Wilders Hopes for Flemish Independence
From the desk of Paul Belien on Fri, 2009-05-15 15:56
The Dutch opposition leader Geert Wilders, whose Freedom Party PVV remains the biggest in the polls, wants the Dutch government of Prime Minister Jan-Peter Balkenende to help dissolve Belgium so that Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern half of Belgium, can be reunited with the Netherlands.
Wilders refers to a recent survey of East West Global Index which indicates that Belgium ranks 152nd in a list ranking 200 countries by their reputation, behind countries such as Algeria, Romania, Libya, Liberia, Eritrea and South Ossetia.
Wilders and his fellow MP Martin Bosma have also asked the Dutch government to replace its ambassador to Belgium by an ambassador to Flanders, who is to help the Flemings achieve their independence as a first step towards reunification with the Netherlands. “Belgium is almost history. Great. The future is for an independent Flanders in a federation with the Netherlands,” Wilders said in a statement today.
Wilders is expected to win the European elections next month. In an attempt to stop the growth of the PVV, the centrist Dutch parties, the Christian-Democrats of Mr. Balkenende and the Liberals, have begun to copy his position on Europe (less power to the European Union and no admission of Turkey to the EU). Many Flemings hope that they will copy his position on Flanders, too.
Earlier this week, Flemings were reminded that Belgium is bad for Flanders when politicians from Wallonia, the French-speaking southern part of Belgium, campaigned against the candidature of Luc Van den Brande, a Flemish Christian-Democrat and former leader of the Flemish regional government (1992-1999), to become the next Secretary General of the Council of Europe in June 2009.
Initially it looked like Mr. Van den Brande would get the job for which he had the support of Karel De Gucht, the Belgian Foreign Minister, a Flemish Liberal. Walloon politicians, however, objected to Mr. Van den Brande having the position because, though he is a moderate who defends the Belgian state, he is in favour of more autonomy for Flanders.
The Walloons wrote a letter to the representatives of the Council of Europe, an organisation of 47 European nations, objecting to their compatriot getting the job. Even Olivier Chastel, the Belgian Deputy Foreign Minister, who is a Walloon Liberal, spoke out against Van den Brande. As a result, Mr. Van den Brande has been removed from the shortlist of candidates for the top position at the Council of Europe. This has made many Flemings aware that, despite the fact that they are the majority in Belgium, their interests will never be defended by Belgium.
Meanwhile, the political debate in the Netherlands centers on the question whether political parties are willing to join a coalition led by Mr. Wilders if his PVV becomes the biggest party in The Hague in the next general elections in May 2011. All the parties of the Dutch Left have ruled out a coalition with Wilders, but the centrist parties have not.
Wilders Looks for European Allies, Suggests Reuniting Flanders and Netherlands, 12 May 2008
Hypocrites (nearly) all of them
Submitted by marcfrans on Mon, 2009-05-25 15:48.
The only people who deserve the label "fascist antidemocratic views" are those who have actually voted laws that criminalise opinions or political speech. That includes all the political parties in Belgium. Even the VB originally voted for the so-called anti-negationism law, two decades ago, which is today being used - in true fascistic fashion - to destroy them. That only goes to show that the VB is/was a 'normal' political party which dared not go against the then prevailing cultural orthodoxy. It is ironic that they participated in creating the instrument of their own later destruction. It also goes to show that no serious democrat should ever participate in creating such fascistic instruments (laws that criminalise opinions) because, once created, they will be used by the powers-that-be in arbitrary fashion to preserve their power and to pre-empt any genuine opposition.
Submitted by marcfrans on Sat, 2009-05-23 23:49.
I enjoyed your short history lesson - your second in a week (the other one was about the Flemish/Dutch mentalities. But, I am afraid that Nataraja is too-recent an arrival to fully 'recognise' the phenomenon of divide-and-conquer tactics that have been very succesfully employed against Flanders.
Let me add a trivial detail to your serious history. You mentioned (Hugo) Schiltz and the breakup of the old Volksunie (in the 1980's?), for which he was rewarded with a 'stint' as Budget Minister in the federal government. I had the misfortune, as an international civil servant in the late 1980's, of having to attend a couple of small-group meetings and a few lunches with Mr Schiltz. All I do remember about that from those days is (a) him sitting there with a big cigar (in those days smoke pollution was still endemic in political Belgium) in luxurious offices (and his chef de cabinet doing the talking), and (b) me thinking "does he really think that he is helping the cause of his voters this way?".
