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Sint-Amands (Municipality, Province of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2011-11-12 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Sint-Amands]

Municipal flag of Sint-Amands - Image by Filip van Laenen, 3 October 2001

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Presentation of Sint-Amands and its villages

The municipality of Sint-Amands (7,819 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,558 ha), located on the right bank of the river Scheldt in the region of Klein-Brabant (Little Brabant), is the southwesternmost municipality of the Province of Antwerp. The municipality of Sint-Amands is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Sint-Amands, Lippelo and Oppuurs.

Sint-Amands was mentioned for the first time in 822, as Baceroth (Baasrode, incorporated to Dendermonde in 1976) Sinti Amandi; it was the central part of a Carolingian domain transferred by Emperor Louis le Pious to the St. Amand abbey in Elnon.
Saint Amand, known as the Apostle of Flanders, was granted around 633-639 "a place located between the two rivers Scarpe and Elnon to spread there the free cult", according to the founding chart of the abbey of Elnon. Amand built two shrines and eventually a monastery, named the abbey of Elnon, where he died in 660-675. The town that developed around the abbey was named later Saint-Amand-en-Pévèle (in pabula, "in the middle of the pastures"), today Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, northern France.
St. Amand was appointed Bishop of Maastricht. His miracles were related by Jacques de Voragine in "The Golden Legend". Accordingly, Amand is often portrayed with a snake, recalling that he forced a snake to move underground by dint of prayers. St. Amand is the patron saint of the brewers, innkeepers, bartenders, hopgrowers and Boy Scouts. Among his disciples who played a significant part in the evangelization of the Low Countries are Sts. Hubert, Itte, Bavo, Aldegonde and Ursmer.
While the abbot of Elnon was the nominal lord of Sint-Amands, the village was under the strong influence of the Berthout lineage from the 11th century onwards. They were succeeded, as the lords of Dendermonde, to which Sint-Amands belonged, by the Vilain and Halewijn lineages.

The French-speaking symbolist poet Emile Verhaeren (1855-1916) was born in Sint-Amands. He was buried together with his wife, the painter Marthe Massin, on the bank of the Scheldt near Sint-Amands. The French government proposed to bury the poet in the Panthéon in Paris, but the family refused. The Provincial Museum Emile Verhaeren was inaugurated in Sint-Amands in 1955.
Verhaeren has remained famous for his poems describing the progress of industrialization (Les Campagnes hallucinées, 1893; Les Villages illusoires, 1895; Les Villes tentaculaires, 1895), using (some say overusing) mechanic assonances (et déchiquette avec des dents d'entêtement) and celebrating Flanders and the valley of Scheldt (Toute la Flandre, five volumes, 1904-1911). Verhaeren was shocked by the First World War and tried to support the allied effort of war, especially on the Yser frontline. He was killed by a train in the station of Rouen.

Lippelo was mentioned for the first time in 1155, as Lippinclo, from Germanic lippinga ("Lippo's lineage") and lauha ("a small wood on a sandy hill"). The village belonged to the municipality of Merchtem and was successively ruled by the lords of Grimbergen (Berthout, again), de la Pierre, du Fay, Croÿ and Salm.

Oppuurs was mentioned for the first time in 1414, as Oppuedersel. The village is the upper (op-) part of Puurs (mentioned in 1139, as Poderscelam, today an independent municipality), which belonged to the municipality of Kampenhout. The domain of Oppuurs belonged to the Van der Calsteren family, from Leuven, in the 15th century. It was sold to Joost Snoy and elevated to a Barony in 1664 for Jan Karel Snoy. On 25 March 1957, Count Jean-Charles Snoy et d'Oppuers (1907-1991), together with Paul-Henri Spaak, signed for Belgium the Treaty of Rome that founded the European Community. Snoy was then Secretary-General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and presided the Belgian delegation at the intergovernmental Conference for the Common Market and the Euratom; he was also Minister of Finance in Belgium from 1968 to 1972.


Ivan Sache, 4 November 2007

Municipal flag of Sint-Amands

The municipal flag of Sint-Amands is vertically divided red-white-red (1:2:1). St. Amand stands in the white stripe, holding a crozier in the right hand and a church in the left hand and trampling a red dragon.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 10 July 1984 and, again, on 14 November 1986, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 7 May 1985 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 July 1986.
St. Amand, as portrayed on the flag, is the supporter of the municipal shield of arms (this seems to be a very uncommon use of the municipal arms on the municipal flag; in most cases, the shield is shown on the flag without the supporter(s) - a canting effect is probably wanted here).

According to Van evers en heiligen. Wapens en vlaggen van de gemeenten in de provincie Antwerpen [pbd98], the municipal arms of Sint-Amands are "Per pale, 1. Sable a lion argent armed langued and crowned or, 2. Per fess argent three roses sable bendy or and azure a border gules eight cinquefoils argent". The three parts of the coat of arms represent Sint-Amands (former muncipal arms, granted by Royal Decree on 15 February 1855, after the arms of the dukes and princes of Bournonville, owners of the village from 1588 to 1776), Oppuurs (municipal arms granted by Royal Decree on 24 May 1912, after the arms of the family of Snoy) and Lippelo (no municipal arms), respectively.

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 4 November 2007