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East Flanders (Province, Belgium)

Oost-Vlaanderen, Flandre Orientale

Last modified: 2003-03-21 by ivan sache
Keywords: flanders | lion (black) | east flanders | oost-vlaanderen | flandre orientale | proposal | coat of arms | river | governor |
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Official flag of East Flandersby Mark Sensen

See also:

Official flag

Michel Lupant gave me a photocopy of the Belgian Gazetteer (Moniteur Belge/Belgisch Staatsblad) of14 April 1999 Ed.2, in which the decree of 14 December 1998 was published by which the Flemish minister of Culture, Family and Welfare imposed (!) flag and coat-of-arms on the province of East Flanders.
The official description of the flag is (translated from Dutch/Flemish):
'Three stripes with proportions 5:6:5, the upper and lower stripe green, the middle stripe alternate white and green with proportions 1:1:1:1:4:1:1, in the fly a black lion with red nails and tongue.'
The appendix has images of the coat-of-arms and flag.

In the original drawing the lion had three nails at each claw, which was rejected. The original artist refused to change this to four nails, so another artist had to be found to make a new drawing. In this new drawing the lion is less modern than in the original one. Michel Lupant told us that the rejected flag was used unofficially, and that someone had seen a square version.

Mark Sensen, 29 May 1999

Green and white should be the authentic medieval colours of East Flanders and also represent the increasing concern for environment. The four white lines represent the rivers which cross the province, the thickest line representing the Scheldt (Schelde/Escaut).
The colour specifications are:

  • Red: Pantone 186c
  • Green: Pantone 354c

Jan Cuelenaere, 19 June 1999

Rejected proposal

Rejected proposalby Jaume Ollé

This proposal adopted by the Provincial Council was rejected by the Heraldic Council on 21 March 1996 because the lion had only three nails to each paw. Normally an heraldic lion has four nails, but this isn't always the case. See for instance the Greater coat of arms of Bavaria where the Palatinate lion has also three nails, the Souabe leopards also, as well as some paws of the supporters.
So: were these three nails the problem for the adoption of this flag (and coat of arms since the lion in the shield of the coat of arms of the province is the same) the true reason for the non official recognition of the emblems by the Flemish authorities? Can we think also that the problem appeared because the drawing of this lion is very stylised contrary to the other heraldical lions in the other provinces?
Anyway, though the flag hasn't been officially recognized, it has been already produced by Flemish flag manufacturers, but ...with a four nail lion, as one can see in the city of Bruges (West-Flanders). According to the law concerning the flags of Flemish provinces, if the flag of a province cannot be approved by the Flemish Heraldical Council, this last adopts one for the province.
The flag and the coat of arms of East Flanders were drawn by the heraldist and painter Fernand Broose, who has already drawn the flag and the coat of arms of the Belgian German speaking Community.

Pascal Vagnat, 4 January 1999

Banner of arms

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

Lion rampant sable, tongued and nailed gules, on or.

Filip van Laenen

Provincial colours (unofficial)

The colours were taken from the arms. These colours were not fixed. Various sources give different designs, but two main sets can be compiled.

  • 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.

[East Flanders provincial colours #1]by Mark Sensen

  • Some Dutch atlases and books about the provinces show another set, published by Rudi Koot in Vexilla Nostra [vxn] #185 (1993) p. 32-33

[East Flanders provincial colours #2]by Mark Sensen

Provincial Governor's honorary flag

[Governor's honorary flag]by Mark Sensen

I have some xerox copies of sheets which seam 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