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Antwerp (Province, Belgium)

Antwerpen, Anvers

Last modified: 2005-06-17 by ivan sache
Keywords: flanders | antwerp | antwerpen | anvers | eagle: double-headed (black) | hands: 2 (white) | castle (white) | governor |
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[Province of Antwerp flag]from Shipmate, with permission

See also:

Official flag

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.

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 an 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 the city of 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 flag is made of 24 square 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.

Source: Official website of the Province of Antwerp.

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 Shipmate, 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 margrave. 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 margravate of Antwerp were often supported by two golden lions which evoke the Duchy of Brabant. The seigneury of Mechelen used in the late XVIIIth [?] 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 extraordinary strong manner.

The heraldic description is:

Per pale; 1. Gules, a castle argent with three towers windowed, crenelled, opened and masoned 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, chief or a double-headed eagle sable langued and armed gules haloed or. 2. Or, three pales gules, escutcheon or with an eagle sable, langued and armed gules; shield basis argent a pale azure.
The shield is topped with the crown of a sovereign margrave and supported dexter by a lion or, armed and langued gules, sinister by a griffin or, armed and langued gules. The whole on two crossed deer antlers in natural.

Source: Official website of the province of Antwerpen

Translated from Dutch by Ivan Sache, 2 October 1999

Provincial colours (unofficial)

[Antwerp provincial colours]by Mark Sensen

The white and red 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 150 x 150 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