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Kapellen (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Kapellen]

Municipal flag of Kapellen - Image by Jarig Bakker, 1 October 2001

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Presentation of Kapellen

The municipality of Kapellen (26,104 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 3,711 ha) is located between Antwerp and the border with the Netherlands.

Kapellen is made of five boroughs: Kapellen-Center, Putte, Kapellenbos, Hoogboom and Zilverenhoek. Hobonia (Hoogboom) was mentioned for the first time in 1267, Hoghescote (Hoogenschoot - Center) in 1277 and Ertbrand (Putte) in 1277, while Zilverenhoek appeared only in 1844 on a cadastral map. Kapellenbos is even more recent, since it remained an uninhabited place covered with woods and moor until the end of the XIXth century.

Kapellen-Center and Hoogboom belonged to the domain of Ekeren (today a district of Antwerp), owned by the lords of Breda on behalf of the Duke of Brabant. The domain of Ekeren was ran by seven magistrates from Kapellen and another seven from Hoogboom. The oldest chart of the village, dated 1534, has 52 articles, to which 17 articles were added in 1548. The domain was transferred successively to the lords of Gavere-Liedekerke (1287), of Wezemael (1325), of Boutersem (1389), of Maelstede (XVth century), of Lalaing (1518) and of Salm (1719). Putte originally belonged to the lords of Attenhoven (1248) and was transferred successively to the lords of Breda (1275), of Gavere-Liedekerke (1287), of Aarschot (1302), of Bergen op Zoom (XIVth century) and of Bailleul (XVIth century). In 1714, the whole domain of Ekeren was united by the lords of Salm-Salm, also Counts of Hoogstraten, then Dukes of Hoogstraten (1740) and Princes of the Holy Roman Empire.

The chapel that gave its name to the town was mentioned for the first time in 1256, as the St. James the Greater chapel, depending on the St. Lambert church of Ekeren. In 1583-1585, the Spaniards besieged Antwerp; 90 % of the houses of Kapellen were burned down, including the church and the school, and most inhabitants left the town. A short period of blossoming in the early XVIIth century ended with the black plague epidemic of 1623, that killed one out five inhabitants of Kapellen. The town had to wait for the Peace of Munster in 1648 and the official set up of the border between the Northern and Southern Nederlands to reemerge; the church was rebuilt in 1674 and a school was opened in Putte in 1695. Trade was boosted by the building of a paved road to Merksem in 1759. At the same period, the transformation of the moors into arable fields started. A silk mill was opened in 1782 in Hoogboom, which employed 40 workers until 1900.

On 7 September 1800, the French administration made of Kapellen an independant municipality, by secession from Stabroek. In 1800, Putte, including the boroughs of Essenhout and Den Hoorn van Hoevenen, was incorporated into Kapellen. After the independence of Belgium in 1830, Kapellen developed as a modern town. In 1836, a coach service was opened between Antwerp, Kapellen and Bergen op Zoom; King Léopold I visited the town the same year. The first train on the new Amsterdam-Rotterdam line reached Kapellen in 1854. There were significant changes in the local economy: flax and tobacco were replaced by potatoes and oilseed rape. The Van den Bergh, Biart and Philips brickyards could not survive the competition with the other Kempen villages. The Van Bogaert, Vouwé and Maes tanneries were also closed quite quickly.
On 1 January 1983, Hoogboom and Ziverenhoek were separated from Antwerp and incorporated into Kapellen.

Source: Municipal website - Text by R. Balbaert, Kulturele Kring Hoghescote

Ivan Sache, 5 August 2007

Municipal flag of Kapellen

The municipal flag of Kapelle is horizontally divided in six stripes, in turn blue and yellow.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 28 November 1977, confirmed by Royal Decree on 21 June 1978 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 6 September 1978. After the adoption of the federal status of Belgium, the adoption processus had to resume: the same flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 24 September 1992, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 13 October 1993 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 21 June 1994.
The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.
The municipal flag seems to be very popular, since it is shown all over the municipal website, including the frontpage.

The municipal website shows the municipal arms, designed by Paul Van Houtte, from Brussels, as In lazuur drie akers van goud. Het schild geplaatst voor een Sint Jacob de Meerdere als pelgrim, houdend een kapel in de linkerhand, alles van goud (Azure three pots or. The shield supported by a St. James the Greater as a pilgrim, holding a chapel in sinister, all or).
The akers are taken from the former arms of Ekeren, "Azure three brewing pots or". The chapel hold by the patron saint of the town is the Hoogenschoot chapel after which the town was named.
According to Servais, the arms of Ekeren were granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 6 October 1819, after arms first mentioned in 1627. Since the colours of the original arms were not known, the modern arms were granted in the Dutch national colours, azure and or. The arms were confirmed by (Belgium) Royal Decree on 27 December 1841.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 5 August 2007