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Lanaken (Municipality, Province of Limburg, Belgium)

Last modified: 2008-01-19 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Lanaken]

Municipal flag of Lanaken - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 17 September 2006

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Presentation of Lanaken

The municipality of Lanaken (24,724 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,900 ha) is located in eastern Belgian, on the Dutch border, 5 km west of Maastricht. It is part of the region of Maasland, named after river Maas (in French, Meuse), which includes the five municipalities of Kinrooi, Maaseik, Dilsen-Stokkem, Maasmechelen and Lanaken. The municipality of Lanaken is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Lanaken, Gellik, Neerharen, Rekem and Veldwezelt.

Lanaken houses the domain of Pietersheim, including the ruins of the water castle built in the XIIth century and a 80-ha park, which belonged until 1971 to the princely family of Merode.

Rekem was an independent domain, then a Barony and eventually a County. The territory was directly ran by the German Empire. The oldest known Lord of Reken was mentioned in the XIIth century. Many different families ruled the estate, which became a possession of Herman van Aspremont-Lijnden in 1590. Later, Ernst van Lijnden became the first Count of Rekem.
Rekem is the birth town of the former footballer and today coach Eric Gerets (b. 1954). From 1973 to 1983, he played with Standard de Liège, winning the national championship in 1982 and 1983 (coached by Raymond Goethals) and the national cup in 1981 (coached by Ernst Happel). He played later with PSV Eindhoven (The Netherlands), winning six national championships and three national cups, ending there his career in 1992. With PSV, Gerets was the first Belgian footballer (and is still the only one) to win the Champions' League (1988 against Benfica Lisbon). Gerets played 86 matches with the Red Devils, the Belgian national team, from 1975 to 1991. Then he coached several Belgian clubs, winning two more national titles with Lierse SK (1997) and FC Bruges (1998), and PSV Eindhoven, winning the national championship in 2000 and 2001. In 2005-2006, Gerets coached Galatasaray Istanbul (Turkey) and won the national title.

Ivan Sache, 17 September 2006

Municipal flag of Lanaken

The municipal flag of Laneken is diagonally divided yellow-red with a white lion overall.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 11 June 1989, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 21 November 1989 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 December 1990.
Red and yellow are the most used colours in the coat of arms. The lion comes from the escutcheon (Gules billetty argent a lion of the same overall).

According to Rudy Vanhorenbeeck, quoted on the International Civic Heraldry website, these arms represent the five former municipalities constituting Laneken: Lanaken (or Pietersheim, a former German imperial territory), Neerharen (a former Liège territory), Rekem (a former German imperial territory), Veldwezelt and Gellik (two former Loon territories). The shield is protected by Saint Ursula (of Lanaken) and her maidens.
Unfortunately, the matching between the parts of the shield and the municipalities is not given explicitely and is not straightforward.
According to Servais, the arms of Rekkem, granted on 1 February 1937, are quarterly 1 and 4 gules a cross or 2 and 3 or a lion gules an escutcheon gules a cross or overall. The cross belonged to the Van Lijnden family, originating from the Dutch village of Lienden (Gelderland), which still uses their arms. The lion comes from the arms of Aspremont. Therefore Rekem is represented in the first quarter of the arms of Lanaken.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 17 September 2006