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German-speaking Community (Belgium)

Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft

Last modified: 2002-03-02 by ivan sache
Keywords: belgium | german-speaking community | deutschsprachige gemeinschaft | lion (red) | law | quintefoils: 9 (blue) |
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[Flag of the German Community in Belgium]by Mark Sensen
Official flag

[flag in use]by Mark Sensen
Flag in use

See also:

Status of the Community

The German-speaking Community stretches over 853 sq. km in the East of Wallonia, and includes ca. 67,000 inhabitants (German-speaking Belgian citizens).

The area includes nine municipalities:

  • Amel
  • Bülingen
  • Burg-Reuland
  • Bütgenbach
  • Eupen
  • Kelmis (La Calamine)
  • Lontzen
  • Raeren
  • Sankt Vith.

Source: Community website

The German-speaking Community exercizes competencies in the German-speaking municipalities, all of them being located in the province of Liège.

The legislative power is exercized by a Council and a Government. The Council of the German-speaking Community is made of 25 members. One of them is delegated to the Senate. The members of the Council of the German-speaking Community are directly elected.
The Council of the German-speaking Community votes decrees.

The executive power is exercized by the Government of the German-speaking Community, made of a Minister-President and two Ministers.

Source: Belgian Government website

Ivan Sache, 13 July 2001

Description of the flag and arms

The flag is a banner of the arms. The arms are Silver, a lion Gules surrounded by nine quintefoils Azure.

Pascal Vagnat, 17 May 1996

This flag (square version) is shown on the Flags of Aspirant Peoples chart [eba94], #71, with the following caption:

Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft - Eupen, Malmédy and Sankt-Vith

Ivan Sache, 14 September 1999

Origin of the flag and arms

In 1989, there was a call for proposals for a flag and arms of the Community. Some of the proposals were published in the local newspaper Grenz-Echo.

Before the Belgian independence (1830), the northern part of the Community belonged to Duchy of Limburg whereas its southern part belonged to Duchy of Luxembourg.
The coat of arms of the Community was designed by merging the arms of the two former Duchies. Both included a red lion. The lion for the Community was kept red, but lost its crown. Its claws and tongue were changed from gold to red.
The (National) Council for Heraldry and Nobility asked to change the forked tail in saltire for a simpler tail curved to the lion back. The lion was modernized but many people did not enjoy the modification, finding the animal much too aggressive and looking jigsawed.

The silver field recalls both the fields of Limburg and Luxembourg arms, the latter being charged with five azure stripes. In the first draft of the arms of the Community, those blue stripes were supposed to be recalled by nine green lime-tree leaves, standing also for the nine municipalities of the Community.
Léon Nyssen was eventually able to convince the authorities that the nine elements should be blue and changed for flowers of a gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe), easily represented by quintefoils. However, Nyssen could not convince the authorities to 'transpose' the arms into a flag rather than simply placing them on a white field.

The flag and arms were adopted on 1 October 1990 by the Community Council after long discussions. 'Colours' were also adopted (white, red and blue), but their arrangement was not stated and they were apparently never used.
The official texts in German do not strictly match their French and Dutch translations, as it is unfortunately often the case in Belgium.

According to a drawing attached to the Decree, the flag should be square or 'Belgian square' (13:15), but it is always used in 2:3 proportion.

Source: Léon Nyssen Le drapeau de la Communauté germanophone. Vexillacta [vxl] #12, June 2001.

Ivan Sache, 2 July 2001

Laws concerning the flag and arms

Law of the 1 October 1990 (published on 15 November 1990 ) prescribes the arms, the flag, the colours and the Community day.

The flag of the community shall be flown on 15 November (Community day) on the public buildings of the German speaking Community and, outside this region on the buildings which belongs exclusively or temporarily to the Community. In the German speaking region, it also flies on the official buildings in the same conditions and on the same days as the Belgian national flag.

Pascal Vagnat, 17 May 1996

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