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Virgin Mary (The Netherlands)

Religious flags

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[Zoete Lieve Moeder flag]  image by Jarig Bakker, 20 Jul 2003 See also:

Zoete Lieve Moeder, 's-Hertogenbosch

Yesterday I was in Den Bosch, capital of Noord-Brabant province. That is an amazing city, with lots of (hidden) treasures. The Sint Jan (Saint John's cathedral) is a huge building with magnificent stained windows and thousands of statues of saints within the church and on top of it. In the choir were three banners, all vertical blue-white; the central one had a kind of monogram in gold on it.

At the departure of the small "rondvaartboot" (city-tour-boat) for the tour of the "Binnendieze" was the official flag of Den Bosch - nowhere else to be seen in town. Instead there were dozens of simple blue over white bicolored flags.

Via the Benevex-list Jan Melssen informed us that in the whole year of 2003 in Den Bosch it is celebrated that the statue of the Virgin Mary - in Den Bosch known as "Zoete Moeder" - sweet mother - returned to the city 150 years ago. It had been in Brussels from 1629 till 1853. The blue-white flag is the flag of the Virgin Mary; it can also be seen in the O.L.V.-basiliek van Maastricht (basilica of the Virgin Mary)

The long banner had a clear blue color, while the flags about town all had a darkish blue color. Perhaps that has a meaning, perhaps not...

Den Bosch - 's-Hertogenbosch was founded in 1185 by Duke Hendrik I of Brabant. In 1220 a first attempt was made to build the Sint Jan; in 1380 the building of the present cathedral was started, while at the same time the Miracle-statue of the "Zoete Lieve Vrouwe" was found. After the vicissitudes of time the cathedral was restored into its present form in 1985 when Den Bosch celebrated its 800 years of existence; the highlight was the visit of Pope John Paul II.

I think this also explains the popularity of blue-white and white-blue colors of Dutch municipal flags (Assen, Arnhem, and Roermond, to name but a few). On the page of Polish religious flags is a white-blue flag, also associated with the Virgin Mary. The reversal of colors is apparently immaterial.
Jarig Bakker, 20 Jul 2003


Zoete Lieve Moeder church banner

[Zoete Lieve Moeder church banner]  image by Jarig Bakker, 20 Jul 2003