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Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (The Netherlands)

Zeelandic Flanders

Last modified: 2018-12-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: zeeuws vlaanderen |
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[new Zeeuws Vlaanderen] image by Jarig Bakker, 14 Jan 2009
adopted 5 Jan 2009; design: Dingeman de Koning

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New Zeeuws-Vlaanderen proposal

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen (Zeelandic Flanders), the northwestern most part of  historic Flanders, is the southernmost part of the Dutch Province of  Zeeland. The region is separated from the rest of Zeeland by the estuary of the Wester Schelde and has land borders with Belgium only. Since the administrative reform of 2003, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen is made of the three municipalities of Hulst, Sluis and Terneuzen.

On 6 January 2009, René Hoonhorst reports in "PZC" (Provinciale Zeeuwsche Courant) the official presentation of the flag of Zelandic Flanders, held on 5 January in Terneuzen. The flag was designed by the expert in heraldry Dingeman de Koning, from Axel (Terneuzen).
Flags used in the past to represent the region (including, I guess, the flag shown on the FOTW website) did not meet the Higher Council of Nobility's requirements and were, accordingly, never officially approved. Aware of the Council's requirements and of local history, de Koning designed a flag representing Terneuzen, Sluis and Hulst.
The flag is horizontally divided red-white-red-yellow-blue-white-blue.The apparent prorportions of the stripes are 1:1:1:6:1:1:1 and the border between the coloured stripes and the yellow stripe is wavy.
The upper red stripes come form the flag of Sluis, while the lower blue stripes come from the flag of Terneuzen. The stripes represents the North Sea, the Zwin and Wester Schelde, that is water bordering more than 60% of the region.
The yellow stripe in the middle of the flag is charged with a black lion, recalling the flags of Flanders and Hulst (but, seemingly, without the red tongue and nails). The particular design of the lion was not copied on any existing arms, but was created as a "young, robust and dynamic lion".
The colours of the flag also recalls the links of the region with both the Netherlands and Belgium. The article contains a colour photo of the flag.

The "Reformatorisch Dagblad", 6 January 2009, also reports the flag, showing a different colour photo (clickable, from the official presentation of the flag in Sluis) and adding that the municipalities can use the flag to promote Zelandic Flanders. The 500 flags already manufactured can be purchased from the regional VVVs (tourism offices).
Ivan Sache, 6 Jan 2009

Earlier attempts to introduce such a flag (surely unsuccessful) may be documented by our Dutch List members, but [Laa13] shows a possible Zeeland flag incorporating Flemish colours. This is a book by T. van der Laars: "Wapens, vlaggen en zegels van Nederland: Geschiedkundige bijdragen omtrent wapens van Nederland en zijne provinciën, van het Koninklijk Huis, enz." i.e. Arms, flags, and seals of the Netherlands.
(Note: [Laa89] is a 1989 reprint but I have one which seems to date from 1930.)
On p. 30 (fig. 115b) Van der Laars shows a flag in the Zeeland armorial colours: horizontally divided, top down: red, yellow, blue, and white. Very much resembling the local "parade flag" of 1938:
The Flemish colours being black and yellow (flag horizontally so divided, top down, shown as 115f), a flag subtitled "Zeeland colours combined with the Flemish colours. Zelandic Flanders" is horizontally divided, top down: red, yellow, black, white, and blue (115g).
This is an essay - as Van der Laars writes, he "gives (...) a few examples of how a Zeeland provincial flag might be combined from the preceding heraldic information".
Of course this was in 1913, several decades before the introduction of the current provincial, and now also regional, flags.
Jan Mertens, 6 Jan 2009

Zeeuws-Vlaanderen proposed flag

Zeeuws Vlaanderen image by Shipmate

This image is from the Shipmate-pages. Designer and date unknown.
Jarig Bakker, 14 Jan 2009

Another Zeeuws-Vlaanderen proposal

[Another Zeeuws-Vlaanderen proposal] image by Jarig Bakker, 14 Jan 2009
proposed 1971; design: A. J. Beenhakker

I have tried to find the original article, on which the unofficial flag as published on the FOTW-pages was based, but so far didn't manage to find it.
But I found another one in Anton Jansen's "Vlaggen", no. 71 (1991): p. 1007-1009.
Description: seven horizontal wavy stripes of blue and white; a yellow hoisttriangle charged with a Flemish lion (black, armed red).
This flag was designed by ir. A. J. Beenhakker in mid-September 1971.
The blue and white waved symbolize Zeeland.
The yellow triangle represents the "corner of Vlaanderen" in Zeeland.

The flag was designed to be used during a demonstration on 16 October 1971 - but failed to reach its destination on time! However it was published in the "Provinciale Zeeuwsche Courant" of Friday 26 November 1971. Jansen doesn't mention interference by the High Council of Nobility - which might have objected to the use of the Flemish lion - but from his article the main reason of its failure was the lack of timing.
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen was connected to the Dutch mainland by several ferries (Vlissingen-Breskens; Kruiningen-Perkpolder), which were free. In the years 1950-1970 the Dutch Parliament and the Provincial Government of Zeeland discussed several times possibilities to spend less money on those ferries, or to abolish them alltogether. The Zeeuws-Vlamingen protested several times; in 1971 they used the (unofficial) Zeeuws-Vlaamse coat of arms.
In 2003 the Westerschelde-cartunnel was finished, and in March the last car-ferry over the Westerschelde was abolished. This tunnel (between Ellewoutsdijk and Terneuzen) makes a great connection between Rotterdam and Gent, but lacks the inner-provincial qualities of the previous ferries - and is not free: cars: 7 Euro. And it is well known in the Netherlands: "Ons Seeuwen bent sunig" (We, Zeeuwen, are thrifty). In 2006 a committee was formed, which tried to have the tunnel-fees for Zeeuws-Vlamingen abolished or greatly reduced - it seems that that may be the background for the proposed design mentioned by Ivan.
Jarig Bakker, 14 Jan 2009