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Ghent (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Gent - Gand

Last modified: 2016-03-20 by ivan sache
Keywords: ghent | gent | gand |
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Flag of Ghent - Image by Mark Sensen, 10 May 1999, after an official image communicated by Jan de Baets [Voorlichtingsdienst Stad Gent - Information Service of the City of Ghent)]

See also:

Flag of Ghent

The flag of Ghent is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 9 October 1990 by the Flemish Minister of Culture, after approval by the Flemish Heraldic Counci. The picture in the Decree is different from the image shown above, so it might be that the municipal authorities have redrawn the flag so that it would be nicer.

Pascal Vagnat, 10 May 1999

Former flags of Ghent

[Former flag of Ghent]         [Former flag of Ghent]

Former municipal flags of Ghent, c. 1900 - Images by Ivan Sache, 12 June 2005

Nouveau Larousse Illustré, Dictionnaire Universel Encyclopédique (7 volumes, published in Paris, 1898-1904) shows the flags of the main Belgian towns, then based on the traditional colours of the towns.
Two flags are shown for Ghent, the first horizontally divided black and white and the second vertically divided black and white.

Jan Martens & Ivan Sache, 12 June 2005

Former municipality of Ledeberg

[Flag of Ledeberg]

Flag of Ledeberg - Image by Ivan Sache, 4 July 2009

On 1 May 2008, Lievin Decaluwé, Municipal Councillor in charge of Culture, Tourism and Festivals, answered questions raised by Isabelle De Clercq, Municipal Councillor, about the flags of the former municipalities incorporated into Ghent in 1976.
According to the Town's Archives, there is no inventory of these flags. Some of the former municipalities were granted arms by Royal Decree: Drongen (1950), Gentbrugge (1819 - Dutch Decree / 1839 - Belgian Decree), Ledeberg (1955), Oostakker (1952), Sint-Amandsberg (1946), Sint-Denijs-Westrem (1922) and Zwijnaarde (1933). The other municipalities had no arms; Mariakerke and Wondelgem used the arms of Ghent.
No real flag was found either at the Festival Material Service, founded in 1980, or at the Town's Archives.

De Clercq pointed out that the flags of the former municipalities of Bruges are shown in a dedicated place in the town hall and suggested Ghent to follow the example. Decaluwé answered that such a display could be part of a municipal project celebrating the 1976 merging.

A survey made in the former municipalities yielded the following answers:
- Zwijnaarde used a red-white flag, no longer available;
- Gentbrugge: no flag found;
- Wondelgem had no flag, according to the local history circle; the local museum has a flag designed after 1976;
- Drongen: the flag, owned by the local history circle, needs restoration;
- Ledeberg: the village council owns three copies of the flag, in acceptable state.

The flag of Ledeberg, as seen on a photo taken during the 2007 Ledeberg Festival, is vertically divided red-yellow, which are the colours of the former municipal arms, "Gules three keys or".
According to the Heraldry of the World website, the arms of Ledeber, granted by Royal Decree on 15 December 1949, show three keys, the symbol of the St. Peter Abbey in Ghent, which ruled the estate of Ledeberg since the 14th century. The shield is placed in front of St. Daniel, the patron saint of the village.
It seems that before 1949 Ledeberg colours were white and blue, possibly repeating the heraldic colours of the preceding arms showing three nose-ringed bulls (history).

Jan Mertens, Aleksandar Nemet & Ivan Sache, 4 July 2009

Historic banners

Ghent Weavers' Guild (14th century)

[Banner of the Ghent weavers]

Flag of the Ghent Weavers' Guild - Image by Filip Van Laenen, 29 January 1997

A 14th-century drawing shows a flag with the lion of Flanders, the lion of Ghent and a third lion flanked by two golden netting needles. The lion is blue, on a red field, with golden tongue and claws. This flag probably belonged to the Ghent Weavers' Guild.

Filip Van Laenen, 29 January 1997

The Maid of Ghent banner (15th century)

[The Maid of Ghent banner]

The Maid of Ghent banner - Photography taken in 1914 (unknown photographer)

The Maid of Ghent banner (photos), painted by Agnes van den Bossche around 1483, is preserved in the Bijloke Museum. This woman painter was admitted into the Ghent painters' guild in 1468 or 1469. The town records for 1481-82 mention her work on a banner depicting the Maid of Ghent (in French, la Pucelle de Gand).
On a green field, at right (near the hoist), the Maid of Ghent stands quietly on a ground, keeping the town's rampant lion in check. At the fly end of the triangular banner, the letter "G" provides another reference to Ghent. The banner, of dimension 100 / 104 cm x 265 / 277 cm, is made of embroidred and painted silk, embroidered and painted.

