Flanders

Flanders

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Flanders is the (political) community of the Flemings but also one of the institutions in Belgium, and a geographical region located in parts of present-day Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

, France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 and the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

. "Flanders" can also refer to the northern part of Belgium that contains Brussels, Bruges, Ghent and Antwerp. Over the course of history, the geographical territory that was called "Flanders" has varied. In the second half of the twentieth century, there has been a gradual shift of political and economic power from French-speaking Wallonia (which was industrialized earlier) to the Flemish .

To the English-speaking peoples, Flanders meant historically (from circa 1000 AD) the land situated along the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 from the Strait of Dover
Strait of Dover
The Strait of Dover or Dover Strait is the strait at the narrowest part of the English Channel. The shortest distance across the strait is from the South Foreland, 6 kilometres northeast of Dover in the county of Kent, England, to Cap Gris Nez, a cape near to Calais in the French of...

 to the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

. The southern borders were generally ill-defined. Over the last millennium, it was mostly the southern and western borders that receded to give the present day borders within northern Belgium
Belgium
Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

.

Flanders has figured prominently in European history. Between the early 17th century and 1945, the political outcomes of modern Spain, France, Britain, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria were often decided by battles on the plains of Flanders. Even earlier in British and Irish history, the Flemings
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 or Flemish were important allies of the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 in their conquest of England
Norman conquest of England
The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

 (1066) and invasion of Ireland
Norman Invasion of Ireland
The Norman invasion of Ireland was a two-stage process, which began on 1 May 1169 when a force of loosely associated Norman knights landed near Bannow, County Wexford...

 (1169–71).

In contemporary Belgium, there is pressure to consider Flanders as the 'country
Country
A country is a region legally identified as a distinct entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with a previously...

 of the Flemings' rather than just a region
Region
Region is most commonly found as a term used in terrestrial and astrophysics sciences also an area, notably among the different sub-disciplines of geography, studied by regional geographers. Regions consist of subregions that contain clusters of like areas that are distinctive by their uniformity...

 of Belgium
. As it stands by statute
Statute
A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs a state, city, or county. Typically, statutes command or prohibit something, or declare policy. The word is often used to distinguish law made by legislative bodies from case law, decided by courts, and regulations...

 today, however, Flanders consists of the north of Belgium (the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

) and the Brussels Capital Region, which is part of the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

. Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 is also part of the French Community of Belgium
French Community of Belgium
The French Community of Belgium is one of the three official communities in Belgium along with the Flemish Community and the German speaking Community. Although its name could suggest that it is a community of French citizens in Belgium, it is not...

. The use of the name Belgium in the legal name of only one Community has led to enormous political discourse throughout Belgium.

For the last few decades, with the legal establishment of the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

 , the Flemings
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 have their own political institutions. The parliament
Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

 and government
Flemish government
The Flemish Government is the executive branch of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region. It consists of up to a maximum of eleven ministers, chosen by the Flemish Parliament...

 are the governing institutions of Flanders. There is also a geographical, political and administrative entity called the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

but it has ceded all its competencies to the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

. Thus, the institutions of the Community govern both the Community and the Region. The capital city of Flanders is Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

.

In feudal times, Flanders formed a county
County
A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain modern nations. Historically in mainland Europe, the original French term, comté, and its equivalents in other languages denoted a jurisdiction under the sovereignty of a count A county is a jurisdiction of local government in certain...

, the County of Flanders
County of Flanders
The County of Flanders was one of the territories constituting the Low Countries. The county existed from 862 to 1795. It was one of the original secular fiefs of France and for centuries was one of the most affluent regions in Europe....

, which extended over the present day:
  • Belgian provinces of West Flanders and East Flanders
    East Flanders
    East Flanders is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and in Belgium on the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant , of Hainaut and of West Flanders...

  • French regions French Flanders
    French Flanders
    French Flanders is a part of the historical County of Flanders in present-day France. The region today lies in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas de Calais, the department of Nord, and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.-Geography:French...

     in the départment Nord-Pas de Calais
    Nord-Pas de Calais
    Nord-Pas de Calais , Nord for short, is one of the 27 regions of France. It consists of the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais, in the north and has a border with Belgium. Most of the region was once part of the Southern Netherlands, within the Low Countries, and gradually became part of France...

     and extending into neighbouring départments,
  • Dutch region Zeelandic Flanders (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen) in the province of Zeeland
    Zeeland
    Zeeland , also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about...



Related to these geographical or political uses of the noun 'Flanders', and the adjective 'Flemish', they may also be used to describe several other distinct (but inter-connected) cultural, geographical, historical, linguistic or political items or entities.

Northern part of Belgium


The term "Flanders" has several main meanings:
  • the social, cultural and linguistic, scientific and educational, economical and political community of the Flemings, in general called the "Flemish community
    Community
    The term community has two distinct meanings:*a group of interacting people, possibly living in close proximity, and often refers to a group that shares some common values, and is attributed with social cohesion within a shared geographical location, generally in social units larger than a household...

    " (small "c") (others refer to this as the "Flemish nation"). It has over 6 million inhabitants, or about 60% of the population of Belgium.
  • the constituent governing institution of the federal Belgian state through the institutions named the Flemish Community
    Flemish Community
    The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

     (capital "C"), exercising the powers in most of those domains for the aforementioned community, and the officially Dutch-speaking Flemish Region
    Flemish Region
    The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

    , which has powers mainly on economical matters. The Community absorbed the Region, leading to a single operative body: the Flemish Government
    Flemish government
    The Flemish Government is the executive branch of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region. It consists of up to a maximum of eleven ministers, chosen by the Flemish Parliament...

     and a single legislative organ: the Flemish Parliament
    Flemish Parliament
    The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

    ;
  • the geographical region in the north of Belgium
    Belgium
    Belgium , officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a federal state in Western Europe. It is a founding member of the European Union and hosts the EU's headquarters, and those of several other major international organisations such as NATO.Belgium is also a member of, or affiliated to, many...

     coinciding with the federal Belgian state's Flemish Region but excluding the bilingual Capital Region;
  • the geographical area comprising the two westernmost provinces of the Flemish Region, West Flanders and East Flanders
    East Flanders
    East Flanders is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and in Belgium on the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant , of Hainaut and of West Flanders...

    , parts of a former county named Flanders
    County of Flanders
    The County of Flanders was one of the territories constituting the Low Countries. The county existed from 862 to 1795. It was one of the original secular fiefs of France and for centuries was one of the most affluent regions in Europe....

    .

Historical parts of the County of Flanders


  • When Flandria appeared in the 8th century, it was a Frankish
    Frankish Empire
    Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

     fief centred on Bruges
    Bruges
    Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

    . The region's name is thought to derive from the Old Low German word flauma, which means flooded land. Originally this referred to the polders surrounding Bruges and dates from a period before the counts of Flanders expanded their territory. In the 14th century, the county of Flanders reached its maximum size, and became the wealthiest part of the Seventeen Provinces
    Seventeen Provinces
    The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

    . It extended over the modern-day Belgian provinces of East Flanders
    East Flanders
    East Flanders is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and in Belgium on the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant , of Hainaut and of West Flanders...

    , West Flanders, and Hainaut.

  • In the 14th century, the French kings conquered Picardy
    Picardy
    This article is about the historical French province. For other uses, see Picardy .Picardy is a historical province of France, in the north of France...

