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Sint-Lievens-Houtem (Municipality, Province of East Flanders, Belgium)

Hautem Saint-Liévin

Last modified: 2013-06-23 by ivan sache
Keywords: sint-lievins-houtem | hautem-saint-lievin |
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[Flag of Sint-Lievins-Houtem]

Municipal flag of Sint-Lievins-Houtem - Image by Ivan Sache, 6 November 2007

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Presentation of Sint-Lievins-Houtem

The municipality of Sint-Lievens-Houtem (in French, Hautem-Saint-Liévin; 9,481 inhabitants on 1 January 2007; 2,667 ha) is located in the center of East Flanders, 20 km of Ghent. The municipality of Sint-Lievens-Houtem is made since 1976 of the former municipalities of Sint-Lievens-Houtem, Bavegem, Letterhoutem, Vlierzele and Zonnegem, together with the hamlet of Kottem, formerly part of the municipality of Oombergen (which was mostly incorporated to Zottegem in 1976).

St. Lieven (in French, Liévin) was an Irish monk who evangelized Flanders in the 7th century. Ordained by St. Augustin of Cantorbery, Lieven spent a few years in Scotland as a bishop and then came to Flanders. On the coastal part, today in France, Lieven stayed at Wissant, Pont-de-Briques and eventually at Merck-Saint-Liévin, near Fauquemberges, where he helped St. Omer to evangelize the region known as Morinie. Lieven was beheaded on 12 November 657 after having been tortured; accordingly, he is represented either with a sword or the tongs used to pull out his tongue. Lieven was invoked against tooth ache. After his death, his body was transported to Ghent, where he became the patron saint of the town. His life was, much later, confined with the life of another missionary who had evangelized Brabant in the 11th-12th centuries. Devotion to the saint developed in the north of France in the 17th-19th centuries.
Like Merck-Saint-Liévin, Sint-Lievens-Houtem was a popular place of pilgrimage.

Peter Paul Rubens painted a particularly "vivid" representation of St. Lieven's martyre, shown in the Belgian Royal Museums of Fine Arts in Brussels.

Ivan Sache, 6 November 2007

Flag of Sint-Lievins-Houtem

The flag of Sint-Lievens-Houtem (photo, Town Hall) is horizontally divided in seven stripes, white-red-white-red-white-red-white.
According to Gemeentewapens in België - Vlaanderen en Brussel [w2v02a], the flag was adopted by the Municipal Council on 10 October 1980, confirmed by Royal Decree on 16 July 1981 and published in the Belgian official gazette on 3 October 1981.
The seven stripes are taken from the lion fessy, shown in the former arms of Sint-Lievens-Houtem and in the first and fourth quarters of the today's arms of Sint-Lievens-Houtem.

According to Servais [svm55a], the former arms of Sint-Lievens-Houtem, granted by Royal Decree on 20 March 1947, are "Azure a lion fessy argent and gules seven pieces armed langued and crowned gules", the shield being supported by St. Lievens. The lion comes from the arms of the St. Bavo abbey in Ghent.

The today's arms of Sint-Lievens-Houtem are "Quarterly, 1. and 4. Azure a lion fessy argent and gules seven pieces armed langued and crowned gules, 2. Azure a chevron or surrounded by three boar's head argenst langued gules and armed of the field, 3. Gules three keys or."
"Gules three keys or" are the former arms of Letterhoutem, granted by Royal Decree on 15 January 1948, and incorporated to the current flag and arms of Sint-Martens-Latem.

Source: "Land van Rode" Heemkundig Genootschap website

Pascal Vagnat & Ivan Sache, 29 December 2008