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Belgische Gemeentewapens - Armories communales de Belgique
Belgian Civic Heraldry

SINT NIKLAAS

Province : Oost Vlaanderen
Additions : 1976 Belsele, Nieuwkerken-Waas, Sinaai

Origin/meaning :

The arms were granted in 1819 and confirmed on March 27, 1840.
The arms sho St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the city. Even though it is expected that the city had seals already in the 16th century, the oldest known seal dates from 1784. The seal also showed the patron saint.
Besides the saint is the beet of the Waasland area. The history of the beet is the following :
Emperor Charles V once visited the city of Sint Niklaas and obviously a crowd gathered to see the emperor. Among these was a small farmer holding a huge beet, which he wanted to hand to the emperor. The guards, however, prevented the farmer to reach the emperor. The emperor, however, noticed that something was happening and asked the farmer what he had in his hands. The farmer answered that he had a giant fruit and that he wanted to give it to the emperor. The emperor was intrigued and let the farmer pass the guards. The emperor accepted the beet and awarded the farmer with a large purse.
Seeing the reward for a simple beet, a local horsebreeder imagined the award he would fetch if he gave the emperor a good horse. So he offered the emperor a beautiful horse. The emperor responded, saying that for a beautiful horse, he would donate one of his precious possessions, and handed the breeder the beet. Embarrassed the breeder had to accept the beet, which ever since has been the symbol of the Waasland and its fertile soil.

The beet also formed part of the arms of Bazel, Lokeren, Moerbeke-Waas, Sinaai, Sint Gillis Waas, Sint Pauwels, Tielrode and Waasmunster

Literature : Servais, 1955



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