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Merksem (District, Municipality of Antwerp, Belgium)

Last modified: 2011-12-03 by ivan sache
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Presentation of the Merksem district

The Merksem district (41,004 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 828 ha) was formed in 1983 when the former municipality of Merksem was merged into the municipality of Antwerp.

Merksem, probably a settlement of Gallo-Roman origin, means a settlement (heim) near a border (merk). For centuries, the village formed a single domain with Schoten and Sint-Job-in-'t-Goor (incorporated in the municipality of Brecht in 1976). Until the middle of the 19th century, Merksem remained a rural municipality supplying Antwerp with straw, which is the origin of the name of stroboeren (straw farmers) given to the inhabitants of Merksem. Industrialization started in 1874 with the set up of S.A. Établissements Industriels et Commerciaux de Merxem, directed by Eugene Meeus.

Source: District website

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

Flag of the Merksem district

The flag of the Merksem district is prescribed in a Decree adopted on 26 May 2011 by the Municipal Council, (preliminary) approved on 18 February 2009 by the Flemish Heraldic Council, signed on 6 July 2009 by the Executive and published on 17 July 2011 in the Belgian official gazette.

The flag, as shown in the 5-6 February 2011 edition of the Antwerp popular daily Gazet van Antwerpen, is swallow-tailed, horizontally divided blue-yellow.
These colors derive from the former arms, and, ultimately, from the Royal Dutch colors. The local nickname stroboeren (straw farmers) is evoked as well: blue sky above yellow straw.

Jan Mertens, 18 August 2011

Former municipality of Merksem

[Flag of Merksem]

Flag of the former municipality of Merksem - Image by Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

The former flag of Merksem, still hoisted on the town hall of Antwerp (photo), is vertically divided blue-yellow. The colours of the flag are taken from the municipal arms.

According to Servais [svm55], the arms of Merksem, granted in the Dutch national colours by (Dutch) Royal Decree in 1819 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 9 April 1839 are "Azur, a St. Bartholomeuw or". Bartholomeuw is the patron saint of Merksem.

Ivan Sache, 3 October 2008

In Het Nieuwsblad, 23 May 2008, Nicole Verstreppen describes various attempts to present the colours of Merksem. Proposed by the local ethnology group and supported by the district chairman, 23 May is to be the local feast day as Antoon van Strale(n) bought Merksem on that day in 1561. Put aside a few official buildings flying the flag proper, however, most enthusiasts had to make do with some objects such as balloons or possibly towels.

Jan Mertens, 23 December 2008