    , where French is now spoken, earning the area the name, la Flandre romane (Romance Flanders
    Romance Flanders
    Romance Flanders or Gallicant Flanders is the part of the county of Flanders where people speak Romance languages, like varieties of Picard. It currently straddles the border of France and Belgium.-Name:...

    ) or la Flandre gallicante (Gallic
    Gauls
    The Gauls were a Celtic people living in Gaul, the region roughly corresponding to what is now France, Belgium, Switzerland and Northern Italy, from the Iron Age through the Roman period. They mostly spoke the Continental Celtic language called Gaulish....

     Flanders), or incorrectly Flandre-wallonne (Walloon Flanders
    Walloon Flanders
    Walloon Flanders is part of the County of Flanders.Walloon Flanders usually means the same territory, the bailiwick of Douai and the castelleny of Lille, but in two different periods :In the Spanish Low Countries, it was the part of Romance Flanders which signed the Union of Arras on January 6,...

    ) though its language was not Walloon
    Walloon language
    Walloon is a Romance language which was spoken as a primary language in large portions of the Walloon Region of Belgium and some villages of Northern France until the middle of the 20th century. It belongs to the langue d'oïl language family, whose most prominent member is the French language...

    , but Picard
    Picard language
    Picard is a language closely related to French, and as such is one of the larger group of Romance languages. It is spoken in two regions in the far north of France – Nord-Pas-de-Calais and Picardy – and in parts of the Belgian region of Wallonia, the district of Tournai and a part of...

    . In the 16th century, Artois
    Artois
    Artois is a former province of northern France. Its territory has an area of around 4000 km² and a population of about one million. Its principal cities are Arras , Saint-Omer, Lens and Béthune.-Location:...

     was also conquered by the French. In 17th and 18th century, king Louis XIV of France
    Louis XIV of France
    Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

     captured more French-speaking areas in southern Flanders still referred to as French Flanders
    French Flanders
    French Flanders is a part of the historical County of Flanders in present-day France. The region today lies in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas de Calais, the department of Nord, and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.-Geography:French...

     or la Flandre Lilloise. French Flanders contains the departements Nord and Pas de Calais), comprising the arrondissements
    Arrondissements of France
    The 101 French departments are divided into 342 arrondissements, which may be translated into English as districts.The capital of an arrondissement/district is called a subprefecture...

     of Lille
    Arrondissement of Lille
    The arrondissement of Lille is an arrondissement of France, located in the Nord department, in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region. It has 28 cantons and 124 communes.-Cantons:The cantons of the arrondissement of Lille are:# Armentières# La Bassée# Cysoing...

     and Douai
    Arrondissement of Douai
    The arrondissement of Douai is an arrondissement of France, located in the Nord department, in the Nord-Pas de Calais region. It has 7 cantons and 64 communes.-Cantons:The cantons of the arrondissement of Douai are:# Arleux# Douai-Nord# Douai-Nord-Est...

    . Originally, Dutch was spoken there, and, to this day, a Flemish dialect persists in some rural areas near Dunkirk. The city of Lille
    Lille
    Lille is a city in northern France . It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium...

     identifies itself as a part of historic Flanders, and thus as "Flemish" in the geographical and historical sense, and this is reflected, for instance, in the name of its local railway station TGV
    TGV
    The TGV is France's high-speed rail service, currently operated by SNCF Voyages, the long-distance rail branch of SNCF, the French national rail operator....

     Lille-Flandres.


During this period of French encroachment on the region, the United Provinces
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 also took some areas of northern Flanders. These areas now form Zeelandic Flanders (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen), a part of the Netherlands province of Zeeland
Zeeland
Zeeland , also called Zealand in English, is the westernmost province of the Netherlands. The province, located in the south-west of the country, consists of a number of islands and a strip bordering Belgium. Its capital is Middelburg. With a population of about 380,000, its area is about...

.

Dutch-speaking part of Belgium


The significance of the County and its counts
Count of Flanders
The Count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the abolition of the position by the French revolutionaries in 1790....

 eroded through time, but the designation remained in a very broad sense. In the Early Modern, the term Flanders was associated with the southern part of the Low Countries, the Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. During the 19th and 20th centuries, it became increasingly commonplace to refer to the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium as "Flanders". The linguistic limit between French and Dutch was recorded in the early '60's, from Kortrijk
Kortrijk
Kortrijk ; , ; ) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders...

 to Maastricht
Maastricht
Maastricht is situated on both sides of the Meuse river in the south-eastern part of the Netherlands, on the Belgian border and near the German border...

. Now, Flanders extends over the northern part of Belgium, including the Belgian parts of the Duchy of Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

 and Limburg
Limburg (Belgium)
Limburg is the easternmost province of modern Flanders, which is one of the three main political and cultural sub-divisions of modern Belgium. It is located west of the river Meuse . It borders on the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Limburg and the Belgian provinces of Liège, Flemish Brabant...

.

The ambiguity between this eastwardly much wider area and that of the Countship (or the Belgian parts thereof), still remains. In most present-day contexts however, in general the term Flanders is taken to refer to either the political, social, cultural, and linguistic community (and the corresponding official institution, the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

), or the geographical area, one of the three institutional regions in Belgium, namely the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

.

In history of art
History of art
The History of art refers to visual art which may be defined as any activity or product made by humans in a visual form for aesthetical or communicative purposes, expressing ideas, emotions or, in general, a worldview...

 and other fields, the adjectives Flemish and Netherlandish are commonly used to designate all the artistic production in this area before about 1580, after which it refers specifically to the southern Netherlands. For example the term "Flemish Primitives", now outdated in English but used in French, Flemish and other languages, is a synonym for "Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

", and it is not uncommon to see Mosan art
Mosan art
Mosan art is a regional style of art from the valley of the Meuse in present-day Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany. Although the term applies to art from this region from all periods, it generally refers to Romanesque art, with Mosan Romanesque architecture, stone carving, metalwork, enamelling...

 categorized as Flemish art. In music the Franco-Flemish School
Franco-Flemish School
In music, the Franco-Flemish School or more precisely the Netherlandish School refers, somewhat imprecisely, to the style of polyphonic vocal music composition in Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries, and to the composers who wrote it...

is also known as the Dutch School.

Describing Flanders as the Dutch-speaking part of Belgium is commonplace, although Jewish groups have been speaking Yiddish in Antwerp for centuries, and Flanders' minority residents include 170 nationalities — their larger groups speaking French
French language
French is a Romance language spoken as a first language in France, the Romandy region in Switzerland, Wallonia and Brussels in Belgium, Monaco, the regions of Quebec and Acadia in Canada, and by various communities elsewhere. Second-language speakers of French are distributed throughout many parts...

, Berber
Berber languages
The Berber languages are a family of languages indigenous to North Africa, spoken from Siwa Oasis in Egypt to Morocco , and south to the countries of the Sahara Desert...

, Turkish
Turkish language
Turkish is a language spoken as a native language by over 83 million people worldwide, making it the most commonly spoken of the Turkic languages. Its speakers are located predominantly in Turkey and Northern Cyprus with smaller groups in Iraq, Greece, Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo,...

, Arabic, Spanish
Spanish language
Spanish , also known as Castilian , is a Romance language in the Ibero-Romance group that evolved from several languages and dialects in central-northern Iberia around the 9th century and gradually spread with the expansion of the Kingdom of Castile into central and southern Iberia during the...