I agree with you: first independence, and then ideology. Perhaps, after independence there can be a real choice between ideologies in Flanders. As it is now, there is no real choice, there is only 1 tolerated naive-left ideology (and if you transgress it, you will get criminalised).
Submitted by traveller on Sun, 2009-05-24 08:33.
Yes, we do have some common knowledge.
I knew a little bit of Schiltz character through his "double" private life.
He had no morals and at the end of his life when he realised what the people who knew him would think about him he tried to recuperate his forgotten "Flemish spirit". To no avail of course, nobody who knew him trusted him.
The "tristesse" of Flanders is the continuous tendency of its leaders to put their own interests before the interests of the common people. We have to admit that this has been the case since the 16th century when the real Flemish elite fled to Holland. We never recovered that same moral high ground.
When I recall conversations with Lode Claes and the simple Wim Jorissen with their humble but gigantic erudite attitude towards life I could despair about the "quality" of today's political leaders in Flanders. When I met around the same time the CVP "champion" and "giant of economic thinking" Vlerick with the same lack of morals as Schiltz I knew at the age of 27 that we were in trouble in Flanders. The Flemish people have absorbed the lies and falsehoods about their own "mistakes" for hundreds of years and now it's common for worthy intellectuals, to which class Nataraja certainly belongs, to accept the blame for a falsely represented history, based on the mistakes of a couple of dozen people as so called representative for the Flemish people, while the mistakes of whole countries, far more serious than those of a couple of dozen Flemish hotheads, are conveniently forgotten.
Our "intelligentia" has never accepted that there was a steady French desire to incorporate Flanders since the 11th/12th century and that this desire is still there as official albeit secret policy, helped by the Brussels turncoats and financial "salons". The whole Belgian history turns around this point and has never been more glaring than today. By fear of Flemish Independence and of the ONLY political party working straight forward towards that goal, the grabbing of assets at give-away prices has been accelerated 10-fold with the help of the Court and the Brussels finance.
WHEN IS FLANDERS GOING TO WAKE UP???
HERE IS YOUR DUTY NATARAJA, NOT IN CHASING RACIST GHOSTS BUT IN AN OPEN FIGHT FOR FLANDERS AND THE FLEMISH PEOPLE.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Wed, 2009-05-20 14:13.
Thank you. Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I am pleasantly surprised by that answer. Please, continue offering your personal perspective on this issue and I'll continue to read and follow the debate with keen interest and perhaps ask the odd question or two, and/or make a personal comment/obsevation of my own as the debate unfolds.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Tue, 2009-05-19 20:04.
Would YOU support the creation of an independent Flanders if, and I repeat, IF your country, Belgium, became for whatever reason "unmanageable"? And if not, what alternative to an unmanageable Belgium would you reluctantly support?
Submitted by Nataraja on Wed, 2009-05-20 09:34.
Yes I would support the creation of an independent Flanders if Belgium becomes unmanageable. It started to look like that over the last months.
Pragmatically and realistically however, I believe a confederational model is the only viable option for the moment.
Submitted by traveller on Sun, 2009-05-24 09:16.
Since I have a couple of hours time this Sunday morning you will feel it.
I only do this because I like you, I would never spend much time on people who don't deserve it, even if I sound pedantic saying this now but it has the advantage of being clear.
The racism in Flanders was brought to the fore again by that socialist profiteer, socialist mayor of Sint Niklaas, one more betrayer of his own people for the glory of the socialist party.
That worthy piece of shit concocted the lie that 3 couples in Sint Niklaas refused to marry because the city council member who would perform the marriage was black.
The whole of "intellectual" Belgium and Flanders was up in arms against this blatant "racism". The black Flemish city council member was immediately elected by the "racist" Flemish people. Until somebody from the VB started asking questions:
1) Who were those couples? Ah, but no luck the couples names were inscribed in the marriage listing in pencil and when they refused their names were errased, as luck would have it, the only pencilled names in the history of the Sint Niklaas population administration.
2) This was of course very sad and unlucky but somebody should however remember the origin of the couples, after all Sint Niklaas has only a population of 50.000 people, somebody always knows somebody. Were they of Flemish origin, Turkish origin, Moroccon origin? No sir, nobody could remember, everybody was so upset by their refusal to be married by a black man that everybody's mind was also errased.
But the fact that the VB just asked those questions was enough proof to declare the VB racist or what did you think? The fact that they didn't believe a continuously lying, cheating, grabbing socialist mayor was enough to blame them again for racism.
