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Linkebeek (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by ivan sache
Keywords: linkebeek | moor's head |
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[Flag of Linkebeek]         [Flag of Linkebeek]

Municipal flag of Linkebeek - Images by Arnaud Leroy, 25 June 2006
Left, official flag
Right, unofficial flag shown by La Tribune de Bruxelles

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Presentation of Linkebeek

The muncipality of Linkebeek (4,710 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 450 ha) is located a few kilometers south of Brussels. The town is located in Flemish Brabant but some 80% of its inhabitants are French-speakers. The official language in the municipality is Dutch but there are "linguistical facilities" for the French-speakers.

Linkebeek is named after the brook (in Dutch, beek) of the same name. Some toponymists claim that Linkebeek means "the left (in Dutch, links) brook" but most believe that the meaning of linke is similar to the meaning of the golf links; Linkebeek would therefore be "a brook with grassy banks". The brook has its source in the Artists' Valley, known in Dutch as Wijnbrondal, a short form of Dal van de Sinter Weyenborre, that is "the Valley of St. Gui Source". Among the famous artists who stayed in Linkebeek are the American actress Audrey Hepburn (1929-1993) and the Belgian moviemaker André Delvaux (1926-2002). Linkebeek is nicknamed the Little Brabantian Switzerland.

The town of Linkebeek is located in the western part of the old forest of Soignes (in Dutch, Zoniên), a place which was already settled in the Neolithic. In 1110, Count of Leuven Godefroid le Barbu founded there an oratory dedicated to St. Sebastian, the patron saint of bowmen. The oratory became a popular place of pilgrimage against epidemic diseases. It was visited in 1469 by Duke of Burgundy Charles le Téméraire, who founded the St. Sebastian's Brotherhood, ruled by the abbey of Forest. The duke was so pleased by the consequences of his pilgrimage that he offerred a visitor's book to the bortherhood. Emperor Charles V enjoyed hunting on the neighbouring forests and owned a hunting lodge in Linkebeek.
Around 1650, Albert van de Winckele, Councillor of Brabant, purchased the Brotherhood and therefore Linkebeek; the newly founded domain of Linkebeek was merged with Sint-Genesius-Rode and Alsemberg. A small manor was built; Marie-Barbe de Man was the last Dame of the domain.


Ivan Sache & Jan Mertens, 25 June 2006

Municipal flag of Linkebeek

The municipal flag of Linkebeek is diagonally divided white-red with a Moor's head in the upper right corner. The Moor has red lips and a red headband.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was imposed by the Executive of Flanders on 16 February 1993 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 25 May 1993.
The colours of the flag come from the municipal arms, as well as the Moor's head.

According to the municipal website, the municipal arms of Linkebeek were granted by Royal Decree on 6 November 1956, as follows:

Considering that it is established by authentic documents that the municipal councillors of Linkebeek used regularly before 1795 specific arms ... We have allowed and allow the municipality of Linkebeek by the present letters patented to bear these arms as described and drawn: "Argent a chevron gules three Moor's heads wreathed gules".

The arms are indeed based on a seal of the Dame de Man found on a document dated 1777, preserved in the archives of the abbey of Sept Fontaines. The origin of the arms is not known: an ancestor of the Man lineage could have fought the Turks or the Sarracens during the Crusades, or the Man could descend from a Spanish family bearing Moor's heads in its arms.
The Moor's head is also shown on the municipal flag of Lennik, based on the arms of another member of the Man family.

La Tribune de Bruxelles shows for Linkebeek a simpler flag, horizontally divided white-red. It is probably the former unofficial flag used by the municipality. Which flag is currently used is not known, even if, legally, it should be the official flag. Since that flag was imposed, it might not be very popular locally and the former traditional bicolour flag might be preferred.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jan Mertens & Ivan Sache, 25 June 2006