Last modified: 2003-09-06 by
Keywords: limburg |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | | mirrors
by Mark Sensen, 4 May 1999
adopted 28 Jul 1958
Via the Benevex-list Jos Poels sent an article about the provincial flag of Limburg. Here is my translation:
Article in "De Limburger" newspaper, by Bart Ebisch, quoting Jos Poels, 22 Jul 2003.
The provincial flag of Limburg (Netherlands) exists for 50 years. On 28 Jul 1953 the flag was officially adopted by the "Provinciale Staten" (provincial parliament). This had been preceded by a long battle of flags.
A provincial flag consisting of red and white colors has existed long ago, but the Minister of Foreign Affairs sent a letter on 19 Mar 1883, in which he stated that the Duchy of Limburg was not an independent state and was therefore not entitled to hoist its own flag. For no province of the Realm (and as such Limburg is to be constitutionally considered) is allowed, as part of the Realm, to have another flag than the National flag of the Netherlands...
The Limburgian flagbattle reached its zenith in 1885. Minister of Justice Du Tour van Bellinchave is getting involved. Earlier his
colleague of Foreign Affairs, Rochussen, had taken a similar position. Both reacted to the request of the archivary of Maastricht, Jos Habets, to make the white over red flag the official provincial flag. The Dutch government resolutely decided twice: "Njet!"
Vexillologist Jos Poels (born in Horst, Limburg, in 1957) has researched the flag of Limburg for years. The seed of the battle is found in 1815, the year that Willem I was acclaimed as King of the Netherlands. The French have been expelled. The Netherlands reach from the Waddenzee to Luxemburg, divided into seventeen provinces, among which rebellious Limburg. In 1830 Limburg, except for Maastricht, is assigned to Belgium. Both Limburgs are united and boast the same flag, approved by the Belgian government. Two years later the division of both Limburgs takes place and Dutch Limburg looses its flag.
The country was a political unit, but its population was not ready for it yet. The Southerners felt oppressed by the Northerners. The Limburgers felt much more affinity to Belgium than to the Netherlands. The white-red flag was regularly used to express anti-Dutch sentiments, for instance during fairs and celebrations. The German flag was popular as well.
No Dutch province had in those days an official flag - the national government acted very discouraging. In 1841 the Limburg municipalities are ordered to acquire the Dutch flag. Most municipalities are obedient. But Limburg insists on its own provincial flag: the same flag as Belgian Limburg, but the colors reversed. The problem is considered in the national newspapers. In 1886 Limburg receives its own provincial arms, and it is hoped that the problem will resolve itself.
The white-red flag disappears, except for Maastricht. On 2 Sep 1938 it even becomes the official cityflag of the Limburgian capital. Only fifteen years later Limburg gets its own flag. On 26 Jun provincial governor F. Houben (a Limburger himself) writes to the "Provinciale Staten": "Perhaps you noticed that Limburg does not have an official flag. This has been felt as a vacuum, which in our opinion needs to be filled".
The proposal of Gedeputeerde Staten (provincial government) - a flag with five horizontal stripes of red - white - blue - yellow - black - is refused by Provinciale Staten. - Nearly the same flag as the 1938 Parading flag, but nothing typically Limburgian can be noticed in the flag, according to PS. VIPs in Central and Northern Limburg get involved in the matter, like Bishop van Gils. A proposal of a flag with over all a cross is pushed - and equally refused.
Finally a design of a Maastricht architect, Maris, is agreed upon, albeit in a slightly modified form. Everybody is jubilant about the flaming-red rampant lion in the center, but the colors are still under consideration. The newspaper "Dagblad voor Noord-Limburg" publishes on 28 Mar 1953 the unofficial flag with the lion on a white background in the center of the blue stripe. Three months later - on 30 Jul 1953 - the official flag is hoisted, consisting of the lion and three horizontal stripes white - blue - yellow.
Maris developed the flag during WWII. Whether a coincidence or not, his original concept consisted of a white flag with a blue stripe, on which a red lion - red - white - blue! The blue stripe symbolizes the Maas river. The "Limburgse Leeuw" represents the old Duchy of Limburg, from which the present provincial name is derived. The lion differs from the Dutch Lion, because it has a double tail.
Jarig Bakker, 24 Jul 2003
In 1938 Queen Wilhelmina had reigned the Netherlands for 40 years. On that occasion a lot of municipalities paraded in front of HM with their flags, which consisted of the provincial flag with the municipal CoA in the canton (or something...). Those municipal flags can only be considered as 'curiosities', while the status of the provincial flags is not quite clear.
Source: Wie, Wat, Waar? 1942 - Annual of the "Rotterdamsch Nieuwsblad".
Jarig Bakker, 26 January 2001
"Quarterly; I argent, a lion double queued gules, armed and crowned or; II or a lion rampant sable, armed and langued gules; III or, three bugle horns gules, vrioled of argent; IV azure, a lion rampant double-queued or, crowned of the same, langued gules; and an in escutcheon argent, a lion rampant double-queued gules, crowned and armed or. . The shield is crested by a duke's coronet three diadems or, lined gules, turned up with ermine. "
Limburg has a very complicated history. The present (Dutch) province of Limburg was only partly governed by the counts of Limburg. The main part of Limburg is the present day (Belgian) province of Limburg. The arms of Limburg are a red lion on a silver shield. The arms are known since 1208. In 1221 the lion got two tails as the then count was also count of Luxemburg. The arms haven't changed since. The provincial arms show the complicated history with the first quarter being the arms of Valkenburg (a county in the southern part of the province), the second Gulik (a county which owned part in the middle of the province), the third Horn (a county in the western part), and the fourth Gelderland (the northern part) and over all the original arms of Limburg.
Mark Sensen, 4 May 1999