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Begijnendijk (Municipality, Province of Flemish Brabant, Belgium)

Last modified: 2007-10-20 by ivan sache
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[Flag of Begijnendijk]

Municipal flag of Begijnendijk - Image by Arnaud Leroy, 20 July 2005

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Presentation of Begijnendijk

The municipality of Begijnendijk (9,468 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 1,761 ha) is located in the region of Hageland, known for its hills made of ferruginous sandstone, used for building. The municipality of Begijnendijk is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Begijnendijk and Betekom.

The oldest permanent settlement in Begijnendijk dates to the lower Middle Ages, when the domain was shared among the Van Uythem family, the abbey of Averbode and the Beguine convent of Aarschot. The Beguines' domain was crossed by a heightened road, locally called a dyke, which gave its name to the village (lit., "the Beguines' dyke"). In the XVIIth century, the Van Uythem estate was transfered to the Percy family, descendant of the Count of Northumberland. Potatoes were grown for the first time in the region in the Van Uythem estate.
Until the French Revolution, Begijnendijk depended on Aarschot; on 8 March 1796, the French administration made of Begijnendijk an independent municipality.
In the middle of the XIXth century, most inhabitants of Begijnendijk lived from agriculture. In 1864, the railway line Antwerp-Liège was built, with a station in Aarschot, which allowed the villagers to work in the port of Antwerp and the coal mines of Limburg and Liège. In the XXth century, small industries were set up in the village; a sausage manufacture, cigar manufactures, diamond-cutting workshops and breweries. However, agriculture remained the most important activity: the egg market of Begijnendijk was once the most important in Belgium.


The Beguins were women who joined a religious community without taking their perpetual vows, mostly in Belgium and the Netherlands. They were often considered as mystic, if not crazy, nuns. A canonical description of the Beguins and of their male equivalents, the Beghards was given by Ernest Gilliat-Smith in 1907 in the Catholic Encyclopaedia (1907). More recently, the sociological, historical and religious importance of the Beguins was reevaluated. See for instance the website of Kenyon University with issues concerning the Beguins and a rich bibliography, and the essay by the philosoph Benoît Beyer de Ryke, from the Free University of Brussels: Le Moyen Age et ses dissidents religieux : cathares et béguines, XIe-XIVe siècles, in A. Dierkens et A. Morelli (Eds.) "Sectes" et "hérésies" de l'Antiquité à nos jours. Press of the Brussels University, 2002.

Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005

Municipal flag of Begijnendijk

The municipal flag of Beginendijk is vertically divided blue-yellow with the municipal arms in the middle, a white shield charged with a black fleur-de-lis.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel, the flag was adopted by Municipal Decree on 27 April 1987, confirmed by the Executive of Flanders on 7 July 1987 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 December 1987.
The colours of the flag are those of the former arms of Beginendijk (before the fusion). The current municipal arms of Beginendijk are "Argent a fleur-de-lis sable"; they are indeed the arms of the former municipality of Betekom.

According to Servais, the former arms of Beginendijk, granted by (Dutch) Royal Decree on 7 April 1819 and confirmed by (Belgian) Royal Decree on 19 October 1840, are "Azure a saint Lucia or". St. Lucia is the patron saint of the village.

Arnaud Leroy, Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 19 July 2005