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Zottegem (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2012-02-25 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Zottegem]

Municipal flag of Zottegem - Image by Filip van Laenen, 23 October 2001

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Presentation of Zottegem

The municipality of Zottegem (24,578 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,666 ha) is located south of Ghent. The municipality of Zottegem is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Zottegem (4,829 inh.; 162 ha; including Elene [1,132 inh.; 321 ha], Erwetegem [3,126 inh.; 963 ha], Godveerdegem [965 inh.; 327 ha], Grotenberge [1,303 inh.; 466 ha], Leeuwergem [1,314 inh.; 273 ha], Sint-Goriks-Oudenhove [962 inh.; 567 ha], Strijpen [4,148 inh.; 600 ha] and Velzeke-Ruddershove [3,148 inh.; 1,300 ha] since 1970), Oombergen (570 inh.; 160 ha), and Sint-Maria-Oudenhove (2,253 inh.; 506 ha).

Zottegem has often been a matter of joke because zot means "insane" in Dutch; the tourism office of the town has used the joke in its motto Zottegem... nog niet zo gek! ("Zottegem... not so crazy yet!"). The inhabitants of Zottegem are, of course, nicknamed "Zotten", and the village is often opposed to Wijzegem ('t en ès hier geen Zottegem, 't es Wijzegem - here is not Zottegem but Wijzegem, from wijs, "wise"). Another nickname for the villagers is "Thee zeikers", "the tea weak-bladdered", alluding to the diuretic properties of the local beer known as "Zottegem Tea".
Zottegem was mentioned for the first time in 1088 as Sottenghem, "Sotto's lineage's estate". Similarly, Erwetegem (Heruetingehem, 1087), Godveerdegem (Gotferthenghem, 1176) and Leeuwergem (Leewergem, 1177) are named after the Germanic lords Hariwit, Gudafrith and Leudiwar, respectively.

Zottegem, self-styled "Egmontstad", has strong links with Count Lamoraal of Egmont (1522-1568). Appointed by Philip II of Spain Stathouder of Flanders and Artois, Egmont was member of the State Council of the Low Countries. Together with William of Orange and the Count of Hoorn, he opposed to Philip II's repressive policy but faithfully applied the law when an insurrection broke out in 1565. In 1567, William of Orange advized Hoorn and Egmont to leave Brussels before the arrival of the Duke of Alva, to no avail. Arrested, the two counts were sentenced by the Troubles' Council to death, in spite of not being Protestant, and beheaded on 5 June 1568. Their execution was the start of the Eighty Years' War, which ended with the independence of the northern Low Countries.
Fifteen years before his death, Egmont had built a vault in the church of Zottegem, where he had been owning the castle since 1530. Who should have been buried in the vault and why in Zottegem is still not known. After his execution, Egmont was brought back to Zottegem and buried in the vault, followed by his wife Sabina of Bavaria (d. 1578) and his sons Filips (d. 1590) and Karel (d. 1620). The castle, seized by the Spaniards, was retroceded to Sabina in 1576 and kept by the Egmont family until 1707.

Source: Municipal flag

Ivan Sache, 5 January 2008

Municipal flag of Zottegem

The municipal flag of Zottegem is blue with a yellow lion.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 14 March 1990, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 9 October 1990 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 25 September 1991.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The history of the arms of Zottegem is related by Van den Bossche (Het wapen van de stad Zottegem, 1989).
According to Servais [svm55a], the former arms of Zottegem, granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 2 September 1818 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 13 April 1838, were based on the arms of Enghien, but with different colours (the plain quarters blue instead of white, the quarters with the crosses yellow instead of black, and the crosses blue instead of yellow). These arms were designed after the municipal arms used in Zottegem until 1793; however, they were granted in the Dutch national colours while the original arms of Zottegem were yellow and red. The change from the Enghien colours was decided by Gerard of Enghien when he inherited Zottegem from his father Zeger in the 13th century. Additionally, Grotenberge was granted the Enghien arms in white and red by Royal Decree on 17 September 1953.
On 3 November 1977, the Municipal Council of Zottegem applied for the use of the same arms as before the municipal reform, to no avail. The Flemish Heraldic Council proposed in 1984 to use the old arms, but with the historical colours (yellow and red) restored and the crown, used in the 17th century arms, added; the proposal was rejected by the Municipal Council. There was indeed historical evidence that, while the lords of Zottegem used yellow and red on their arms, the town of Zottegem used yellow and blue, which were therefore considered as the "true" colours of the town. It was speculated that these colours were already used by the early lords of Zottegem in the 13th century, whose emblem was a lion of unknown colour.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 January 2008