Last modified: 2019-03-31 by ivan sache
Keywords: baelen |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors
Municipal flag of Baelen - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 14 June 2005
The municipality of Baelen (4,110 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 8,822 ha) is located in the north-east of the province of Liège, between Limbourg and Eupen. The municipality of Baelen was established in 1976 as the mergerof the former municipalities of Baelen and Membach. The two main villages forming the municipality are surrounded by several secondary villages: Les Forges, Heggen, Honthem, Mazarinen, Néreth, Meuschemen, Oeveren, Overoth and Runschen (Baelen); Haagen, Hestreux, Weper, Berg, Drossart, Straet, Boveroth, Kaikert, Winkel, sur le Moulin, Lousberg, Oe, Gisberg, La Gileppe and Croix-Noire (Membach).
A charter signedon 13 June 888 by Arnulf of Carinthia, King of Germania, granted the tax on 43 imperial estates (villae) to the Collegiate church of Aachen; among the estates was Bailus, the Latin and oldest known form of Baelen. The estate was located on the Via Mansuerisca, which was used for military and later civil colonization of the region. Some etymologists claim that the name of Baelen is derived from the Roman toponym bajulivus mansus, that is "a farm surrounded by a wall". A more probable hypothesis, supported by geography, relates Baelen to the Celtic roots *bal, "near" and *en, "a river"; there is indeed a brook crossing the northern part of Baelen.
In the Middle Ages, Baelen was a haut-ban (Higher Banate), incorporated
into the County, then Duchy of Limbourg<, and ruling the villages of Baelen,
Membach, Henri-Chapelle, Eupen, Limbourg, Goé, Bilstain and
Welkenraedt. Baelen had a court exercizing civil and penal justice on behalf of the Duke of Limbourg; the most important criminal cases were
addressed by the Higher Court of Limbourg.
In 1648, the domain of Baelen was purchased by the family Bertolf from Belven. The last lord of Baelen was Lambert-François of Pirons (1728-1794), son of the rich merchant from Verviers Jacques-Antoine Pirons (1685-1757), who purchased Baelen from the Bertolf family. He owned the castle of Baelen, located today not in the municipality of Baelen but in Ruyff, in the former municipality of Henri-Chapelle (Welkenraedt). In 1875, the castle was bought by the Alexian (Hieronymites) order and used as a lunatic asylum.
The parish of Baelen belonged until the French Revolution to the abbey of Rolduc, located near Kerkrade (today in Dutch Limburg). This was confirmed by a particular charter signed in 1178 by Philip I, Archbishop of Cologne.
Marble of Baelen has been used since the 12th-13th centuries to make
pavements, fireplaces, lintels, angle facings, tombstones and funerary
[Baelen unofficial website, by Arno Baelen]
Ivan Sache, 14 June 2005
The flag of Baelen is horizontally divided white-red with a rose in
According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones [w2v03], the flag was adopted on 21 February 1979 by the Municipal Council and confirmed on 18 December 1991 by the Executive of the French Community/.
The colours of the flag and the rose are derived from the municipal arms, De gueules chapé-ployé d'argent à trois roses de l'un à l'autre, boutonnées du champ et barbées de sinople., which belonged to the Pirons family.
Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 12 June 2005
Birs Shooting flag - Image by Ivan Sache, 10 December 2018
The Bird Shooting (Tir à l'oiseau) takes place every year in June in
Baelen. The sharpshooter able to reach the bird is appointed Shooting's
King (Roi du Tir) for the next year. During the official celebrations,
the King shall bear a silver chain, whose design dates back to the
foundation of the shooting society. The Bird Shooting ends with the
flag game (jeu du drapeau), a specific flag handling including thirty
figures repeated three times, alternatively with the right and left
arm. The flag is black, mauve and yellow and is made of silk from Lyon. The staff is 2 m long and its end bears a lead counterweight, so that
the flag player (alfère) can rotate the flag on different parts of
his body and in the air.
[Baelen unofficial website, by Arno Baelen]
The flag (photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo, photo) is vertically divided black-purple-yellow.
Ivan Sache, 10 December 2018