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Buggenhout (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2004-06-19 by
Keywords: buggenhout | opdorp | lion (white) | lozenges: 5 (red) |
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[Flag of Buggenhout]by Arnaud Leroy

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Presentation of Buggenhout

The municipality of Buggenhout (14,000 inhabitants) is located on the river Scheldt, on the historical border between Flanders and Brabant. The municipality is made of four components, Buggenhout-Center, Opdorp,Opstal and Briel. Its area is 2,525 ha and its elevation ranges from 6 m (Scheldt) to 29 m (Hoge Jan) a.s.l.

Very few remains of the Roman and Salic (Frankish) periods have been found, which indicates a very sparse population at those times. The oldest historical record of the woods and the name Buckenholt dates back to the XIIth century, when the lord of Aarschot bequeathed all his possessions to the abbey of Affligem, where his son had taken the cloth.

The name Buckenholt comes from Old Saxon boka (Dutch, beuk, beech) and holt (Dutch, hout, wood). Buggenhout got its name from a beech wood. This wood was famous in the Middle Ages and stretched over 470 ha; unfortunately, only 171 ha, including 151 ha owned by the state, have been preserved until now.

The history of Beukenbos is fairly complicated. The place, which was named, along with the neighbouring areas, the domain of Buggenhout, was an historical oddity. Since the lower Middle-Ages, Buggenhout was part both of the duchy of Brabant and the domain of Grimbergen. Because of family quarrels and interference by the abbey of Affligem in the quarrels, the domain of Buggenhout was confiscated. The woods were incorporated to the crown domain and Buggenhout was dismembered into two domains. One of them belonged from the end of the XVIth century to 1765 to the Bournonville family, from Artois, and took the name of Buggenhout-Bournonville (today, Buggenhout-Center). The domain was upgraded into a principality in 1658. Alexander II of Bournonville was a famous general who served Spain against France and fought on all the battle fields of that time. The other part, Buggenhout-Grimbergen (today, Opstal and Briel) belonged to the fief of the lords of Grimbergen and was nominally part of Brabant. Therefore, Buggenhout was a place where the lords never stayed.

During the French Revolution, Buggenhout was incorporated to the department of Escaut (Scheldt), transformed later into the province of East Flanders.

Several toponyms in Buggenhout recall the times of the monks of Affligem, such as Minne(Monniken)veld (Monk's Field), Kruisveld (Cross' Field), and Wei(Gewijd)veld (Sacred Field).

Opstal means the community fields, refering to the word used in Middle Dutch to designate place on which no lord had specific claims and right. Such areas were quickly colonized.

Opdorp (mentioned in 1236 as Oppendorp, open dorp, open village) was a free fief (so that no taxes were percieved there either by Flanders or Brabant), nominally belonging to the domain of Bornem. Opdorp probably belonged in the Xth century to the domain of Ghent, then to the duchy of Flanders. In 1258, Guido of Dampierre ceded the domain to William of Grimbergen, lord of Assche for the services he had done him. In the XVth century, after the marriage of Elizabeth of Grimbergen with Gerard of Marselaer, the fief of Opdorp was incorporated into the domain of Marselaer until 1722. In 1964, Buggenhout and Opdorp were merged into a new municipality called Buggenhout.


Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 28 March 2004

Description of the flag of Buggenhout

The flag of Buggenhout is vertically divided blue-yellow with the municipal coat of arms in the middle. The flag and arms of Buggenhout were adopted by municipal decision on 19 March 1990. The decision was confirmed by a ministerial decree on 12 May, which was, however, not published until 4 January 1995.

Ivan Sache, 28 March 2004

Coat of arms of Buggenhout

The coat of arms of Buggenhout represents the two main parts of the municipality, Opdorp and Buggenhout.

The heraldic elements retained to represent Opdorp are not taken from the complicated coat of arms of the former municipality of Opdorp but are the arms of the former lords of Opdorp, the Marselaer family:

Argent five lozenges conjoined in bend gules

Buggenhout is represented by the arms of the former municipality of Buggenhout, designed after the arms of the Bournonville family:

van sabel met een zilveren leeuw gekroond, gewapend en getongd van goud met dubbele schuinkruiselings geplaatste staart, het schild getopt met een kroon met vijf fleurons

"Sable a lion argent crowned armed and langued or..."

Source: Buggenhout municipal website

Ivan Sache, 28 March 2004