Symbols of Brussels

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There are currently two symbols of the Brussels. Both the flag and the emblem of the Brussels-Capital Region depict the Iris pseudacorus (yellow iris), a flower native to the Brussels area. Additionally, every municipality of the region has its own flag and coat of arms.


Regional flag

The flag of the Brussels-Capital Region depicts the Iris pseudacorus (yellow iris), which is native to the Brussels area, against a blue backdrop.

The valley of the river Senne has been housing Brussels for more than 1,000 years. With time, the lower town has progressively spread through the marshy bottoms. In the Dukes of Brabant's times, the marshy plains covered with golden irises encircled the town walls. According to a legend, this simple plant gave a great strategic victory to the Duke's soldiers. Those knew that iris can grow immersed only in a few centimeters of water. They broke into a gallop through the flooded plains but carefully let their horses stamping iris hills. Their opponents, less knowledgeable in botanics and encouraged by the apparently careless gallop of the Duke's soldiers, got definitively bogged into the marshes.

Iris pseudacorus is the scientific name of the golden iris, the symbol of the region of Brussels-Capital, which is widely used (tramways, subway, taxis etc...) but ill-known.

The choice of this marsh iris as the symbol of Brussels did not occur for the creation of the region of Brussels-Capital (18 June 1989), as often believed. In 1924, R. Cornette wrote that "this flower was chosen because it grows in the marshes, recalling that the capital was funded on the marshy banks of the Senne river and its tributaries" (Maalbeek, Roodkloosterbeek, Geleytsbeek, Kerkebeek, Leybeek, Woluwe...). Nowadays, in spite of the ultra-rapid urbanisation, the iris can still be found in its naturel habit in the vale of Vuylbeek, in the forest of Soignes.


Regional emblem

On 5 March 1991, the Regional Council of Brussels-Capital chose the iris as emblem for the region. A public contest was organized to define its design. After several adventures, the proposal of Jacques Richez was accepted by the authorities."[1]

The iris is a bulb that blossoms into large, decorative flowers. It grows particularly well in marshes, with which the territory of Brussels was originally covered.

The law describes the different versions of the flag and arms (colour specification according to Pantone system):

1 Yellow 116 Blue 280
2 Gold 874 Blue 280

It is often said that the iris would be inspirated on the French fleur-de-lis, however without any serious evidence. The case of the fleur-de-lis is deeply scrutinized by M. Pastoureau [pst98] in a 16-page well-documented text. Whether the fleur-de-lis was inspired by a real iris, broom, furze or lotus is not known and not really important.

By the Law of the 16th of May 1991 the iris flower was accepted as the emblem of the region. The flag is blue with a white bordered yellow iris flower, with proportions 2:3.

Municipal symbols[edit]

City of Brussels[edit]

Coat of arms of the City of Brussels
Greater coat of arms of the City of Brussels.svg
Coat of Arms of Brussels.svg
Lesser version
Escutcheon Archangel Michael slaying the Devil
Supporters Two lions argent, each holding a banner. The two banners show the coats of arms of respectively Brabant and the City of Brussels.
Compartment Mount vert
Other elements Two crossed flags

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms of the City of Brussels shows two lions on a grassy mount supporting a red shield. The motif of the escutcheon is a golden Archangel Michael (the patron saint of Brussels) slaying a black Devil by piercing it with a spear shaped like a cross. Other elements include two crossed flags behind the shield; one showing a lion on a black field and the other repeating the motif of the shield on a red field.

A lesser version of the coat of arms which includes the shield only, is also common.


The municipal flag of Brussels (City of Brussels), as flown from the Town Hall and other buildings is a square, horizontally divided green over red flag, with on its centre a very large version of the municipal logotype, a stylised, disc-shaped silhouette of St. Michael trampling the devil, in dark yellow. Therefore, the same motif as the coat of arms.


Municipality Flag Coat of arms
Lesser version Greater version
Anderlecht Flag of Anderlecht.svg Anderlecht.jpg
Auderghem Drapeau Auderghem.svg Auderghem.jpg
Sint-Agatha-Berchem Flag of Sint-Agatha-Berchem.svg Blason Berchem-Sainte-Agathe.svg
City of Brussels Flag of the City of Brussels.svg Coat of Arms of Brussels.svg Greater coat of arms of the City of Brussels.svg
Etterbeek Flag of Etterbeek.svg Coat of arms of Etterbeek.svg
Evere Flag of Evere.svg Evere-Blason-1828.png
Vorst Flag of Vorst.svg Armoiries Forest.png
Ganshoren Flag of Ganshoren.svg Ganshorenwapen.gif
Ixelles Flag of Elsene.svg Ixelles blason - Elsene wapen.svg
Jette Flag of Jette.svg Armoiries Jette.png
Koekelberg Flag of Koekelberg.svg Coat of arms of Koekelberg (escutcheon).svg Coat of arms of Koekelberg.svg
Sint-Jans-Molenbeek Flag of Sint-Jans-Molenbeek.png Coat of arms of Saint-Jean-de-Molenbeek.jpg
Sint-Gillis Flag of Saint-Gilles-lez-Bruxelles.svg Coat of arms of Saint-Gilles.svg Stgilliswapen.gif
Sint-Joost-ten-Noode Flag of Sint-Josse-ten-Noode.svg Coat of arm Municipality be Saint-Josse-ten-Noode.svg
Schaarbeek Flag of Koekelberg.svg Blason Schaerbeek.svg
Ukkel Flag of Uccle.svg Uccle Blason.svg
Watermaal-Bosvoorde Flag of Watermael-Boitsfort.svg Watermaalbosvoordewapen.gif
Sint-Lamberts-Woluwe Bandera Woluwe St Lambert.svg Coat of arms of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.svg Stlambrechtswoluwewapen.gif
Sint-Pieters-Woluwe Flag of Sint-Pieters-Woluwe.svg Coat of arms of Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.svg Greater Coat of arms Woluwe-Saint-Pierre.svg

See also[edit]


External links[edit]