, Italian
Italian language
Italian is a Romance language spoken mainly in Europe: Italy, Switzerland, San Marino, Vatican City, by minorities in Malta, Monaco, Croatia, Slovenia, France, Libya, Eritrea, and Somalia, and by immigrant communities in the Americas and Australia...

 and Polish
Polish language
Polish is a language of the Lechitic subgroup of West Slavic languages, used throughout Poland and by Polish minorities in other countries...

. Typically, in each group, some people switch to using Dutch in their daily life, while others maintain their language of origin.

Early history


The area, roughly encompassing the later geographical meanings of Flanders, had been inhabited by Celts until Germanic people
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 began immigrating by crossing the Rhine, either gradually driving them south- or westwards, or rather merging with them. By the first century BC Germanic languages
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 had become prevalent, and the inhabitants were called Belgæ
Belgae
The Belgae were a group of tribes living in northern Gaul, on the west bank of the Rhine, in the 3rd century BC, and later also in Britain, and possibly even Ireland...

 while the area was the coastal district of Gallia Belgica
Gallia Belgica
Gallia Belgica was a Roman province located in what is now the southern part of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, northeastern France, and western Germany. The indigenous population of Gallia Belgica, the Belgae, consisted of a mixture of Celtic and Germanic tribes...

, the most northeastern province of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 at its height. The boundaries were the Marne
Marne
Marne is a department in north-eastern France named after the river Marne which flows through the department. The prefecture of Marne is Châlons-en-Champagne...

 and Seine
Seine
The Seine is a -long river and an important commercial waterway within the Paris Basin in the north of France. It rises at Saint-Seine near Dijon in northeastern France in the Langres plateau, flowing through Paris and into the English Channel at Le Havre . It is navigable by ocean-going vessels...

 in the West, with Armorica
Armorica
Armorica or Aremorica is the name given in ancient times to the part of Gaul that includes the Brittany peninsula and the territory between the Seine and Loire rivers, extending inland to an indeterminate point and down the Atlantic coast...

 (Brittany
Brittany
Brittany is a cultural and administrative region in the north-west of France. Previously a kingdom and then a duchy, Brittany was united to the Kingdom of France in 1532 as a province. Brittany has also been referred to as Less, Lesser or Little Britain...

), and the Rhine in the East, with Frisia
Frisia
Frisia is a coastal region along the southeastern corner of the North Sea, i.e. the German Bight. Frisia is the traditional homeland of the Frisians, a Germanic people who speak Frisian, a language group closely related to the English language...

. This changed upon the Count of Rouen
Rollo of Normandy
Rollo , baptised Robert and so sometimes numbered Robert I to distinguish him from his descendants, was a Norse nobleman of Norwegian or Danish descent and founder and first ruler of the Viking principality in what soon became known as Normandy...

's settlement with the King of France, which made a cession of western Flanders and eastern Armorica to the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

.

Historical Flanders: County of Flanders


Created in the year 862
862
Year 862 was a common year starting on Thursday of the Julian calendar.- Europe :* Ashot I becomes the first king of Armenia's Bagratuni dynasty.* Aed Finliath is crowned High King of Ireland....

 as a feudal fief in West Francia, the County of Flanders was divided when its western districts fell under French rule in the late 12th century. The remaining parts of Flanders came under the rule of the counts of neighbouring Hainaut
County of Hainaut
The County of Hainaut was a historical region in the Low Countries with its capital at Mons . In English sources it is often given the archaic spelling Hainault....

 in 1191. The entire area passed in 1384
Philip the Bold
Philip the Bold , also Philip II, Duke of Burgundy , was the fourth and youngest son of King John II of France and his wife, Bonne of Luxembourg. By his marriage to Margaret III, Countess of Flanders, he also became Count Philip II of Flanders, Count Philip IV of Artois and Count-Palatine Philip IV...

 to the dukes of Burgundy
Duchy of Burgundy
The Duchy of Burgundy , was heir to an ancient and prestigious reputation and a large division of the lands of the Second Kingdom of Burgundy and in its own right was one of the geographically larger ducal territories in the emergence of Early Modern Europe from Medieval Europe.Even in that...

, in 1477
Mary of Burgundy
Mary of Burgundy ruled the Burgundian territories in Low Countries and was suo jure Duchess of Burgundy from 1477 until her death...

 to the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

 dynasty, and in 1556
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 to the kings of Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

. The western districts of Flanders came finally under French rule under successive treaties of 1659
Treaty of the Pyrenees
The Treaty of the Pyrenees was signed to end the 1635 to 1659 war between France and Spain, a war that was initially a part of the wider Thirty Years' War. It was signed on Pheasant Island, a river island on the border between the two countries...

 (Artois), 1668
Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle (1668)
The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle or Treaty of Aachen was signed on May 2, 1668 in Aachen. It ended the war of Devolution between France and Spain. It was mediated by the Triple Alliance of England, the Dutch Republic and Sweden at the first Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle...

, and 1678
Treaties of Nijmegen
The Treaties of Peace of Nijmegen were a series of treaties signed in the Dutch city of Nijmegen between August 1678 and December 1679...

.

During the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 Flanders' trading towns (notably Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and Ypres
Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

) made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe, weaving the wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

 of neighbouring lands into cloth for both domestic use and export. As a consequence, a very sophisticated culture developed, with impressive achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of Northern Italy. Ghent, Bruges, Ypres and the Franc of Bruges formed the Four Members
Four Members
The Four members consisted of Bruges, Franc of Bruges, Ghent and Ypres gathered together in a medieval parliament. Together they exercised considerable power in Flanders....

, a form of parliament that exercised considerable power in Flanders.

Increasingly powerful from the 12th century, the territory's autonomous urban communes
Medieval commune
Medieval communes in the European Middle Ages had sworn allegiances of mutual defense among the citizens of a town or city. They took many forms, and varied widely in organization and makeup. Communes are first recorded in the late 11th and early 12th centuries, thereafter becoming a widespread...

 were instrumental in defeating a French attempt at annexation (1300–1302), finally defeating the French in the Battle of the Golden Spurs
Battle of the Golden Spurs
The Battle of the Golden Spurs, known also as the Battle of Courtrai was fought on July 11, 1302, near Kortrijk in Flanders...

 (July 11, 1302), near Kortrijk
Kortrijk
Kortrijk ; , ; ) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders...

. Two years later, the uprising was defeated and Flanders remained part of the French Crown. Flemish prosperity waned in the following century, however, owing to widespread European population decline following the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 of 1348, the disruption of trade during the Anglo-French Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

 (1337–1453), and increased English
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 cloth production. Flemish weavers had gone over to Worstead
Worstead
Worstead is a village and civil parish in the English county of Norfolk. It lies 5 km south of North Walsham, 9 km north of Wroxham, and 20 km north of Norwich. The village is served by Worstead railway station on the Bittern Line....

 and North Walsham
North Walsham
North Walsham is a market town and civil parish in Norfolk, England in the North Norfolk district.-Demographics:The civil parish has an area of and in the 2001 census had a population of 11,998. For the purposes of local government, the parish falls within the district of North...

 in Norfolk
Norfolk
Norfolk is a low-lying county in the East of England. It has borders with Lincolnshire to the west, Cambridgeshire to the west and southwest and Suffolk to the south. Its northern and eastern boundaries are the North Sea coast and to the north-west the county is bordered by The Wash. The county...

 in the 12th century and established the woolen industry.

