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Neerpelt (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2013-12-28 by ivan sache
Keywords: neerpelt | sint-huibrechts-lille | grevenbroek | arkel | loon |
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[Flag of Neerpelt]

Flag of Neerpelt - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 3 September 2007

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Presentation of Neerpelt

The municipality of Neerpelt (16,156 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 4,278 ha) is located in northern Kempen, near the border with the Netherlands. The municipality of Neerpelt is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Neerpelt and Sint-Huibrechts-Lille.

Neerpelt, a fairly ancient settlement, formed together with Overpelt, Kaulille and Kleine-Brogel, the domain of Pelta, mentioned for the first time in the 9th century, from Middle Dutch pael, "a pond" (see modern Dutch poel). The Neer- (Lower) prefix was added in 1218. The domain belonged to the abbey of Sint-Truiden and, later, mostly to the Counts of Loon, and then to the Princes-Bishops of Liège. The first Catholic college with teaching completely in Dutch, the St.-Hubertuscollege was founded in Neerpelt in 1910.
Neerpelt is the birth town (b. 1957) of the Belgian movie director Stijn Coninx, of the moto-cross racer Eric Geboerts (b. 1962) aka The Kid, the first Belgian world champion in the three categories (125, 250 and 500 cc), and of the cyclist Roy Sentjens, winner of Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2003.

Sint-Huibrechts-Lille was originally known simply as Lille, from Lindelo, "a linden wood". The name of the patron saint was added only in the 17th century, following the increased devotion to the saint in the 16th century. Together woth Achel, Sint-Huibrechts-Lille belonged to the domain of Grevenbroek. In 1651, the troops from Lorraine burned the village church; some thirty villagers locked in the church tower were burned alive.

The two villages were famous in the past for their teuten, the hawkers from Kempen, who built big stone houses still known as teutenhuizen. The situation of northern Kempen improved in the middle 19th century with the building of the canal of Kempen (1846) and of the railways Hasselt-Eindhoven (1866) and Antwerp-Mol-Mönchengladbach (1879), which crossed at the Neerpelt station. Several villagers worked in the zinc factory of Lommel and Overplet or in the powder factory of Kaulille.

Source: Municipal website

Ivan Sache, 3 September 2007

Flag of Neerpelt

The flag of Neerpelt is horizontally divided in ten stripes, in turn yellow and red, with a coat of arms "Argent two fesses crenelled and bretesched gules" in the middle.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag is prescribed by a Decree adopted on 18 May 1981 by the Municipal Council, confirmed on 30 November 1981 by Royal Decree, and published on 13 January 1982 and, again, on 4 January 1995, in the Belgian official gazette.
The striped field of the flag is a banner of the arms of the County of Loon, while the shield shows the arms of Arkel-Grevenbroek. The municipal arms are "Per pale Arkel-Grevenbroek and Loon".

The municipal website gives more details on the municipal arms. The magistrates of Pelt used the arms of the County of Loon as their seal from 1489 onwards, therefore the sinister part of the arms represents Neerpelt, while the dexter part represents Sint-Huibrechts-Lille. These are indeed the mirrored arms of the neighbouring municipality of Hamont-Achel, which use them as a flag.

The Neerpelt Internet Gazette blog shows a photo (no longer online) of a vertical flag of Neerpelt, made of five vertical stripes, red-yellow-red-yellow-red (so it is a kind of half-Loon), with the municipal coat of arms (not only the Grevenbroek arms!) in the lower part of the flag.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 3 September 2007