With warm regards
Submitted by Nataraja on Sun, 2009-05-24 17:30.
What an effort to reply to comments I didnt even bring up as relevant this time, my so-called obsession with VB and racism. Its an honour.
Could you be so kind to comment on the following organisations in the light of the racism which you so vehemently emphasize to be absent from the VB ideology:
Voorpost and NSV. I could name more but please start with these two.
(to stimulate your thoughts a bit, both share many active members with VB, especially the VB youth division, and are regularly present at VB events. Voorpost is one of the proponents of Groot-Dietsland, unifying Dutch speaking Flanders and Netherlands, so far from irrelevant in this topic).
Thanks in advance
Submitted by traveller on Sun, 2009-05-24 18:49.
Voorpost is irrelevant for me. "Great Dietsland" will probably never happen. It has absolutely nothing to do with what I wrote about the complaints of racism against generally the Flemish people and against the VB. Fringe organisations will always exist and as far as I know nobody from "Voorpost" has ever committed a crime worth mentioning.
NSV is a very bad choice to aim your arrows at. NSV is a nationalist Flemish university student organisation, ostracised by every political appointee of every Flemish university. NSV was for a long time the only student organisation which honoured free speech. The debates were hard but fair and FREE. Today the KVHV has learned their lesson and has caught up with them, restoring their pro-Flemish reputation of the beginning of the 20th century.
For the foreigners here:
NSV stands for "National Students Union" and KVHV stands for "Catholic Flemish University Students Union".
The NSV is ostracised, the KVHV is tolerated, being the biggest student union.
NSV is the breeding ground for future Flemish Nationalists. KVHV had a very respected pro-Flemish image, they were the ones which kicked the French section out of the Leuven University.
This brings me to the eternal Flemish situation of betrayal once their leaders are absorbed into the Belgian establishment.
The president of the KVHV students union at the time of the street fights to Kick out the French section, which established itself then in French Belgium and became Université Catholique de Louvain, was Mr. Wilfried Martens. Yes the same turncoat who was absorbed in the political ranks of the so called Christian democrats and who is the record holder of an impressive number of governments which fell one after the other. Mr. Martens must have formed 9 or 10 governments and every one of these governments made a number of political concessions to stay in power to the French speaking parties, every single time coupled to new financial promises to Wallonia and thus nearly bankrupting Flanders.
This ex super Flemish student leader became one of the biggest supporters of "Belgium" and the Belgian king with whom he became a close friend.
Yes Nataraja the Flemish nationalists are really bad people, they are even tired to be cheated continuously by their own leaders.
Why don't we try again with the N-VA turncoats, maybe they became real men and real Flemish to boot? Maybe?
I would like to have more and heavier critical comments than mentioning some establishment-drivel. Or do you think that our Flemish history is different from what I described here?
Submitted by Nataraja on Mon, 2009-05-25 10:11.
"as far as I know nobody from "Voorpost" has ever committed a crime worth mentioning"
Depends on what you consider "worth mentioning", but I do know one: Roeland Raes and Siegfried Verbeke are prominent Voorpost members who have been condemned in court for Holocaust denial.
First mentioned was forced to step down as VB vice president after publishing his views as late as 2002, but is still allowed to be active at the VB headquarters in Brussels and runs a local VB division in East Flanders.
You are on a crusade to propagate VB as the only genuine proponents of Flemish independence, and in doing so you join the VBs efforts to wipe their fascist views under the carpet by a chronic self-victimization.
It doesn't take much effort to detect pure unrefined fascism in some of (and I do mean some of, I'm not saying all of) the ranks of VB, it is where they came from, and its how they still gain votes. I would simply ignore this as an irrational anger spiced up with flag-waving uniformed wet-dreams about a glorious past, but unfortunately a growing network of fascist and neo-nazi movements in Germany, Italy, Sweden and Czech Republic amongst others is well documented.
If this continues, the end of democracy is at hand. I simply do not want VB to define the premisses of Flemish independence. Thats why I vote NV-A. The type of society VB wants to install is not a Flanders that I want myself nor my children to be part of.
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2009-05-25 11:02.
The crime of Holocaust denial is in flagrant contradiction with the absolute right to Free Speech, so this crime is irrelevant for me and in breach of our Constitution, even Tindemans thought that our Constitution was not a "vodje papier"/"a piece of scrap paper".