Flanders in the Low Countries


Beeldenstorm
In 1500, Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 was born in Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

. He inherited the Seventeen Provinces
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

 (1506), Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 (1516) with its colonies and in 1519 was elected Holy Roman Emperor
Holy Roman Emperor
The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

. The Pragmatic Sanction
Pragmatic sanction
A pragmatic sanction is a sovereign's solemn decree on a matter of primary importance and has the force of fundamental law. In the late history of the Holy Roman Empire it referred more specifically to an edict issued by the Emperor....

 of 1549, issued by Charles V, established the Low Countries as the Seventeen Provinces
Seventeen Provinces
The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

 (or Spanish Netherlands in its broad sense) as an entity separate from the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 and from France. In 1556 Charles V
Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Charles V was ruler of the Holy Roman Empire from 1519 and, as Charles I, of the Spanish Empire from 1516 until his voluntary retirement and abdication in favor of his younger brother Ferdinand I and his son Philip II in 1556.As...

 abdicated due to ill health (he suffered from crippling gout
Gout
Gout is a medical condition usually characterized by recurrent attacks of acute inflammatory arthritis—a red, tender, hot, swollen joint. The metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe is the most commonly affected . However, it may also present as tophi, kidney stones, or urate...

). Spain and the Seventeen Provinces went to his son, king Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

.

Over the first half of the 16th century Antwerp grew to become the second-largest European city north of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 by 1560. Antwerp was the richest city in Europe at this time. According to Luc-Normand Tellier "It is estimated that the port of Antwerp was earning the Spanish crown seven times more revenues than the Americas
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

."

Meanwhile, Protestantism
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 had reached the Low Countries. Among the wealthy traders of Antwerp, the Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 beliefs of the German
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 Hanseatic traders found appeal, perhaps partly for economic reasons. The spread of Protestantism in this city was aided by the presence of an Augustinian cloister (founded 1514) in the St. Andries quarter. Luther, an Augustinian himself, had taught some of the monks, and his works were in print by 1518. The first Lutheran martyrs came from Antwerp. The Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 resulted in consecutive but overlapping waves of reform: a Lutheran, followed by a militant Anabaptist
Anabaptist
Anabaptists are Protestant Christians of the Radical Reformation of 16th-century Europe, and their direct descendants, particularly the Amish, Brethren, Hutterites, and Mennonites....

, then a Mennonite
Mennonite
The Mennonites are a group of Christian Anabaptist denominations named after the Frisian Menno Simons , who, through his writings, articulated and thereby formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders...

, and finally a Calvinistic
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 movement. These movements existed independently of each other.

Philip II
Philip II
-People:* Philip II of Macedon * Philip II Philoromaeus * Philip II of France * Philip II of Navarre * Philip II of Taranto * Philip II, Duke of Burgundy * Philip II, Duke of Savoy...

, a devout Catholic and self-proclaimed protector of the Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

, suppressed
Suppression of dissent
Suppression of dissent occurs when an individual or group which is more powerful than another tries to directly or indirectly censor, persecute or otherwise oppress the other party, rather than engage with and constructively respond to or accommodate the other party's arguments or viewpoint...

 Calvinism in Flanders, Brabant
Duchy of Brabant
The Duchy of Brabant was a historical region in the Low Countries. Its territory consisted essentially of the three modern-day Belgian provinces of Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Antwerp, the Brussels-Capital Region and most of the present-day Dutch province of North Brabant.The Flag of...

 and Holland (what is now approximately Belgian Limburg
Limburg (Belgium)
Limburg is the easternmost province of modern Flanders, which is one of the three main political and cultural sub-divisions of modern Belgium. It is located west of the river Meuse . It borders on the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Limburg and the Belgian provinces of Liège, Flemish Brabant...

 was part of the Bishopric of Liège
Bishopric of Liège
The Bishopric of Liège or Prince-Bishopric of Liège was a state of the Holy Roman Empire in the Low Countries in present Belgium. It acquired its status as a prince-bishopric between 980 and 985 when Bishop Notger, who had been the bishop of Liege since 972, acquired the status of Prince-Bishop...

 and was Catholic de facto). In 1566, the wave of iconoclasm
Iconoclasm
Iconoclasm is the deliberate destruction of religious icons and other symbols or monuments, usually with religious or political motives. It is a frequent component of major political or religious changes...

 known as the Beeldenstorm
Beeldenstorm
Beeldenstorm in Dutch, roughly translatable to "statue storm", or Bildersturm in German , also the Iconoclastic Fury, is a term used for outbreaks of destruction of religious images that occurred in Europe in the 16th century...

was a prelude to religious war between Catholics and Protestants, especially the Anabaptists. The Beeldenstorm started in what is now French Flanders
French Flanders
French Flanders is a part of the historical County of Flanders in present-day France. The region today lies in the modern-day region of Nord-Pas de Calais, the department of Nord, and roughly corresponds to the arrondissements of Lille, Douai and Dunkirk on the Belgian border.-Geography:French...

, with open-air sermons that spread through the Low Countries, first to Antwerp and Ghent, and from there further east and north. In total it lasted not even a month.

The Eighty Years' War and its consequences
Subsequently, Philip II sent the Duke of Alba
Fernando Álvarez de Toledo, 3rd Duke of Alba
Don Fernando Álvarez de Toledo y Pimentel, 3rd Duke of Alba was a Spanish general and governor of the Spanish Netherlands , nicknamed "the Iron Duke" in the Low Countries because of his harsh and cruel rule there and his role in the execution of his political opponents and the massacre of several...

 to the Provinces to repress the revolt. Alba recaptured the southern part of the Provinces, who signed the Union of Atrecht, which meant that they would accept the Spanish government on condition of more freedom. But the northern part of the provinces signed the Union of Utrecht and settled in 1581 the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. Spanish troops quickly started fighting the rebels, but before the revolt could be completely defeated, a war between England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 and Spain
Spain
Spain , officially the Kingdom of Spain languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Spain's official name is as follows:;;;;;;), is a country and member state of the European Union located in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula...

 had broken out, forcing Philip's Spanish troops to halt their advance. Meanwhile, the Spanish armies had already conquered the important trading cities of Bruges and Ghent. Antwerp, which was then the most important port in the world, also had to be conquered. On August 17, 1585, Antwerp fell. This ended the Eighty Years' War for the (from now on) Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands
Southern Netherlands were a part of the Low Countries controlled by Spain , Austria and annexed by France...

. The United Provinces
Dutch Republic
The Dutch Republic — officially known as the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands , the Republic of the United Netherlands, or the Republic of the Seven United Provinces — was a republic in Europe existing from 1581 to 1795, preceding the Batavian Republic and ultimately...

 (the Northern Netherlands) fought on until 1648 – the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

.

While Spain was at war with England, the rebels from the north, strengthened by refugees from the south, started a campaign to reclaim areas lost to Philips II's Spanish troops. They managed to conquer a considerable part of Brabant (the later Noord-Brabant of the Netherlands), and the south bank of the Scheldt estuary (Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
Zeeuws-Vlaanderen
Zeelandic Flanders is the southernmost region of the province of Zeeland in south-western Netherlands. It lies south of the Western Scheldt that separates the region from the remainder of Zeeland to the north...

