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The Flemish Cross (Belgium)

Het Vlaamse Kruis

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
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[Flag of the Flemish Cross]

Flag of the Flemish Cross - Image by Ivan Sache, 27 December 2004

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Presentation of the Flemish Cross

The Flemish Cross (Het Vlaamse Kruis) was founded in 1927. After the First World War, the need of a high level medical care and of the Dutch language as a communication language was highlighted.
Pr. Dr. F. Depaels and Dr. A. Depage had already have the idea of founding a Flemish organization for medical care. The Flemish Cross was incorporated on 20 Oktober 1927, with Dr. J. Laureys as its President, E. Ilegems as Secretary and L. Augusteyns as its Treasurer. The aim was indeed to provide medical, hygienic and social aid to the Flemish, as the Belgian Red Cross was perceived as an elitist, essentially French-speaking organization.
Dr. Laureys published his first handbook in 1929. The book had 190 pages and 97 illustrations. It costed eight Belgian francs and was a great success. It was reprinted several times and also used for teaching. Sessions were organized in numerous towns and municipalities. The operations of the organization increased; for the ninth Yser pilgrimage, the 75 first-aid workers operated eight posts.
A related Flemish Cross body, the Groene Kruis (Green Cross) was established in 1936 to help people who were handicapped or suffering from a long-time illness.

The Flemish Cross is not affiliated to the Red Cross, as implies its motto ("The other cross").
During the German occupation (Second World War) negociations were held with the Red Cross in view of cooperation or even amalgamation but these were unsuccessful. After a period of stagnation following the war (the Flemish Cross was not banned or convicted as such), the organization experienced a new elan during the sixties. Another attempt to amalgamate with the Red Cross led to a crisis resolved only in 1975 and a resumption of the status quo ante.
The Flemish Cross helped during the flood of the valley of the Dender and of the city of Dendermonde, and, more recently during the flood of the town of Ruisbroek (1976), the tragedy of the Heizel stadium in Brussels (1985) and the sinking of the ferry Herald of Free Entreprise in the port of Zeebrugge (1987).

The Flemish Cross is a non-profit organization, and realizes its missions thanks to several volunteers. The organization has 29 sections and five circles scattered all over Flanders. Each section elects a board of governors; each section board appoints two members to the provincial council, which coordinates the operations of the Flemish Cross at the province level. The provincial council shall also make the link between the members of the sections and the Board of Direction.


Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 6 January 2005

Flag of the Flemish Cross

The flag of the Flemish Cross is white with a yellow disc and a black cross. Yellow and black are the national Flemish colors. On formal occassions the flag is sometimes used in combination with the Flemish flag with the completely black lion.

Bob Hilkens, 27 December 2004

An issue of the magazine Het Vlaamsche Kruis (old spelling for Vlaamse) No. 9 of September 1934 contains two black-and-white photos of an exhibition at Borgerhout, 10-13 May 1934. One shows a large flag as illustrated above (but in a square form), p. 135; the other one (p. 140) is clearly the local branch banner with lettering, partly obscured (BORGERHOUT is just readable) and having a two-toned fringe, almost certainly black and yellow.

Jan Mertens, 6 January 2005