Holocaust denial is stupid and idiotic but is not a crime as far as I am concerned. It opens the gates for limiting our personal freedom under all kinds of pretexts.
The reaction of the right and the foolish extreme right is a normal reaction against the lawless and "everything goes" leftist post '68 society we live in.
I was personally attacked in Geneva in a full street and nobody dared interfere. The attackers fled after I foolishly injured one. The police shrugged their shoulders. 2 guesses what the origins of my attackers were? 1 week ago I walked with an Arab friend of mine on the Champs Elysées in Paris and my friend was mugged by an Algerian with a knife to hand over his wallet. We both kicked him momentarily cripple. The police shrugged their shoulders because we were not wounded and not robbed.
And you wonder why people on the fringe with low IQ's react as they do?
Submitted by Nataraja on Mon, 2009-05-25 12:34.
Believe me or not, but regarding lawlessness and the situations you described we might share more common views than you think.
I just rather keep the conclusions on how to solve things out of the hands from "people on the fringe with low IQs".
Regarding Holocaust Denial and Free Speech: I am not saying that a court should decide on whether or not these extremist ideas can be expressed publically or not. I have repeatedly defended the right of people I consider enemies in a political sense to express their views and opinions, in true Voltairean spirit.
I however get extremely uncomfortable when above all people individuals with VB-affiliation, firmly rooted in the VMO (order of Flemish Militants) and the likes, and claiming to propagate the "Flemish cause", feel it necessary to include the denial of a historically documented systematic slaughter of an ethnic minority in Europe as a point to defend!
And how does the VB leadership react to this? Silence it down, shovel it under the carpet, and mitigate the impact of these fringe groups instead of once and for all taking a clear stand on them.
My conclusion then is simply that VB doesn't want to take care of this, because the underlying line is still one that is open for fascist antidemocratic views.
Flemish people and politics
Submitted by traveller on Sun, 2009-05-24 11:11.
Since about thousand years the Flemish people have fought for their Independence and since approx. 500 years they are ruled by invaders or go-between invaders, like today.
They did pretty well until the end of WWII. their leaders were put in jail after WWI but with respect and the advances of the Flemish cause were palpable.
After WWII the tone ended. We were now nazis, not people fighting for Independence.
The Flemish socialists who knew they would be wiped out in a Flemish state, do support Palestinians, Vietnamese, Mandela and South American Indians. They DO NOT support peacefull Flemish freedom fighters. No Flemish or any other people were killed by Flemish leaders striving for Independence. Flemish leaders working for the Independence of Flanders are nazis, full stop. Flemish people are the only people who don't have the right to be free and this is confirmed by their turncoat profiteer socialist and so called Christian democrats, supported in this by the special brand of Belgian Freemasons, a group which was considered not acceptable by the main English and French Freemasons.
So why do the Flemish people still accept this? Because they don't believe any politicians anymore. They have been betrayed every single time they brought
a political party to power with the promise of Flemish Independence. Every single time.
And when, before WWII, they voted a party to power which was really going to give them their Independence that party made the mistake, within the frame of mind of wanting the Flemish Independence, to trust the Germans that they would agree with the Flemish Independence. Their spiritual leader, old and decrepit giant Dr. Borms, was against an alliance with the Germans, he didn't believe them. He was a moral giant.
After the war the Belgian establishment convicted this cripple in his eighties who couldn't walk to the execution pole, to be shot to dead unless he put a declaration in writing denouncing the Flemish cooperation with Germany. Since Flanders as a people did not cooperate with Germany, only some political misguided leaders, Dr. Borms refused to sign this lie. He was shot, totally innocent. The essence of the Flemish struggle was in reality a struggle for freedom and even if a number of political Flemish leaders were misguided by siding with the losing and morally wrong party in the war, they were still fighters for the freedom of their people. This was considered by Belgium, a French concoction never accepted by the Flemish people in a referendum or any type of consult whatsoever, just imposed on them, but this was considered by the Belgian establishment as high treason, helped by mainly the Flemish socialists and communists with their own agenda.
So the Flemish were betrayed again and lost heart, from now on they were going to work for their material well being in the hated Belgian context.
But here is now the crunch: Wallonia and Brussels went bankrupt and Flanders had and has to pay since 1830 for the upkeep of Wallonia and Brussels, even during the time that Wallonia was richer than Flanders. But the burden is raised today up to 2.000 euro for every Flemish man, woman, child or pensioner EVERY YEAR. Add to that the present crisis and the end of Flemish capital and wealth is near. So wake up Flanders and start preparing your Independence, not any other form but Independence only.