), before being stopped by Spanish troops. The front line at the end of this war stabilized and became the current border between present-day Belgium and the Netherlands. The Dutch (as they later became known) had managed to reclaim enough of Spanish-controlled Flanders to close off the river Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

, effectively cutting Antwerp off from its trade routes.

First the fall of Antwerp to the Spanish and later also the closing of the Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 were causes of a considerable emigration of Antverpians. Many of the Calvinist merchants of Antwerp and also of other Flemish cities left Flanders and emigrated to the north. A large number of them settled in Amsterdam
Amsterdam
Amsterdam is the largest city and the capital of the Netherlands. The current position of Amsterdam as capital city of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is governed by the constitution of August 24, 1815 and its successors. Amsterdam has a population of 783,364 within city limits, an urban population...

, which was at the time a smaller port, of significance only in the Baltic trade. In the following years Amsterdam was rapidly transformed into one of the world's most important ports. Because of the contribution of the Flemish exiles to this transformation, the exodus is sometimes described as "creating a new Antwerp".

Flanders and Brabant, due to these events, went into a period of relative decline from the time of the Thirty Years War. In the Northern Netherlands however, the mass emigration from Flanders and Brabant became an important driving force behind the Dutch Golden Age
Dutch Golden Age
The Golden Age was a period in Dutch history, roughly spanning the 17th century, in which Dutch trade, science, military and art were among the most acclaimed in the world. The first half is characterised by the Eighty Years' War till 1648...

.

Southern Netherlands (1581–1795)
Although arts remained at a relatively impressive level for another century with Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) and Anthony van Dyck
Anthony van Dyck
Sir Anthony van Dyck was a Flemish Baroque artist who became the leading court painter in England. He is most famous for his portraits of Charles I of England and his family and court, painted with a relaxed elegance that was to be the dominant influence on English portrait-painting for the next...

, Flanders experienced a loss of its former economic and intellectual power under Spanish, Austrian, and French rule, with heavy taxation and rigid imperial political control compounding the effects of industrial stagnation and Spanish-Dutch and Franco-Austrian conflict. The Southern Netherlands suffered severely under the Spanish Succession war, but under the reign of empress Maria-Theresia these lands economically flourished again. Influenced by the Enlightenment, the Austrian emperor Joseph II was the first sovereign who has been in the Southern Netherlands since king Philip II of Spain left them in 1559.

French Revolution and Napoleonic France (1795–1815)
In 1794 the French Republican Army started using Antwerp as the northernmost naval port of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, which country officially annexed Flanders the following year as the départements
The 130 départements
This is a list of the 130 departments , the conventional name for the administrative subdivisions of the First French Empire at the height of its territorial extent, circa 1811....

of Lys
Lys (département)
Lys is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium. It is named after the river Lys. It was created on 1 October 1795, when the Southern Netherlands were annexed by France. Before its occupation, its territory was part of the county of Flanders.Its capital was Bruges...

, Escaut
Escaut (département)
Escaut is a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium and Netherlands. It is named after the river Scheldt . It was formed in 1795, when the Southern Netherlands were annexed by France. Before the occupation, the territory was part of the county of Flanders and the United Provinces...

, Deux-Nèthes
Deux-Nèthes
Deux-Nèthes is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium and the Netherlands. It is named after two branches of the river Nete. The southern part of its territory corresponds more or less with the present Belgian province Antwerp....

, Meuse-Inférieure
Meuse-Inférieure
Meuse-Inférieure is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. It is named after the river Meuse. Its capital was Maastricht....

 and Dyle
Dyle (département)
Dyle is a département of the First French Empire in present Belgium. It was named after the river Dijle, which flows through the département. Its territory corresponds more or less with that of the Belgian provinces Walloon Brabant, Flemish Brabant and Brussels-Capital Region...

. Obligatory (French) army service for all men aged 16–25 was one of the main reasons for the people's uprising against the French in 1798, known as the Boerenkrijg (Peasants' War), with the heaviest fighting in the Campine
Campine
The Campine is a natural region situated chiefly in north-eastern Belgium and parts of the south-western Netherlands which once consisted mainly of extensive moors, tracts of sandy heath, and wetlands...

 area.

United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1830)
After the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 at the 1815 Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 in Waterloo
Waterloo, Belgium
Waterloo is a Walloon municipality located in the province of Walloon Brabant, Belgium. On December 31, 2009, Waterloo had a total population of 29,573. The total area is 21.03 km² which gives a population density of 1,407 inhabitants per km²...

, Brabant
Province of Brabant
Brabant was a province of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1815 until 1830 and a province of Belgium from 1830 until 1995, when it was split into the Dutch-speaking Flemish Brabant, the French-speaking Walloon Brabant and the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region.-United Kingdom of the...

, sovereignty over the Austrian Netherlands – Belgium minus the East Cantons and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 – was given by the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 (1815) to the United Netherlands
United Netherlands
United Netherlands is an educational student-led organization that focuses on the theory and practice of international relations and diplomacy...

 (Dutch: Verenigde Nederlanden), the state that briefly existed under Sovereign Prince William I of Orange Nassau, the latter King William I of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
William I of the Netherlands
William I Frederick, born Willem Frederik Prins van Oranje-Nassau , was a Prince of Orange and the first King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg....

, after the French Empire
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

 was driven out of the Dutch territories. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands is the unofficial name used to refer to Kingdom of the Netherlands during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empire and before the new kingdom of Belgium split out in 1830...

 was born. The Protestant King of the Netherlands, William I rapidly started the industrialisation of the southern parts of the Kingdom. The political system that was set up however, slowly but surely failed to forge a true union between the northern and the southern parts of the Kingdom. The southern bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 mainly was Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, in contrast to the mainly Protestant north; large parts of the southern bourgeoisie also primarily spoke French rather than Dutch.

In 1815 the Dutch Senate was reinstated (Dutch: Eerste Kamer der Staaten Generaal). The nobility, mainly coming from the south, became more and more estranged from their northern colleagues. Resentment grew both among the Roman Catholics from the south and the Protestants from the north and among the powerful liberal bourgeoisie from the south and their more moderate colleagues from the north. On August 25, 1830 (after the showing of the opera 'La Muette de Portici
La muette de Portici
La muette de Portici originally called Masaniello, ou La muette de Portici, is an opera in five acts by Daniel Auber, with a libretto by Germain Delavigne, revised by Eugène Scribe...

' of Daniel Auber
Daniel Auber
Daniel François Esprit Auber was a French composer.-Biography:The son of a Paris print-seller, Auber was born in Caen in Normandy. Though his father expected him to continue in the print-selling business, he also allowed his son to learn how to play several musical instruments...

 in Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

) the Belgian Revolution
Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium....

 sparked off and became a fact. On October 4, 1830, the Provisional Government
Provisional Government of Belgium
The Provisional Government was formed as a revolutionary committee of notables during the Belgian Revolution on September 24, 1830 at the Brussels City Hall under the name of Administrative Commission....

 (Dutch: Voorlopig Bewind) proclaimed the independence, which was later confirmed by the National Congress
National Congress of Belgium
The Belgian National Congress was a temporary legislative assembly in 1830, established shortly after the Provisional Government of Belgium had proclaimed Belgian independence on October 4 of that year...

 that issued a new Liberal Constitution and declared the new state a Constitutional Monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, under the House of Saxe-Coburg
Saxe-Coburg
Saxe-Coburg was a duchy held by the Ernestine branch of the Wettin dynasty in today's Bavaria, Germany.After the Division of Erfurt in 1572, Coburg was part of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Eisenach, ruled by the Ernestine duke John Casimir jointly with his brother John Ernest. In 1596...

