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Boutersem (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2012-10-13 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Boutersem]         [Flag of Boutersem]

[Flag of Boutersem]

Municipal flag of Boutersem - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 11 June 2007
First row, flag in use and its variant
Second row, official flag, not in use

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Presentation of Boutersem and its villages

The municipality of Boutersem (7,519 inhabitants on 1 July 2007; 3,075 ha) is located in the Hageland, near Leuven. Boutersem is one of the few Belgian municipalities that are the results of three successive mergings of former municipalities. In 1964, Vertrijk (931 inh.; 539 ha) was merged with Boutersem (2,375 inh.; 534 ha), a merging that had already been planned in 1800-1801. In 1970, Kerkom (1,184 inh.; 684 ha) and Roosbeek (1,765 inh.; 465 ha) were merged with Boutersem. During the main administrative reform of 1976, Neervelp (643 inh.; 264 ha) and Willebringen (581 inh.; 533 ha) were taken from Honsem and incorporated to Boutersem, except a small part of Willebringen allocated to Hoegaarden.

Boutersem probably emerged around Butsel (from buts, "a small hill"), a small fortress built by the Counts of Leuven to watch the crossing of the river Velpe by the Roman way Tienen-Leuven. The fortress was also the last outpost protecting the town of Leuven. The village of Boutersem was mentioned for the first time in 1125 as Baltersem, "Balder's estate". Balder is the Prince-Bishop of Liège Balderik or, more probably, the Count of Leuven Lambrecht II Balderik (1040-1063). Boutersem and Hoogbutsel were free domains whereas the other parts of the current municipalities were transferred to private owners by the Dukes of Brabant. Boutersem became a Barony on 20 October 1650.
Vertrijke was mentioned for the fist time in a papal bull dated 1151. The ancient written forms of the name of the village, Verteke, Vertike and Verteike, seem to be related to the Latin word vertix, related to a vortex in the Velpe or, more probably, to the top of a hill, here the Scherpenberg. The domain was transferred by the Counts of Leuven to the van Rode, one of the seven patricial lineages in Leuven.
Kerkom, together with Kumtich, Roosbeek and Meensel, was part of a domain transferred around 840 by Louis I the Pious, Charlemagne's son, to the abbey of Inde (Cornelimunster, near Aachen). Cistercian nuns, later called La Ramée, were allowed by the abbey to found a monastery and a church in Kerkom, placed under the protection of the Counts of Leuven. Kerkom was mentioned for the first time in 1212 as Kerkehem, the estate near the church.
Roosbeek was originally written Roscebeke (1224) or Rosebeke (1236), probably meaning "a brook with rushes". In the Roman times, the area was indeed marshy. Like Kerkom, Roosbeek was transfered to the abbey of Inde, and later to the St. Lambert chapter in Liège and the abbey of Villers.
Neervelp ("Lower Velpe"), like Opvelp ("Upper Velp", incorporated into the municipality of Bierbeek in 1976), was named after the river Velpe.
Felpa (*Falwapa) probably means "yellowish water" in Germanic. In 778, church documents already listed "Felpa inferior" (Lower Velpe) and "Felpa superior" (Upper Velpe).
Willebringen (Willebrengem, 1156; Willebrord's lineage estate) formed together with Honsem a domain owned successively owned by the abbeys of Villers and Park (Heverlee). In 1353, the Duke of Brabant made of Willebringen a warrande (warren or hunting reserve).

Source: Heemkunding Kring "Velpeleven-Boutersem" website

Ivan Sache, 28 May 2007

Municipal flag of Boutersem

The municipal flag of Boutersem, as commnicated by the municipal administration, is green, in proportion 4:5, with a yellow tower standing on a white hill, not centered on the flag, and the golden writing GEMEENTE / BOUTERSEM (Municipality / Boutersem) above the tower. A variant of this flag is used not too often, with a different font for the writing.

The official flag of Boutersem, not used, is green with a yellow tower standing on a white hill.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 17 September 1986 and 17 November 1986, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 10 March 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The flag is a banner of the municipal arms.

The "Velpeleven-Boutersem" website gives the arms of Boutersem as:
In sinopel een geopende woontoren met puntdak van goud, gemetseld en met valhek van keel, geplaatst op een heuvel met een baronnemuts van de Oostenrijkse Nederlanden (Vert a point-roofed tower opened or masoned gules with a portcullis of the same, standing on a mount. The shield surmounted by a coronet of Baron of the Austrian Netherlands).
The flag of Boutersem is described as:
Groen met een gele geopende woontoren met puntdak, gemetseld en met valhek van rood, peplaatst op een witte heuvel met zeven toppen (3 en 4) (Green with a point-roofed tower opened yellow, masoned in red and with a portcullis red, placed on a white hill made of seven mounds (3 and 4)).
The arms are based on municipal seals dated 1366, 1390 and 1503. Oddly enough, the colour of the tower and the hills is not mentioned either in the blazon or flag description. The tiny image of the arms shown on the "Velpeleven-Boutersem" website confirms the colour.

The old arms of Boutersem, granted by Royal Decree on 23 May 1838, were originally the arms of the Boutersem family. They have not been retained for the current municipal arms but they have inspired other municipal arms in Belgium and the Netherlands (and are still proudly borne by the local giant Balder. The arms are "Vert three mascles argent voided placed 2 and 1 a chief or three pales gules".
According to Servais, the three mascles (lozenges voided) already appeared in 1213 on the seal of Hendrik of Boutersem; the Berthout chief was added when Hendrik II of Boutersem married the heir of the Counts of Mechelen. Later, the Boutersem became Marquises of Bergen op Zoom, which explains why the arms of Boutersem appear on several municipal arms in the region, as follows:
- North-Brabant (The Netherlands): Fijnaart en Heijningen (Moerdijk), with the mascles originally white, later yellow, the second version being used on the flag; Halsteren (Bergen op Zoom), with white mascles, recalled on the flag by three white stripes on a green panel; Ossendrecht (Woensdrecht), with white mascles, not used on the flag; Oudenbosch (Halderberge), with white mascles, colours and mascle nicely reused on the flag; Rucphen, with the mascles originally yellow, then white, and shown on the municipal flag; Standdardbuiten (Moerdijk), with yellow mascles , with the colours probably reused on the flag; Willemstad (Moerdijk), with yellow mascles and white mascles on a green stripe used on the flag; Woensdrecht, with white mascles, not used on the flag; and Wouw (Rosendaal), with yellow mascles, with the colours probably reused on the flag.
- North-Holland (The Netherlands): Oostrhuizen (Zeevang), with white lozenges (filled mascles) on a blue chief, no flag reported; and Zeevang, with white mascles, not used on the flag.
- Belgium: Bonheiden, using until 1958, unofficially, the same coat of arms as Boutersem; Weerde (Zemst), with white mascles; and Zemst, whose old arms bear white mascles.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 11 June 2007