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Saint-Josse-ten-Noode / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode (Municipality, Region of Brussels-Capital, Belgium)

Last modified: 2015-07-28 by ivan sache
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[Flag of St. Josse]

Municipal flag of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode - Image by Ivan Sache, 19 May 2006

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Presentation of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode

The municipality of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode (French) / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode (Dutch) (23,785 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 110 ha) is one of the 19 municipalities forming the bilingual region of Brussels-Capitale. It is the smallest by its area and the most densely inhabited of the 19 municipalities.

The hamlet of Nude was mentioned for the first time in the XIIIth century in a document of the chapter of the St. Gudule church. The full name of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode appeared in 1527. The early village was located in the valley of Maelbeek, then a rural area with vineyards, fields and pastures. The burghers of Brussels set up their vacation houses there and a duke of Burgundy built there a manor, disappeared long ago.
In the beginning of the XIXth century, urbanization started and the rural areas were suppressed. The town developed as a multicultural place (today with 130 nationalities - Saint-Josse shares with Schaerbeek the Turkish borough known as "Little Anatolia") and a place of asylum, where for instance Marx and Engels settled. Unsurprisingly, such a place attracted artists and there is every year a famous jazz festival called "Saint-Jazz-ten-Noode".

Saint Josse's life is related in the Supplement to Jacques de Voragine's Golden Legend, written in the Saint-Germain-des-Prés abbey in Paris by Dom Jean Mabillon (1632-1707).
Josse (? - 669) was the son of King of the Bretons Judicaël, who was succeeded by Josse's elder brother, Judaël. At that time, the Bretons and the Franks, ruled by Dagobert, lived in peace. Josse followed twelve pilgrims up to Paris and then moved, alone, northwards to the deep forests of Ponthieu (today in Picardy). After seven years of study and prayer, Josse built a small church and house on an island in the middle of the river Authie. Once he had only a small bread left, a poor sent by God asked him to eat. Josse cut the bread and give one fourth of it to the poor. Good sent successively three other beggars, and Josse ordered his disciple to give each of them a fourth of the bread, keeping nothing for them. A few minutes later, four boats full of food landed of the island. Famous for his miracles, Josse left eight years later for an even more isolated place, where he built a small shrine dedicated to St. Martin. For the 14 years he spent there, the saint was teased by the devil and eventually moved even further with Count Haymon. In order to quench Haymon's thurst, Josse hit the ground with his stick and a source gushed fourth. Josse climbed on a small hill on the seaside and decided he would spend the rest of his life there. He was then invited by St. Martin to visit him in Rome and came back to his hermitage, where he did a lot of other miracles.
An abbey, suppressed in 1772, was founded near Saint Josse's tomb and shrine, and the vilage whcih developed nearby was and is still named Saint-Josse. Even if Saint-Josse is not that far from Brussels, the origin of the name of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode is not known.


Ivan Sache, 19 May 2006

Municipal flag of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode / Saint-Josse-ten-Noode / Sint-Josse-ten-Noode

The municipal flag of Saint-Josse-ten-Noode, as shown in La Tribune de Bruxelles #178, is vertically divided blue-red.
The colours of the flag are taken from the arms.

According to Armoiries communales en Belgique. Communes wallonnes, bruxelloises et germanophones, the arms of Saint-Josse are: Coup&eacutge; au premier d'azur au château d'argent, au deuxième de gueules, parti à dextre à la besace d'or, parti à senestre à la grappe de raisins tigée et feuillée d'or. (Per fess first azur a castle argent second gule per pale dexter a purse or sinister a grape slipped and leaved or).
These arms were adopted by the Municipal Council on 25 June 1913, confirmed by Royal Decree on 3 March 1914 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 23-24 March 1914.
On the municipal website, the coat of arms has the shield surmonting a white scroll with the motto L'union fait la force (Unity makes strength).

Jan Mertens, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 May 2006