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Lokeren (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Last modified: 2009-01-17 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Lokeren]

Municipal flag of Lokeren - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 18 September 2006

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Presentation of Lokeren

The municipality of Lokeren (38,276 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 6,750 ha) is located in the region of Waasland. The municipality of Lokeren is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Lokeren, Daknam and Eksaarde.

Lokeren is known for its football club, Sporting Lokeren Oost-Vlaanderen, which plays in the Daknam stadium. Sporting Lokeren was founded in 1970 as the merger of Racing Lokeren and Standaard Lokeren; in 2000, the club purchased Sportkring Sint-Niklaas and was renamed Sporting Lokeren Sint-Niklaas Waasland. The current name of the club dates back to 2003. The best season of the club was 1980-81, with the second rank in the national championship behind RSC Anderlecht, a defeat in the final of the national cup against Standard de Liège and eight games played in UEFA Cup. In 1998-1999, Lokeren ranked 5th in the national championship and was defeated in semi-finals of the national cup; the Czech player Jan Köller was elected topscorer and player of the year. In 1976, Lokeren defeated Johan Cruyff's F.C. Barcelona 2-1 but was then defeated in Camp Nou stadium 2-0 and eliminated from the UEFA Cup.

Source: Sporting Lokeren website

Ivan Sache, 18 September 2006

Municipal flag of Lokeren

The municipal flag of Lokeren is quartered per saltire black and white with the Waasland turnip near the hoist.
According to According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 29 April 1985, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 11 March 1986 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 8 June 1986.
The colours of the flag come from the arms of the former municipalities of Eksaarde and Lokeren, whereas the turnip, shown in the former arms of Lokeren, is used in the crest of the today's arms of Lokeren.

According to Servais [svm55a], the former arms of Lokeren show on a white field a black St. Lawrence's gril surmonted by the Waasland turnip, whereas the arms of Eksaarde were white with a black chevron surmonted by a crown. These arms were granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 7 October 1818 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 31 May 1838. The origin of these arms has been lost.

The story of the Waasland turnip is told by Servais as follows (quoting the translation from the International Civic Heraldry website):

Emperor Charles V once visited the city of Sint Niklaas and obviously a crowd gathered to see the emperor. Among these was a small farmer holding a huge turnip, which he wanted to hand to the emperor. The guards, however, prevented the farmer to reach the emperor. The emperor, however, noticed that something was happening and asked the farmer what he had in his hands. The farmer answered that he had a giant fruit and that he wanted to give it to the emperor. The emperor was intrigued and let the farmer pass the guards. The emperor accepted the turnip and awarded the farmer with a large purse.
Seeing the reward for a simple turnip, a local horsebreeder imagined the award he would fetch if he gave the emperor a good horse. So he offered the emperor a beautiful horse. The emperor responded, saying that for a beautiful horse, he would donate one of his precious possessions, and handed the breeder the turnip. Embarrassed the breeder had to accept the turnip, which ever since has been the symbol of the Waasland and its fertile soil.

The famous turnip is portrayed on the municipal flags of Lokeren, Sint-Gillis-Waas, Sint-Niklaas and Waasmunster.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat, Jarig Bakker & Ivan Sache, 18 September 2006