As long as there is one French speaking Talleyrand amongst us we are in danger.
la prise de décision de table
Submitted by Capodistrias on Tue, 2009-05-19 15:50.
As long as you're putting everything on the table ;-)
Traveller's insight and take on Flemish history, in truth, offers fascinating possibilities for reinterpreting European History. Dismiss it all you like, the practical, real world expression of it i.e., Flemish independence might one day be thought of as a major milestone in the death of the EU socialist Leviathan.
an independent Flanders
Submitted by Nataraja on Tue, 2009-05-19 19:37.
an independent Flanders is a desired outcome if an unmanageable country collapses.
I support a party that actively strives for Flemish independence (NV-A).
Uniting Flanders with The Netherlands is of a total different order. And if you ask, me, a rather patronizing and not very respectful view on the viability of an independent Flanders. Worse, it is a strange and far-fetched language-nationalistic wet dream that will never ever have any realistic economic or political conditions to even make it to a negotiation table and be taken seriously.
I think its a shame the PVV jumps on this odd issue in a pathetic attempt to harvest votes from the marginals of nationalist Netherlands, the "Great-Dietslanders", Londsdale-youth, Voorpost, and their flagwaving fascist stormtroopers.
Submitted by traveller on Sat, 2009-05-23 22:43.
We don't have many differences, except for your visceral aversion for the VB.
You didn't realise yet that the "racism" or "nazi" themes are thrown into the anti-VB discussion for drawing the attention of the Flemish "intelligentia" away from the main topics:
1) Plundering of Flemish wealth and transfer it to French interests for peanuts to get Flanders weakened and drawn into the arms of the French octopus. Don't forget that the take-over by the ex-Société Générale companies was financed by the money in the cash register of those same companies.
2) Drawing the Flemish voters away from the VB and into the arms of the regime-attached "split Flemish voters" parties.
3) Weakening Flemish control of their own industry and raising the number of jobless people to convince the voters that the establishment is "needed" to "save" jobs and assure "continuity".
The reason why I am insisting that the Flemish "racism" or the VB "racism" is a mirage, created by the establishment is simple:
The majority of France was nazi during WWII through the Vichy government and France elected afterwards a Vichy politician for president. Nobody in the Belgian establishment found this in the least objectionable. Mitterand protected the real nazi murderers of France during his presidency and his previous stint as minister. Nobody in Belgium thought this disgusting.
Meanwhile Flemish people who didn't commit 1% of the Vichy crimes are still without amnesty, most are dead anyway, and their children are even pointed at, like Koen Dillen, whose father, Karel Dillen, has never committed a crime but is still called a nazi because of a protest salute and Koen Dillen cannot publish his books under his own name, notwithstanding being the best foreign journalist and historian in France.
Meanwhile you speak about the N-VA as a valid pro-independence party.
N-VA is full of old Volksunie turncoats from the Schiltz era. The then Volksunie was so popular and so strong that the Belgian establishment were literally dirtying their pants in the seventies. The then CVP party, now called CD&V, so called Christian democrats but in reality controlled by the biggest trade union of Belgium, drew the Volksunie into the arms of the establishment and Flanders was forgotten for the ministerial and parlementarian seats and jobs for the "friends", something I know many details about.
The remnant of the Volksunie which turned into N-VA repeated exactly the same "mistake" last year by joining the CD&V into a new political joint venture. I knew and everybody with half a brain knew that the CD&V would spit them out and betray them immediately, which happened.
Those are the Flemish politicians you expect to hold the course? FORGET IT.
The only straight and unbending party is the VB.
FIRST FLEMISH INDEPENDENCE AND THEN IDEOLOGY.
With very kind and friendly greetings but with the urgent request to wake up please.
Submitted by traveller on Tue, 2009-05-19 21:20.
An independent Flanders will look for a close cooperation with the Netherlands but will not unify with the Netherlands, the mentalities are too different and the economic synergy is not obvious, they have some delicate but important friction points between Antwerp and Rotterdam.
I see Flanders outside the EU with their own off-shore banking, very good situated gas network via Zeebrugge, intensive nuclear energy and a very well financed R&D in the universities, duty-free markets for the rest of Europe and a transport hub with a good railway and freeway network.
Submitted by Nataraja on Wed, 2009-05-20 09:35.