. Flanders now became part of the Kingdom of Belgium, which was recognized by the major European Powers on January 20, 1831. The de facto dissidence was finally recognized by the United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands
United Kingdom of the Netherlands is the unofficial name used to refer to Kingdom of the Netherlands during the period after it was first created from part of the First French Empire and before the new kingdom of Belgium split out in 1830...

 on April 19, 1839.

Kingdom of Belgium



In 1830, the Belgian Revolution
Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution was the conflict which led to the secession of the Southern provinces from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and established an independent Kingdom of Belgium....

 led to the splitting up of the two countries. Belgium was confirmed as an independent state by the Treaty of London
Treaty of London, 1839
The Treaty of London, also called the First Treaty of London or the Convention of 1839, was a treaty signed on 19 April 1839 between the European great powers, the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium. It was the direct follow-up of the 1831 'Treaty of the XXIV Articles'...

 of 1839, but deprived of the eastern half of Limburg (now Dutch Limburg), and the Eastern half of Luxembourg (now the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg). Sovereignty over Zeeuws Vlaanderen, south of the Westerscheldt river delta, was left with the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with territory in Western Europe and in the Caribbean. The four parts of the Kingdom—Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten—are referred to as "countries", and participate on a basis of equality...

, which was allowed to levy a toll on all traffic to Antwerp harbour until 1863.

Rise of the Flemish Movement
The Belgian Revolution was not well supported in Flanders and even on the 4th of October 1830, when the Belgian independence was eventually declared, Flemish authorities refused to take orders from the new Belgian government in Brussels. Only after Flanders was subdued with the aid of a large French military force one month later, under the leadership of the Count de Pontécoulant, did Flanders become a true part of Belgium.

The French-speaking bourgeoisie showed very little respect for the Flemish part of the population. French became the only official language in Belgium and all secondary and higher education in the Flemish language was abolished. Belgium's co-founder, Charles Rogier
Charles Rogier
Charles Latour Rogier was a Belgian liberal statesman and a leader in the Belgian Revolution of 1830. He became Prime Minister of Belgium on two separate occasions: from 1847 to 1852, and again from 1857 to 1868....

, wrote in 1832 to the minister of justice Jean-Joseph Raikem
Jean-Joseph Raikem
Joseph-Jean Raikem or Jean-Joseph Raikem was a Roman Catholic Belgian politician, president of the National Congress of Belgium, magistrate and historian.-Works:...

, that "the first principles of a good administration are based upon the exclusive use of one language, and it is evident that the only language of the Belgians should be French. In order to achieve this result, it is necessary that all civil and military functions are entrusted to Walloons and Luxemburgers; this way, the Flemish, temporarily deprived of the advantages of these offices, will be constrained to learn French, and we will hence destroy bit by bit the Germanic element in Belgium."

In 1838, another co-founder, senator Alexandre Gendebien, even declared that the Flemish were "one of the more inferior races on the Earth, just like the negroes".

In 1834, all people even remotely suspected of being "Flemish minded" or calling for the reunification of the Netherlands were prosecuted and their houses looted and burnt. Flanders, until then a very prosperous European region, was not considered worthwhile for investment and scholarship. A study in 1918 demonstrated that in the first 88 years of its existence, 80% of the Belgian GNP was invested in Wallonia. This led to a widespread poverty in Flanders, forcing roughly 300.000 Flemish to emigrate to Wallonia
Flemish immigration to Wallonia
Flemish immigration to Wallonia was an important phenomenon in the History of Belgium. Kas Deprez wrote : Flanders was poor and backward in the 19th century. It hardly took part in the first industrial revolution...

 to start working there in the heavy industry.

All of these events led to a silent uprising in Flanders against the French-speaking domination. But it was not until 1878 that Dutch was allowed to be used for official purposes in Flanders, although French remained the only official language in Belgium.

In 1873, Dutch was again allowed in secondary schools; the first of which reopened in 1889. The Flemings had to wait until 1919—after many Flemish soldiers died in the trenches of World War I—to have their language officially recognised and until 1930 before the first Flemish university was reopened.

The first translation of the Belgian constitution in Dutch was not published until 1967.

World War I and its consequences
Flanders (and Belgium as a whole) saw some of the greatest loss of life on the Western Front
Western Front (World War I)
Following the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the German Army opened the Western Front by first invading Luxembourg and Belgium, then gaining military control of important industrial regions in France. The tide of the advance was dramatically turned with the Battle of the Marne...

 of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, in particular from the three battles of Ypres
Ypres
Ypres is a Belgian municipality located in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Ypres and the villages of Boezinge, Brielen, Dikkebus, Elverdinge, Hollebeke, Sint-Jan, Vlamertinge, Voormezele, Zillebeke, and Zuidschote...

. Due to the hundreds of thousands of casualties at Ypres, the poppies that sprang up from the battlefield afterwards, later immortalised in the Canadian poem "In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields
"In Flanders Fields" is one of the most notable poems written during World War I, created in the form of a French rondeau. It has been called "the most popular poem" produced during that period...

", written by John McCrae
John McCrae
Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae was a Canadian poet, physician, author, artist and soldier during World War I and a surgeon during the Second Battle of Ypres...

, have become a symbol for lives lost in war.

Flemish feeling of identity and consciousness grew through the events and experiences of war. The occupying German authorities took several Flemish-friendly measures. More importantly, the experiences of many Dutch-speaking soldiers on the front led by French-speaking officers catalysed Flemish emancipation. The French-speaking officers often gave orders in French only, followed by "et pour les Flamands, la même chose!", meaning "and for the Flemish, the same thing!" (which did not help the Flemish conscripts, who were mostly uneducated farmers and workers unable to have understood what had been said in French). name=mm-chs>
Note: This quote in French language "Et pour ...!" has become a coined expression in Belgium, and as such published abroad. E.g.:

The resulting suffering is still remembered by Flemish organizations during the yearly Yser pilgrimage
IJzerbedevaart
The IJzerbedevaart is a yearly gathering of Flemings, at the IJzertoren in Diksmuide. This pilgrimage remembers the Flemish soldiers who died during the First World War and was first organised in 1920. It is at the same time a political meeting striving for Flemish political autonomy...

 in Diksmuide
Diksmuide
Diksmuide is a Belgian city and municipality in the Flemish province of West Flanders. The municipality comprises the city of Diksmuide proper and the former communes of Beerst, Esen, Kaaskerke, Keiem, Lampernisse, Leke, Nieuwkapelle, Oostkerke, Oudekapelle, Pervijze, Sint-Jacobs-Kapelle,...

 at the monument of the Yser Tower
IJzertoren
The IJzertoren is a memorial along the Belgian Yser river in Diksmuide. There have been two IJzertorens, the first built after the First World War by an organisation of former Flemish soldiers...

.

