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Borgerhout (District, Municipality of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2018-06-17 by ivan sache
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Flag of Borgerhout - Image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 16 April 2018

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Presentation of the Borgerhout district

The Borgerhout district (41,779 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 393 ha; website) was formed in 1983 when the former municipality of Borgerhout was merged into the municipality of Antwerp.

Borgerhout was mentioned, as Borgerholt, in an act of the Duke of Brabant signed in 1214. For centuries the westernmost part of Deurne, on the border of Greater Antwerp, Borgerhout became an independent municipality on 13 June 1836. The village grew up along the Ayendyck, the water dam once linking Antwerp to Deurne (today the Turnhout Road). The place was rich in oaks used for the building of the water foundations of the borg (fortified town) of Antwerp, and was therefore named the borg's wood (borger hout). Another etymology says that the burghers (borgers) from Deurne were allowed to pick wood (holt, today, hout) on a territory belonging to the Markgrave of Antwerp or to the Duke of Brabant.
Borgerhout became a connection point between the trade center of Antwerp and the Kempen hinterland and grew quickly, from some 2,000 inhabitants in 1824 to more than 4,000 ten years later.
In 1830, the first municipal election in Belgium after the revolution took place in Deurne-Borgerhout, with the majority of the voters coming from Borgerhout and electing J. Huybrechts as the Mayor. The revamping of the ruined Reuzenhuis of Borgerhout as the town hall increased the political quarrel between Borgerhout and Deurne, which eventually split.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 3 October 2008

Flag of the Borgerhout district

The flag of the Borgerhout district, approved on 18 February 2009 by the Flemish Heraldic Council, is prescribed by a Decree (text) adopted on 15 December 2008 by the Municipal Council, signed on 1 July 2009 by the Executive of Flanders and published on 10 February 2011 in the Belgian official gazette.

The flag (photo) is swallow-tailed with straight edges, green with three chevrons red-white-red set parallel to the split.

Jan Mertens, Roelant Verhoeven & Knut Anders Berg, 16 April 2018

Rejected proposal

The Borgerhout district launched a competition for a new official flag in September 2008 (Gazet van Antwerpen, 12 September 2008). Everybody could contest. White, red and green were the mandatory colours; the rest of the design was left to the designers' creativity. The proposals should have been sent to the district hall before 20 October 2008.

A local blog cites the District Secretary, Mr Nieuwinckel, on the current state of affairs (posted 29 August 2009).
End of last year a winner was selected; among 30 proposals, that of Marc Van de Cruys was sent on to the Minister then in charge, Dirk Van Mechelen. The official document showing the arms and flag was prepared and signed but not sent back as the Minister, who has since stepped down, preferred handing over this and similar documents simultaneously once all districts would have sent in their designs.
Marc Van de Cruys is well known as the editor of the heraldry journal Heraldicum Disputationes and as the author, co-author and publisher of many books and brochures on the subject.

The flag is swallow-tailed, red with a large white rectangle in the centre separating a narrow vertically divided white-and-red panel (dancetty, of seven white points) from a larger section of the fly; in the rectangle, above and below bordered by vertical white and red stripes, appears a green generic tree placed above a green ground (dancetty separation). If this means anything at all, said vertical stripes are sixteen white and fifteen red in number, each.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 11 February 2011

Former municipality of Borgerhout


Former flag of Borgerhout - Image by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 16 April 2018

The flag of the former municipality of Borgerhout, still hoisted on the town hall of Antwerp (photo), is red with three white chevrons. The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

The arms of Borgerhout are "Gules three chevrons argent an escutcheon of the same a tree vert." According to Servais [svm55], the arms were granted by Royal Decree on 28 January 1843. After the split of the municipality of Deurne-Borgerhout, the new municipal council of Borgerhout applied for the arms of the former municipality. The tree on the arms of Borgerhout is therefore not canting for hout (wood) in the name of the municipality, since it was "inherited" form the arms of Deurne.

Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 3 October 2008

Koninklijke Borgerhout Korfbal Club


KBKC supporters' flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 11 May 2009

The Borgerhout korfball club's supporters display vertically a flag reproducing the players' jersey, that is white with three horizontal red stripes.

Ivan Sache, 12 May 2009