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Brabant (Former province, Belgium)

Last modified: 2012-02-25 by ivan sache
Keywords: brabant | lion (yellow) | governor |
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[Brabant banner of arms]

Unofficial flag of Brabant - Image by Mark Sensen, 27 January 2001

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History of the Duchy of Brabant

The Duchy of Brabant was formed under the Counts of Leuven. In the 13th century, the Duchy stretched out from Nivelles, in the south, to Den Bosch (today the capital of the Province of North Brabant, in the Netherlands), in the north, and included the towns of Antwerp, Brussels and Leuven. The dukes attempted to control the main trade road linking Bruges to Cologne, which caused endless conflicts with their neighbours, the Prince-Bishops of Liège, the Dukes of Gelderland and the Archbishops of Cologne. In 1288, Duke of Brabant John I (1253-1294, Duke in 1267) defeated the Duke of Limburg in Woeringen, near Cologne, and succeeded him as the Duke of Limburg, controlling therefore the fortified town of Maastricht.
Duke John III (1300-1355, Duke in 1312) preserved the balance of power between the Duchy (political power) and the towns (economical power). The duke needed political and mostly financial support from the wealthy towns, to which he had to granted several privileges, such as the Joyous Entry (1356), which progressively suppressed the reign of the arbitrary and absolutism and increased the commitment of the burghers to the dynasty. This commitment became a national consciousness. In the middle of the 15th century, Duke of Burgundy Philip the Bold, a very tricky diplomat, was able to incorporate Brabant to his domain via marriage links; his grandson Philip the Handsome became Duke of Brabant in 1430.

Ivan Sache, 11 March 2006

Status of the Province of Brabant

In the Middle Ages, the main language spoken in Brabant was medieval Dutch, called Dietsch or Thiois, whereas the southern part of the Duchy was called the "Roman Pays", where several Latin dialects were spoken.
In 1970, the historical Brabant was split into the three newly created Regions (Flemish Region, Walloon Region, Brussels), and into the French Community and the Dutch Community. The St. Michael's agreement signed in September 1992 prescribed the division of Brabant into two Provinces, the Flemish Brabant and the Walloon Brabant, Brussels being not included in the new provinces. On 30 May 1993, the Federal State, the three Regions and the two Communities signed a cooperation agreement.
The province of Brabant was officially replaced by the two provinces of Flemish Brabant and Walloon Brabant on 1 January 1995.

Ivan Sache, 11 March 2006

Flag of the Province of Brabant

The Province of Brabant used, unofficially, a banner of the arms of Brabant, "Sable a lion rampant or armed and lampassed gules".

Ivan Sache, 11 March 2006

Variant of the flag of Brabant used in 2008

[Brabant flag variant]

Variant of the flag of Brabant - Image by Mark Sensen & Ivan Sache, 21 October 2008

The Agence France Press (AFP) agency has published a photo (uncredited) taken in Brussels on 21 July 2008 during the National Day celebration. There are two square black flags with a yellow lion armed and langued gules and a red and yellow frame.
The flag, the traditional banner of arms of Brabant, framed with the Belgian colours, has to be considered in the context of the political crisis in Belgium. The National Day celebration turned to a big demonstration for the unity of Belgium.

Ivan Sache, 21 October 2008

Colours of the Province of Brabant

[Brabant provincial colours]     [Brabant provincial colours]     [Brabant provincial colours]

Unofficial colours of Brabant - Images by Mark Sensen, 27 January 2001

The Province of Brabant used, unofficially, colours taken from the arms. These colours were not fixed.
A chart called Vlaggen der Belgische Provincies - Drapeaux des Provinces Belges (Flags of the Belgian Provinces; not dated, but to judge from the font type used, from the 1920s-1930s) shows a flag horizontally divided yellow-black.
In Flaggenmitteilung [fml] #64 (March 1981), Roger Baert from Brussels gives almost the same design, horizontally divided black-yellow.
Some Dutch atlases and books about the provinces show another design, published by Rudi Koot in Vexilla Nostra [vxn]#185 (1993) p. 32-33, as horizontally divided black-yellow-red.

Mark Sensen, 6 February 2001

Honorary flag of the Governor of Brabant

[Governor's honorary flag]

Honorary flag of the Governor of Brabant - Image by Mark Sensen, 27 January 2001

The honorary flags of the Province Governors were adopted by Council Order on 28 October 1936. They are shown with construction details on a book (bilingual Dutch and French) containing regulations (for the Navy?). Each flag is a square version of the Belgian national flag with the respective province arms in the center of the black stripe. The flag is 150 x 150 cm, therefore each stripe is 50 cm in width. The shield is 43.5 cm in width and 50 cm in height, excluding 3.75 cm for the point of the shield.

Mark Sensen, 27 January 2001