthy. And the plague never reached Aldegem.
The Canadian war memorial and cemetary, as well as the Canada War Museum, recall that Adegem was liberated by the Canadians on 12 September 1944 after fiercy fighting with the Germans on the Schipdonk Canal. The Museum was inaugurated on 28 June 1995 by Gilbert Van Landschoot. In 1987, Van Landschoot's father, on his deathbed, told his son for the first time the events of the Second World War he had been involved in and how the Canadians had saved his life. He asked his son to do something as a tribute to the First Canadian Army, who liberated Flanders and the port of Antwerp, and to all the Canadians and their families involved in the war.

Middelburg (591 inh.; 586 ha; zip code, 9992, the biggest in Belgium) is a rural village located on the border with the Netherlands. It was founded around 1450 by Pieter Bladelin, a wealthy burgher from Bruges. Archeological excavations of Bladelin's castle have started in 2003. A 3-D reconstitution of the castle is shown by the visitors' center of Middelburg.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 21 January 2007

Municipal flag of Maldegem

The municipal flag of Maldegem is yellow with a red cross forming four quarters each charged with three red merlettes placed 2 and 1.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 3 June 1988, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 5 October 1988 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 November 1989.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

According to Servais, Maldegem uses the arms granted to the former municipality of Maldegem on 27 September 1909. These arms were used by the Lords of Maldegem; the Gelre Armorial shows these arms for Philips VI van Maldeghem (#947, folio 80v, Die He. v. Maldigem). The arms of Maldegem and therefore its flag are very similar to the arms and flag of Izegem. According to the Izegem municipal website, the municipality took the arms of the lords of Izegem (1066/1080-1257), reused by their followers, the lords of Maldegem (1257-1297). Recent research has shown that these arms are older than the marriage of Elisabeth van Izegem with Zeger van Maldegem.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 30 October 2006