I fully agree. And lets just note as well that this close cooperation already exists on many levels.
Submitted by Nataraja on Tue, 2009-05-19 10:36.
"Many Flemings hope that they will copy his position on Flanders, too"
Not at all. Just Voorpost, a few Groot-Dietsland wet-dreamers in the marginals of the Vlaams Belang, and apparently, Geert Wilders and Paul Belien.
Note taken. Now lets move on again to more serious political analyses that have some chance of actually being discussed on decision-making tables.
Submitted by traveller on Tue, 2009-05-19 10:54.
Name me one "decision making table" in Flanders please. One is enough.
Submitted by Nataraja on Tue, 2009-05-19 15:04.
off course I do not mean decision-making tables in Flanders (that do not exist in any decent functioning way), but at a European level. Any creation, or termination, or relocation of borders can realistically only be considered at that level.
But if any of us, Wilders and Belien included, feel happy in cherishing dreams of Groot-Dietsland, who am I to object?
Submitted by traveller on Tue, 2009-05-19 15:31.
So you are quite happy to let some 3rd grade bureaucrats with absolutely no idea of your neck of the woods and your way of life decide everything concerning your day to day life?
You are easy to please.
I will not be dictated by anybody and more so by people who have no relation whatsoever to my culture and life style.
Big Europe as a political identity is the biggest aberration in European history and will fall into pieces after a while, it's unnatural.
Those tables of decision are sheer anti-natural lunacy. The world wide trend is for people to look for their own identity and the Europeans are planning to lose their identity.
It is also typical for our present slave mentality to find this normal.
I don't and I won't.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Mon, 2009-05-18 21:03.
Fascinating stuff.And I agree with you that Sagunto could make an excellent contribution here. So, how about it, Sag' ?
@ marcfrans @ traveller
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Mon, 2009-05-18 19:56.
Thank you both for your thoughts and experiences. We are all familiar with the 'traditional' Fleming vs Walloon / Dutch vs French debate, but the Fleming vs Dutch angle is rarely discussed in (English) print, at least not as far as I am aware. Now, somebody, where's that " informed 'northern' Dutch" opinion? I'm listening.
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2009-05-18 20:31.
There is a lot of sympathie between the Dutch and Flemish common people which grew closer in the last 30 years because of the common immigration problem.
The Flemish soaked up a lot of the French "savoir vivre" and translated that in their own life style. The Dutch with their Calvinistic puritan background and penny pinching attitudes love to come to Flanders and enjoy the food and the easy going life style, they see this as the "good living Flemish life". The Dutch really enjoy a stay in Flanders.
In the sixties I was every Tuesday in Holland when I was in Europe, my customers were in Rotterdam and Amsterdam, mostly maritme companies.
In those days there were 2 very well known sandwich shops in Antwerp, the "Rolmops" and the "Panaché". Every single Dutchman I had as customer expected me to bring a couple of sandwiches with me for him, I had a carload full of them every Tuesday. Those people had high incomes or had their own big company, it gives you a perfect idea of the frugal Dutchman.
In return they treated me lavishly in the evening on their company account, I had definitely no complaints.
But amongst this "cameraderie" there was a real toughness in their way of doing business. They are much better traders, worldwide and bankers, than the Flemish. The Flemish are much better manufacturers, much more creative and productive with a hands on approach.
Of course the combination of the 2 would be ideal, but I don't think the mentalities are easy to mesh together.
Sagunto could and should jump in here.
Submitted by kappert on Mon, 2009-05-18 18:03.
LIMBERGER, Michael (2008): Sixteenth-century Antwerp and its rural surroundings; social and economic changes in the hinterland of a commercial metropolis (ca. 1450-ca. 1570). Brepols Publishers.
An excellent extension of the traveller and marcfrans posts.
Mentalities # 2
Submitted by marcfrans on Mon, 2009-05-18 17:06.
Aren't you glad Traveller answered your question instead of someone else?! He certainly touched on major historical points of great relevance to the issue. As a native Flemish person I broadly agree with his analysis of the past, but I have my doubts about the continued relevance of these historical points for explaining what I called "remaining prejudices" among currently-living generations on both sides of the divided 'nether'-lands in Western Europe. Being a businessman, Traveller also stressed the Dutch fear of competition from the hardworking Flemish. I doubt that that would play much role among the feelings and attitudes of the 'average Hollander' today. But, I am too far removed, both geographically and in time, to offer alternatives to Traveller's explanation.