Right-Wing Nationalism in the interbellum and World War II
During the interbellum and World War II, several right-wing fascist and/or national-socialistic parties emerged in Belgium, the Flemish ones being energized by the anti-Flemish discrimination of the Wallonians. Since these parties were promised more rights for the Flemings by the German government during World War II, many of them collaborated with the Nazi regime. After the war, collaborators (or people who were "Zwart", "Black" during the war) were prosecuted and punished, among them many Flemish Nationalists whose main goal had been for more rights for Flanders. As a result, up until this day Flemish Nationalism is often associated with right-wing and fascist ideologies.

Flemish autonomy
After World War II, the differences between Dutch-speaking and French-speaking Belgians became clear in a number of conflicts, such as the question whether King Leopold III should return (which most Flemings supported but not the Walloons) and the use of Dutch in the Catholic University of Leuven
Catholic University of Leuven
The Catholic University of Leuven, or of Louvain, was the largest, oldest and most prominent university in Belgium. The university was founded in 1425 as the University of Leuven by John IV, Duke of Brabant and approved by a Papal bull by Pope Martin V.During France's occupation of Belgium in the...

. As a result, several state reforms
State reform in Belgium
The term State reform in the Belgian context indicates a process towards finding constitutional and legal solutions for the problems and tensions between the different segments of the Belgian population, mostly Dutch-speakers of Flanders and French-speakers of Wallonia...

 took place in the second half of the 20th century, which transformed the unitary Belgium into a federal state with communities, regions and language areas. This resulted also in the establishment of a Flemish Parliament
Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

 and Government
Flemish government
The Flemish Government is the executive branch of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region. It consists of up to a maximum of eleven ministers, chosen by the Flemish Parliament...

.

Several Flemish parties still advocate for more Flemish autonomy, some even for Flemish independence (see Partition of Belgium
Partition of Belgium
The partition of Belgium, or the dissolution of the Belgian state through the separation of the Dutch-speaking people of the Flanders region and Brussels from the French-speaking people of the Walloon region and Brussels, granting them either independence or respective accession to the Netherlands...

), whereas the French-speakers would like to keep the current state as it is. Recent governments (such as Verhofstadt I Government
Verhofstadt I Government
The Verhofstadt I Government was the federal government of Belgium from 12 July 1999 to 12 July 2003.It was the first government headed by Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt...

) have transferred certain federal competences to the regional governments.

On 13 December 2006, a spoof news broadcast
Flemish Secession hoax
, also called "The Flemish Secession Hoax," was a hoax perpetrated by the French speaking Belgian public TV station RTBF on Wednesday, December 13, 2006, and created by Belgian journalist Philippe Dutilleul...

 by the Belgian Francophone public broadcasting station RTBF
RTBF
Radio Télévision Belge Francophone is the public broadcasting organization of the French Community of Belgium, the southern, French-speaking part of Belgium...

 declared that Flanders had decided to declare independence from Belgium.

The 2007 federal elections
Belgian general election, 2007
The 2007 Belgian general election took place on Sunday 10 June 2007. Voters went to the polls in order to elect new members for the Chamber of Representatives and Senate.Eligible voters were Belgian citizens 18 years and older...

 showed more support for Flemish autonomy. All the political parties that advocated a significant increase of Flemish autonomy gained votes as well as seats in the Belgian parliament. This was especially the case for Christian Democratic and Flemish and New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) (who had participated on a shared electoral list
Electoral list
An electoral list is a grouping of candidates for election to a post, usually in proportional election systems. An electoral list can be registered by a political party or can constitute a group of independent candidates...

). The 2009 regional elections
Belgian regional elections, 2009
Regional elections were held in Belgium on 7 June 2009 to choose representatives in the regional councils of Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels and the German-speaking Community of Belgium...

 have strengthened the parties in favor a significant increase of Flemish autonomy: CD&V and N-VA were the clear winners. N-VA became even the largest party in Flanders and Belgium during the 2010 federal elections
Belgian general election, 2010
General elections were held in Belgium on 13 June 2010. After the fall of the previous government over the withdrawal of Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats from the government the King dissolved the legislature and called new elections...

.

These victories for the advocates of much more Flemish autonomy are very much in parallel with opinion polls that show a structural increase in popular support for their agenda. Since 2006, certain polls have started showing a majority in favor of Flemish independence. Those polls are not yet representative, but they point to a significant long-term trend.

Several negotiators having come and gone since the federal elections of 10 June 2007 without diminishing the disagreements between Flemish and Walloon politicians regarding a further State reform, causing difficulties for the formation of the federal government and ultimately leading to the fall of the government and new elections on June 13, 2010. These were won by the pro-independence party of the N-VA in Flanders. The long-lasting government formation of 2010
2010 Belgian government formation
Following the Belgian general election held on 13 June 2010, a process of cabinet formation started in Belgium. The election produced a very fragmented political landscape, with 11 parties elected to the Chamber of Representatives, none of which have more than 20 percent of the seats...

 broke the previous record of 2007.

Government and politics


Both the Flemish Community
Flemish Community
The term Flemish Community has two distinct, though related, meanings:...

 and the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

 are constitutional institutions of the Kingdom of Belgium with precise geographical boundaries. In practice, the Flemish Community and Region together form a single body, with its own parliament and government, as the Community legally absorbed the competences of the Region.

The area of the Flemish Community is represented on the maps above, including the area of the Brussels-Capital Region (hatched on the relevant map). Roughly, the Flemish Community exercises competences originally oriented towards the individuals of the Community's language: culture (including audiovisual media), education, and the use of the language. Extensions to personal matters less directly associated with language comprise sports, health policy (curative and preventive medicine), and assistance to individuals (protection of youth, social welfare, aid to families, immigrant assistance services, etc.)

The area of the Flemish Region is represented on the maps above. It has a population of around 6 million (excluding the Dutch-speaking community in the Brussels Region, grey on the map for it is not a part of the Flemish Region). Roughly, the Flemish Region is responsible for territorial issues in a broad sense, including economy, employment, agriculture, water policy, housing, public works, energy, transport, the environment, town and country planning, nature conservation, credit, and foreign trade. It supervises the provinces, municipalities, and intercommunal utility companies.

The number of Dutch-speaking Flemish people
Flemish people
The Flemings or Flemish are the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Belgium, where they are mostly found in the northern region of Flanders. They are one of two principal cultural-linguistic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons...

 in the Capital Region is estimated to be between 11% and 15% (official figures do not exist as there is no language census and no official subnationality). According to a survey conducted by the Université Catholique de Louvain
Université catholique de Louvain
The Université catholique de Louvain, sometimes known, especially in Belgium, as UCL, is Belgium's largest French-speaking university. It is located in Louvain-la-Neuve and in Brussels...

 in Louvain-La-Neuve
Louvain-la-Neuve
Louvain-la-Neuve is a planned city in the municipality of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, situated 30 km southeast of Brussels, in the French-speaking part of the country...

 and published in June 2006, 51% of respondents from Brussels claimed to be bilingual, even if they do not have Dutch as their first language. They are governed by the Brussels Region for economics affairs and by the Flemish Community for educational and cultural issues.

As of 2005, Flemish institutions such as Flanders' government, parliament, etc. represent the Flemish Community and the Flemish region. The region and the community thus de facto share the same parliament and the same government. All these institutions are based in Brussels. Nevertheless, both bodies (the Community and the Region) still exist and the distinction between both is important for the people living in Brussels. Members of the Flemish parliament
Flemish Parliament
The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

 who were elected in the Brussels Region cannot vote on affairs belonging to the competences of the Flemish Region.

