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Antwerp [Province of] (Belgium)


Last modified: 2002-11-30 by ivan sache
Keywords: flanders | antwerp | antwerpen | coat of arms | eagle: double-headed (black) | hands: 2 | castle | governor |
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[Province of Antwerp flag]from the Shipmate site, with permission

See also:

Current official flag (1997-)

The flag of the province of Antwerp was adopted by the provincial council on 18 October 1996 and approved by the Flemish Government on 7 January 1997. Approbation by the Flemish Government is mandatory for all the flags of Flemish provinces and municipalities.

Pascal Vagnat, 23 March 1997

Until recently, the Flemish provinces were not bound to have an official flag. In the streets, square flags bearing the provincial arms were frequently seen.
On the advice of the Coucil of Nobility (Raad van Adel), the provincial administration of Antwerp adopted on 26 October 1928 a flag made of three equally wide yellow, red and white stripes. This flag had two shortcomings: it was not really recognized and did not represent correctly Turnhout.
From historical and heraldical points of views, it was better to stick to the old Brabant tradition of chequered flags. This tradition traces back at least to the insurrection against the absolutism of Filip XI.
The association of red, yellow, blue and white from the main colours of Antwerp (red-white), Mechelen (yellow-red) and Turnhout (white-blue) can easily be compared to the historical models.

The heraldic description is:

Chequered with 24 pieces, in 4 rows and 6 columns. The pieces in the upper right and lower left corners of the flag are white, the neighbouring pieces are blue, yellow, red and white, respectively.

From the official website of the province of Antwerpen.

Translated from Dutch by Ivan Sache, 2 October 1999

Former official flag (1928-1997)

[Antwerp former flag]by Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg

The province had an official flag, vertically divided yellow-red-white which had been adopted on 26 October 1928 by the Council of the Nobility (Raad van Adel). It seems that even the provincial authorities had forgotten this flag.

Pascal Vagnat, 23 March 1997

Banner of arms (unofficial)

[Antwerp banner of arms]from the Shipmate site, with permission

The shield of the province of Antwerp has often motivated comprehensive historical research. K.C. Peeters discussed it in a detailed article published in Noordgouw (1961). P. Baudoin published an erudite contribution entitled Het Antwerpse provinciewapen: een heraldische ontleding aan. [The provincial arms of Antwerp: an heraldical analysis.]
This latter text was the legitimate basis of the decisions taken by the Permanent Deputation to correct the image (3 April 1980) and the description in Dutch (15 April 1982) of the shield.

A shield is usually topped with a crown showing the highest nobility title associated with the shield. In the case of the province of Antwerp, this is the title of margraf. The best representation of such a crown is found on the front of the city hall of Antwerp (three noble fleurons and two noble trosjes of three perls, alternating with lower points with a perl).
The arms of the margravedom of Antwerp were often supported by two golden lions which evoke the duchy of Brabant. The seigneury of Mechelen used in the late 18th [?] century two golden griffins. On this basis, it is logical to support the provincial shield dexter with a golden lion and sinister with a golden griffin. Both animals stand over deer antlers, thus allowing Turnhout to be also represented in the outer elements of the arms, and impregnating the whole heraldic composition (dexter Antwerp and sinister Mechelen, supported by Turnhout) in an extraordianry strong manner.

The heraldic description is:

Part 1. Gules, a castle with three windowed and crenelled Silver towers, lit and brickworked of Sable, the median tower in chief associated dexter with a dexter hand sinister at an angle opened and sinister with a sinister hand dexter at an angle opened, a chief in Gold with a double-headed eagle of Sable, langued and clawed of Gules and with a halo of Gold.
2. Gold, three pales of gules, escutcheon gold with an eagle of sable, langued and [footed] of gules; shield basis; silver, a pale of azure.
Shield topped with the crown of a sovereign margraf and supported dexter by a Gold lion, nailed and langued of Gules, sinister by a Gold griffin, nailed and langued of Gules. The whole takes place on two crossed deer antlers in natural colours.

From the official website of the province of Antwerpen (which includes a picture of the coat of arms).

Translated from Dutch by Ivan Sache, 2 October 1999

Provincial colours (unofficial)

[Antwerp provincial colours]by Mark Sensen

The colours were taken from the arms. These colours were not fixed. Sources are:

  • A chart called Vlaggen der Belgische Provincies - Drapeaux des Provinces Belges (Flags of the Belgian Provinces). This is not dated, but to judge from the font face used, it is from the 1920s or 1930s.
  • Roger Baert, in Flaggenmitteilung [fbn] #64 (March 1981)

Provincial Governor's honorary flag

[Governor's honorary flag]by Mark Sensen

I have some xerox copies of sheets which seem to come from a book (bilingual Dutch and French) containing regulations (for the Navy maybe?). It contains a sheet with the honorary flags of the governors of the provinces, adopted by Order in Council of 28 October 1936.
It includes a construction sheet. The flags are 150x150 cm. Each stripe is 50 cm. The shields are 43.5 cm. wide and 50 cm. high excluding 3.75 cm for the point of the shield. The shields are in the center of the black stripe.

Mark Sensen, 27 January 2001

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