As a Flemish person I have felt/experienced considerable (real or imagined) arrogance of northerners vis-a-vis southerners, both in the low countries themselves and while encountering Dutch and Flemish individuals in many parts of the world. And, at the same time, in Flanders itself there remains in my opinion a considerable foolish dismissive attitude vis-a-vis Holland. I find all of this childish and self-destructive. But I have always been a supporter of the idea of restoration of the United Nether-lands, and I remain convinced that re-unification could do wonders for improving the political culture of Flanders (certainly when compared to the present 'political culture' of Brussels).
I trust that you recognise that you only heard Flemish versions of a possible answer to your question. Ideally we should hear an informed 'northern' Dutch answer as well.
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2009-05-18 17:30.
Of course you would be more balanced than i was, I expect it from you and I agree with some or most of your remarks.
The main point is that neither the Flemish nor the Dutch population are aware of this "mentality difference".
But oh boy, are the professionals of the Rotterdam port aware? Yes they are and they are lobbying the Dutch government to death to make sure that the "Schelde River" is not becoming deeper. The same Rotterdam port is doing everything decent and not so decent to stop the Ruhr/Antwerp railway from becoming a reality. In that last point they are supported by the ports of Hamburg and Bremen, who also know the very high productivity and turn-around speed of the Antwerp port, unequalled in the world.
Holland has no car factories anymore, Flanders does and only the national American, French and German interests would threaten the Flemish car industry, not the productivity, although the investments in Flemish car factories were lagging because of other national interests.
The Flemish diamond industry for high quality diamonds is unequalled in the world because of the Flemish workmanship. Amsterdam, Tel Aviv, Bombay and others tried and tried to replace the expensive Flemish diamond cutters but the results were disastrous.
And I can go on in other specialised industries like the petrochemical industry in Antwerp etc. etc.
Now Brussels is under orders from Paris to destroy all this and to eliminate the Flemish potential because the Flemish independence would show the European emperor without clothes.
@ traveller (2)
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Mon, 2009-05-18 12:22.
Mijnheer, you always make the most perfect sense. Thanks again, and let's just hope that the discussion continues.
Flemish and Dutch mentalities
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Mon, 2009-05-18 11:53.
Thanks, traveller. I believe you do the cause of possible future Flemish independence great service, not to mention the service this does for the rest of us who wish to see the back of the awful EU, by addressing openly and honestly these differences between the Dutch and Flemings. I look forward to reading more about this subject from you in the near future. Perhaps Mr Belien could also contribute with an article written in English.
Why he wanted to become the
Submitted by Monarchist on Sun, 2009-05-17 16:34.
Why he wanted to become the next Secretary General of the Council of Europe? Seriously this is useless organization, without any real influence. Of course this is well paid, taxpayers sponsored post and this is the only motivation for Mr pseudo-Christian-true-Democrat. One needs to remove rats from its own ranks before taking care about aliens.
Frank Lee >>
Submitted by Casper - Conservative Bum on Sat, 2009-05-16 19:16.
No. Wilders says he suggests "an independent Flanders in a federation with the Netherlands". Maybe he shouldn't have an opinion about which federation the future independent Flanders will enter. But it is obvious that an independent Flanders would have a very close partnership with Holland (historically, "The Netherlands" were all of the low countries, including Luxemburg and Wallonia). It is a metter of detail whether Flanders will enter a federation, confederation or just a very close, informal partnership with Holland. By the way, as a member of the EU no country is independent anyway.
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Sat, 2009-05-16 10:37.
I'd be interested to read and learn a little more about some of those "cultivated prejudices"that exist between the Dutch and the Flemings marcfrans alludes to here. Far from weakening the case for independence, I actually believe that an open discussion (warts and all) might actually be of some long-term benefit to the Flemish cause.
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2009-05-18 11:08.
I was hoping marcfrans would answer your question.
Since he didn't I'll try.
The difference between Flemish and Dutch mentalities, either imagined or real, is the product of the religious split in the 16th/17th centuries.
The Flemish elite turned rebel protestant and fled to the North, thus creating the most dynamic new state in Europe.
Flanders was orphaned by this exodus and the Flemish lower classes came in the clutches of Spanish bloodsucking overlords and ditto Roman Catholic church princes, keeping the Flemish "peasants" under control.
This Flemish blood transfusion made Holland the richest country in Europe. At the same time the Dutch, still fighting the Spanish, closed the sea gateway to Antwerp and thus choked the biggest economic artery of Flanders.