This kind of representation was very popular, influenced for instance by a poem by >Bouden van der Loore, De maghet van Ghend, which symbolically relates the war between the town and the Count of Flanders, culminating in the defeat of Philip van Artevelde in 1382 at the Battle of Westrozebeke. Seemingly alone and undefended, save for the lion, in reality the Maid is assisted by Christ and the most prestigious of saints, and peace is concluded.
There is, for instance, a later representation of the Maid of Ghent on a bell.

Together with other objects, the Maid of Ghent banner has been designated a cultural heirloom of the Flemish Community by Ministerial Decree of 7 April 2009, published on 21 April 2009.

Motivation: This banner is very rare for several reasons. It is the only remaining flag of the early Dutch school and painted on cloth, to have been preserved. Furthermore the creator, Agnes vanden Bossche [sic] is known from documents. She is the only female late fifteenth century artist to whom any work namely this flag can be ascribed [...].

Jan Mertens, 18 May 2009

Ghent deaneries

The KVGDG (Koninklijk Verbond der Gebuurtedekenijen van de Stad Gent, Royal Association of Local Deaneries of the Town of Ghent; website) has a current membership of 62 but there were once more than 200 deaneries, while not all of the current ones are member of KVGDG.
Here, "deanery" indicates the remnant of a medieval administrative unit, ranking below a ward, which seems to have survived at Ghent only. A locally elected official (deken, "dean") is a local J.P. and responsible for night watch, firefighters, and cleanliness served as intermediary between the town council and his neighbourhood. Since 1854 the main activities of deaneries have been charity work and festivities.

Jan Mertens, 21 July 2009

Dekenij Ledeberg

The flag (photo) of the non-profit organization Dekenij Ledeberg (Ledeberg Deanery) is white with a black-yellow-red fringe and the arms of Ledeberg in the center; above it, in a flowing italic script (first letter larger and red, then black) "Dekenij" and below it, in the same manner, "Ledeberg". Near the bottom line is written in upright black letters between dots: "GESTICHT IN 1995"(Founded in 1995). But for a few details (nimbus, ground) the arms follow the official pattern. The banner's reverse is unknown.
The inauguration of the organization, along with the consecration of the banner, took place on 24 February 1995. Donated by the local trophy shop Jenny Sport and consecrated by Pastor (and Dean) Stefaan De Paepe, the banner has a godmother and godfather, Ms. Annie Maenhout and Mr. Emile Dierickx, respectively.
The flag has a fringe in the national colours as the organization is a member of KVGDG.

Jan Mertens, 21 July 2009

Dekenij Bevrijdingslaan

Bevrijdingslaan (Liberation Avenue) deanery covers an area in the north-west of Ghent, between the town's centre and the former municipality of Mariakerke.
The banner of the Bevrijdingslaan deanery (photo) is a yellow flag, fringed black and yellow, with five black loops, bearing a modern rendition of Ghent's arms near the hoist and black lettering in the fly (no serifs): "DEKENIJ / BEVRIJDINGSLAAN / [3D image of a squat lower case letter "b", black] / GENT".

Jan Mertens, 25 June 2010

Dekenij Westveld

Westveld ("Western Field"), once a rural area, is now urbanized and part of Ghent / Sint-Amandsberg. As explained on the deanery's website, there were two hippodromes located there, 1885-1912 and 1920-1928. The local street names recall that period.
The banner of the Westveld Deanery (photos) is a yellow flag with five loops and a yellow fringe. Black texts (bowed, no serifs) at the top "VZW Dekenij Westveld 1995" and at the bottom "Sint-Amandsberg" surround a horse's head in brown, white, black, and russet colours. A horse collar is shown as well in grey and black with a white sparkle. No idea what the little supplementary flaglet means; the acronym "VZW" indicates a non-profit organization.

Jan Mertens, 15 July 2010

State University of Ghent (Rijksuniversiteit Gent)

[Flag of the University of Ghent]

Flag of the State University of Ghent - Image by Ivan Sache, 29 January 2006

The flag of the State University of Ghent (photo) is vertically divided blue and yellow.
The flag of the University Hospital of Ghent (Universitair Ziekenhuis Gent) has the cypher of the Hospital added on the blue-yellow flag.

Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 24 March 2007

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