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Flanders (Belgium): Local flags

Last modified: 2013-06-22 by ivan sache
Keywords: flanders | flemish heraldic council |
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Decree on the local symbols

The Decree prescribing the arms and the flags of the provinces, municipalities and districts, and of the Flemish Community Commission was adopted by the Flemish Parliament on 18 April 2007, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 27 April 2007 and published on 2 July 2007 in the Belgian official gazette.

Article 1. The present Decree settles a Community issue.

Article 2.

§ 1.
Each province, each municipality and each district, as well as the Flemish Community Commission, shall have its own arms and its own flag.

§ 2.
The arms of the Flemish Community Commission shall be made of a shield.
The arms of a province shall be made of a shield, of a crown and of two supporters.
The arms of a municipality shall be made of a shield, possibly with outer ornaments
The arms of a district shall be made of a shield with a reference to the municipality ruling the district. The flag of a district shall be swallow-tailed.

§ 3.
The shield, including, if relevant, the outer ornaments, shall be put on the seal of the Flemish Community Commission, of the province, of the municipality and of the district.

Article 3.

§ 1.
Within the year following the coming into effect of the present Decree, the District Council shall submit its Decision prescribing the arms and a flag to the approval by the Flemish Government.

§ 2.
The arms and the flag of the Flemish Community Commission, prescribed by Regulation of 9 June 2000 stating the definition on the emblems belonging to the Flemish Community Commission, shall keep force of law.
These arms and this flag can be superseded, only invoking new facts or reasons, by a Regulation of the Flemish Community Commission approved by the Flemish Government, according to the prescriptions of § 3 of Article 4.
The municipal arms and flags prescribed by Decree of 28 January 1977 prescribing the arms and the flag of the municipalities, as well as the provincial flags and arms, as well as the municipal flags and arms prescribed by Decree of 21 December 1994 prescribing the arms and the flag of the provinces and of the municipalities, shall keep force of law.
These arms and flags can be superseded, only invoking new facts or reasons, by a Decision of the Provincial Council or of the Municipal Council, approved by the Flemish Government, according to the prescriptions of § 3 of Article 4.

§ 3.
Within three months after the receipt of the Regulation of the Flemish Community Commission, of the Decision of the Provincial Council, of the Decision of the Municipal Council, or of the Decision of the District Council, the Flemish Government, after advice of the Flemish Heraldic Council, especially of the Heraldry Division of the Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites, shall take a Decision approving this Regulation of this Decision, or shall send to the Flemish Community Commission, to the province, to the municipality or to the district a justified request to revise the Regulation or the Decision. The advice of the Flemish Heraldic Council, especially of the Heraldry Division of the Royal Commission for Monuments and Sites, shall be attached to this request.
Within three months after the receipt of the revision request, the Flemish Community Commission, the Provincial Council, the Municipal Council or the District Council shall submit a new Regulation or a new Descision to the approval by the Flemish Government.

Article 4. If, when the deadline prescribed by Article 3 expires, the Flemish Community Commission, a province, a municipality or a district has failed to submit a Regulation or a Decision, or, if relevant, a new Regulation or a new Decision, the Flemish Government shall automatically prescribe arms and a flag. The same holds if the Flemish Government does not approve the new Regulation or the new Decision as prescribed in Article 3, § 3, second Section.

Article 5.

§ 1.
The Decree of 21 December 1994 prescribing the arms and the flag of the provinces and of the municipalities is abrogated.

§ 2.
The arms and the flag of the Flemish Community Commission, as well as the arms and the flags of provinces, municipalities and districts prescribed as stated in the present Decree, shall be modified and and prescribed again, only invoking new facts or new reasons, by a Regulation of the Flemish Community Commission or by a Decision of the Provincial Council or of the Municipal Council, approved by the Flemish Government, as prescribed in Article 3, § 3 and Article 4.

Article 6. The present Decree shall come into effect on 1 January 2007.

Ivan Sache, 19 June 2008


The Flemish Heraldic Council

The Flemish Heraldic Council has the jurisdiction to approve the municipal and provincial flags and coat of arms in Flanders.

By a Decree from 28 January 1977 (Belgian official gazette, 7 April 1977), the government of Flanders decides that every Flemish municipality should have a flag and coat of arms approved by the government.
On 21 December 1978, an Heraldic Subcommittee was appointed to enforce the Decree. On 11 April 1984 (Belgian official gazette, 18 September 1984), the Subcommittee was replaced by the Flemish Heraldic Council, whose composition was prescribed by Ministerial Decree on 21 May 1984 (Belgian official gazette, 27 November 1984).
The 1984 Decree was confirmed by Decree on 21 December 1994 (Belgian official gazette, 4 April 1995), which increased the jurisdiction of the Council to the provincial heraldry.
The 1994 Decree was eventually abrogated in 2007 and superseded by the Decree given above.

A Decree from 3 February 1998 allows private persons and institutions to bear a coat of arms. The mode of enforcement of the Law is prescribed by the Decree from 17 July 2000 (Belgian official gazette, 1 September 2000). Here again, the coat of arms must be approved by the Flemish Heraldic Council.

The Flemish Heraldic Council is made of seven members and a secretary, who are:
- Mr André Vandewalle, Chief-Archivist of the town of Bruges, President;
- Mr Jozef Dauwe, Lawyer;
- Mr Luc Duerloo, Professor of History;
- Mr Eric Houtman, Archivist at the State Archives in Antwerp;
- Dr Monique Van Melkebeek, Professor at the University of Ghent;
- Ir Jean-Jacques van Ormelingen, President of the Genealogical and Heraldic Federation of Belgium;
- Mrs Lieve Viaene-Awouters, Honorary President;
- Mr Patrick van Waterschoot, Secretary.

Source: Website of the Flemish Heraldic Council

Ivan Sache, 23 August 2008


 
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