The Flemish resentment was huge because this Dutch attitude continued long after the Spanish left Flanders.
Even today the Dutch do not respect the agreements for deepening the river "Schelde" to allow bigger ships in Antwerp or to allow the railway linking Antwerp to the German Ruhr to pass through the Dutch "Limburg" province.
I will continue this later, but this is a start.
@ Atlanticist911 (2)
Submitted by traveller on Mon, 2009-05-18 12:03.
The Dutch have a very pragmatic attitude to trade and don't want the competition of Flanders.
It is amazing to notice the remaining differences between the Flemish and Dutch work ethics.
The Flemish were always professional workers. The linen, wool and other spinning and weaving arts were the special skills of the Flemish and the North Italians, the Dutch never were interested in this.
The Dutch were traders and financiers, bankers etc. That is also the class of Flemish people which migrated to Holland.
The Dutch know perfectly well as only people in the world that they don't stand a chance against Flemish workers.
One recent example is the dredging industry. The Dutch were the undisputed masters in the world as far as dredging was concerned, a very specialised and creative industry where hard work and on the spot major decisions are the most important factors. Flanders had some small start-ups in dredging since the 1940's. Today, just by sheer hard work and on the spot creativity the Flemish dredging industry is world class and the Dutch dredging industry is waning. It has to do with work ethics.
I am a nationalist Flemish businessman but not for ideological reasons. My nationalism is due to the recognition of an exceptionally gifted working class people which I only found comparably in the North of Italy, the English Manchester/Liverpool area and in East Anglia like Norwich and Great Yarmouth, not surprisingly the areas of Britain were thousands of Flemish textile workers settled in the 12th, 13th and 14th century, and even in the 16th century.
Add to that the realisation of the French(France) that an independent Flanders would be a success story in Europe but for the very reasons Europe should not be a political entity, namely Flanders would be an extremely rich region on its own without European "Socialism" and so called "solidarity". It would really be an eyesore for Europe.
So now we have a public anti-Flemish agenda from the French and a hidden so called "socialist European" agenda from the Dutch, driven by their fear for Flemish competition. Our own Brussels french speaking politicians are totally blind to this and follow the French demolition strategy against Flanders. The Flemish politicians are so blinded by their own "positioning" in the Belgian context that they are no match for the 2 groups.
By the way I forgot to mention that the Flemish people HATE politics and politicians due to 1000 years of being robbed and stolen from by their so called "leaders", foreign and local(for foreign interests).
I hope I made some sense.
Submitted by traveller on Sat, 2009-05-16 09:25.
A Wilders' victory would accelerate the Flemish independence because of popular themes which would be realized for the first time in Europe. The Flemish population would immediately see the difference with the Belgian disastrous anti-Flemish-politics and would try for the Wilders approach through Vlaams Belang. I am convinced that privately Wilders has very close ties with the VB leadership.
Submitted by marcfrans on Sat, 2009-05-16 00:36.
Indeed, dissolution (of Belgium) and reunification (of Flanders) with the Netherlands are two different things. But, the first is a necessary prerequisite for the second to occur.
After nearly two centuries of 'Belgium', a lot of prejudices have sprung up in both Flanders and the Netherlands about each other in pre-democratic times, i.e before the American-led 'liberation' in 1944 (which brought in one-man/one-vote for both men and women). These prejudices appear to have subsided somewhat in recent decades and on both sides.
Belgium is unlikely to dissolve, because the Flemish left does not want to be a minority in a more conservative Flanders. In the unlikely event that Belgium would dissolve, I have no doubt that the French-speaking part of Belgium would very quickly integrate - or rather, be integrated - with France. Whether Flanders and the Netherlands would then merge is less certain, since both are economically very viable and cultivated prejudices can be persistant. Yet, a federation of some sort among Dutch-speakers would make sense in the European context.
Which is it? Both
Submitted by Atlanticist911 on Fri, 2009-05-15 23:45.
The article does make it clear that Wilders (and Bosma) want to help the Flemings achieve their independence "as a first step towards reunification with the Netherlands", but I can see why Frank Lee senses more than a little ambiguity here.
Which is it?
Submitted by Frank Lee on Fri, 2009-05-15 23:15.
This article's title states that Mr. Wilders hopes for Flemish independence, but the article itself states that Mr. Wilders wants Belgium to be dissolved so that Flanders can be reunited with the Netherlands. Aren't those two different things?