Last modified: 2007-10-20 by ivan sache
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Municipal flag of Bocholt - Image by Jarig Bakker, 7 October 2001
The municipality of Bocholt (in Limburgian, B&ocaute;ggetj; 12,509 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 5,934 ha) is located 25 km north-west of Maaseik, on the border with the Netherlands. The municipality of Bocholt is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Bocholt (including Reppel since 1970) and Kaulille.
Bocholt was mentioned for the first time in 1162; the name of the
village was probably derived from Bucolt, which means "a beech forest"
("beuken" means "beech" in Dutch). Bocholt and the neighbouring villages
belonged to the County of Loon until 1365 and then to the Principality of Liège until its suppression in 1789. The lords of Bocholt lived in the Damburg, a fortified manor located in the center of the village.
The Damburg was sacked in 1648 by the Duke of Mansfled and rebuilt in
The St. Lawrence church was built by the Count of Loon in 1231 in Mosan Gothic style; it was nearly completely destroyed during the fighting between Loon and Liège. The towers escaped destruction and the nave was rebuilt in 1476. In 1910, the population of the village had dramatically increased so that the church was deemed to small. The towers were moved 9.4 m away under the guidance of the engineers Weiss (American) and Morglia (Italian). Since then, the inhabitants of Bocholt are proudly nicknamed De Torenkruiers (The Towers' Carriers).
The hamlet of Lozen, located in a former moor and marsh area, was founded by clay diggers (leemstekkers). The hamlet developed with the building of canals, the Zuid-Willemsvaart (1821-1826) and the Bocholt-Herentals (c. 1860) canal. The Zuid-Willemsvaart had 20 slots, the slots #17 and #18 forming the stop van Lozen. The area between the two canals was transformed in to a watering (a polder irrigated with water from the canals); the hay from Lozen was used to feed the horses and fill the mattresses of the camp of Leopoldsburg; later, trees were planted to supply the Union Match factory with wood.
In 1758, Adriaan Geerkens was allowed to found a brewery in Bocholt. This was the origin of the famous Martens brewery, the oldest family-owned, independent brewery in Belgium, producing the Karlsquell, the Rembrandt and the Sezoenw. In 1979, Jean Martens founded the biggest brewery museum in Europe (4,000 sq. m) in the old brewery building.
Reppel is mentioned in 758 in St. Willibrordus' will. The village is located on the banks of the brook Aa; its name was derived, via "repla", from Latin "ripa" or "ripula", "a bank". The wooden chapel built by Willibrordus was replaced in 1482 by a stone church, whose choir and towers were not modified afterwards. After the First World War, industry developed in Reppel with the arsenic factory and Reppel Inox, locally known as the lepelfarbiek (spoon factory), both closed today. Reppel has the oldest watermill in Belgium, the Scheyffaertsmolen, already mentioned in 856.
Kaulille might have been named after kraaienlille, "a linden housing
crows" (kraaien). Mound cemetaries from the Age of Iron (10000 BC)
have been found in Kaulille; the archeological findings are shown in
the windmill of Kaulille. The towers of the Sts. Monulphus and
Gondulfus church dates back to c. 1400, whereas the nave was rebuilt in
In the XVII-XIXth century, Kaulille was known for its teuten, lit. dawdlers. They were travelling merchants who sold their products in North-Holland, Germany and even Denmark; in wintertime, they made all kind of stuff (with fabrics, copper...) they would sell in summertime. When back, they made a big feast in the Kiezershof, a tradition dating back to 1555. In 1789, the inhabitants of Kaulille contributed to the arrest of the rascals known as bokkenrijders.
Ivan Sache, 25 May 2007
The municipal flag of Bocholt is vertically divided blue-white-green.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 20 October 1977, confirmed by Royal Decree on 19 July 1978 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 9 May 1979.
According to Koen Nijsen, from the Municipal Council, the standard flags are in proportion 2:3 but other proportions are also used, depending on flagmasts (for instance, wimpels with proportions 1:5).
The colours and division of the flag are taken from the municipal arms,
"Tierced per pale, I. azure a St. Lawrence or a beech proper, II. argent three lions vert armed and langued gules crowned or, III. vert three leopard's heads argent langued gules."
The arms of Bocholt were originally granted in 1874.
The municipal website adds that St. Lawrence is the patron saint of
Bocholt - but does not mention the canting beech -, that the three
lions comes from the arms of Lannoy, lords of Bocholt from 1730 to
1780, and that the leopard's heads comes from the arms of Bocholtz,
lords of Bocholt from 1601 to 1730.
The German town of Bocholt also uses on its arms a canting beech.
Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 25 May 2007