The official language
Official language
An official language is a language that is given a special legal status in a particular country, state, or other jurisdiction. Typically a nation's official language will be the one used in that nation's courts, parliament and administration. However, official status can also be used to give a...

 for all Flemish institutions is Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

. French enjoys a limited official recognition in a dozen municipalities along the borders with French-speaking Wallonia, and a large recognition in the bilingual Brussels Region. French is widely known in Flanders, with 59% claiming to know French according to a survey conducted by the Université catholique de Louvain
Université catholique de Louvain
The Université catholique de Louvain, sometimes known, especially in Belgium, as UCL, is Belgium's largest French-speaking university. It is located in Louvain-la-Neuve and in Brussels...

 in Louvain-La-Neuve
Louvain-la-Neuve
Louvain-la-Neuve is a planned city in the municipality of Ottignies-Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium, situated 30 km southeast of Brussels, in the French-speaking part of the country...

 and published in June 2006.

Politics


Many new political parties during the last half century were founded in Flanders: the nationalist Volksunie of which the right nationalist Vlaams Blok
Vlaams Blok
The Vlaams Blok was a Belgian far-right and secessionist political party with an anti-immigration platform. Its ideologies embraced Flemish nationalism, calling for the independence of Flanders. From its creation in 1978, it was the most notable militant right wing of the Flemish movement. Vlaams...

 (Vlaams Belang
Vlaams Belang
Vlaams Belang is a Belgian far-right political party in the Flemish Region and Brussels that advocates the independence of Flanders and strict limits on immigration, whereby immigrants would be obliged to adopt Flemish culture and language...

) split off, and which later dissolved into the former Spirit (now SLP), moderate nationalism rather left of the spectrum, and the New Flemish Alliance (N-VA), more conservative moderate nationalism; the leftist alternative/ecological Groen!; the short-lived anarchistic libertarian spark ROSSEM
ROSSEM
ROSSEM was a Belgian libertine political party founded in 1991 by the maverick Flemish businessman and writer Jean-Pierre Van Rossem. The acronym 'ROSSEM' stood for 'Radicale Omvormers en Sociale Strijders voor een Eerlijker Maatschappij" which can loosely be translated as "radical reformists and...

 and more recently the conservative-right liberal Lijst Dedecker, founded by Jean-Marie Dedecker
Jean-Marie Dedecker
Jean-Marie Louis Dedecker is a Belgian Flemish politician.In 1999 and 2003, Dedecker was directly elected to the Belgian Senate. In 2004 Dedecker ran for a seat in the Flemish Parliament, after taking his seat in the Flemish Parliament, Dedecker was elected by his colleagues as a community senator...

.

Flemish nation


For many Flemings, Flanders is more than just a geographical area or the federal institutions (Flemish Community and Region). Some even call it a nation: a people of over 6 million living in the Flemish Region and in the Brussels-Capital Region. Flemings share many political, cultural, scientific, social and educational views. Although most Flemings identify themselves more with Flanders than with Belgium, the largest group defines itself as both Flemish and Belgian.
The idea of an independent Flanders finds its root in the romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism
Romantic nationalism is the form of nationalism in which the state derives its political legitimacy as an organic consequence of the unity of those it governs...

 of the 19th century.

Administrative divisions



The Flemish Region covers 13522 km² (5,221 sq mi) and contains over 300 municipalities.
It is divided into five provinces:
  1. Antwerp
    Antwerp (province)
    Antwerp is the northernmost province both of the Flemish Region, also called Flanders, and of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and the Belgian provinces of Limburg, Flemish Brabant and East Flanders. Its capital is Antwerp which comprises the Port of Antwerp...

      (Antwerpen)
  2. Limburg
    Limburg (Belgium)
    Limburg is the easternmost province of modern Flanders, which is one of the three main political and cultural sub-divisions of modern Belgium. It is located west of the river Meuse . It borders on the Dutch provinces of North Brabant and Limburg and the Belgian provinces of Liège, Flemish Brabant...

      (Limburg)
  3. East Flanders
    East Flanders
    East Flanders is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands and in Belgium on the provinces of Antwerp, Flemish Brabant , of Hainaut and of West Flanders...

      (Oost-Vlaanderen)
  4. Flemish Brabant
    Flemish Brabant
    Flemish Brabant is a province of Flanders, one of the three regions of Belgium. It borders on the Belgian provinces of Antwerp, Limburg, Liège, Walloon Brabant, Hainaut and East Flanders. Flemish Brabant also completely surrounds the Brussels-Capital Region. Its capital is Leuven...

      (Vlaams-Brabant)
  5. West Flanders  (West-Vlaanderen)


Independently from the provinces, Flanders has its own local institutions in the Brussels-Capital Region, being the Vlaamse GemeenschapsCommissie (VGC), and its municipal antennae (Gemeenschapscentra, community centers for the Flemish community in Brussels). These institutions are independent from the educational, cultural and social institutions that depend directly on the Flemish Government. They exert, among others, all those cultural competences that outside Brussels fall under the provinces.

Geography and climate


Antwerp, Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

, Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 are the largest cities of the Flemish Region
Flemish Region
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders, of which it is the institutional iteration within the context of the Belgian political system...

. Antwerp has a population of more than 480,000 citizens and is the largest city, Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

 has a population of 240,000 citizens, followed by Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 with 120,000 citizens and Leuven
Leuven
Leuven is the capital of the province of Flemish Brabant in the Flemish Region, Belgium...

 counts almost 100,000 citizens. Brussels
Brussels
Brussels , officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region , is the capital of Belgium and the de facto capital of the European Union...

 is a part of Flanders as far as community matters are concerned, but does not belong to the Flemish Region.

Flanders has two main geographical regions: the coastal Yser
Yser
The Yser is a river that finds its origin in the north of France, enters Belgium and flows into the North Sea at the town of Nieuwpoort.-In France:The source of the Yser is in Buysscheure, in the Nord département of northern France...

 basin plain in the north-west and a central plain. The first consists mainly of sand dunes and clay
Clay
Clay is a general term including many combinations of one or more clay minerals with traces of metal oxides and organic matter. Geologic clay deposits are mostly composed of phyllosilicate minerals containing variable amounts of water trapped in the mineral structure.- Formation :Clay minerals...

ey alluvial soils in the polder
Polder
A polder is a low-lying tract of land enclosed by embankments known as dikes, that forms an artificial hydrological entity, meaning it has no connection with outside water other than through manually-operated devices...

s. Polders are areas of land, close to or below sea level that have been reclaimed from the sea, from which they are protected by dikes or, a little further inland, by fields that have been drained with canals. With similar soils along the lowermost Scheldt
Scheldt
The Scheldt is a 350 km long river in northern France, western Belgium and the southwestern part of the Netherlands...

 basin starts the central plain, a smooth, slowly rising fertile area irrigated by many waterways that reaches an average height of about five metres (16.4 ft) above sea level with wide valleys of its rivers upstream as well as the Campine
Campine
The Campine is a natural region situated chiefly in north-eastern Belgium and parts of the south-western Netherlands which once consisted mainly of extensive moors, tracts of sandy heath, and wetlands...

 region to the east having sandy soils at altitudes around thirty metres Near its southern edges close to Wallonia one can find slightly rougher land richer of calcium
Calcium
Calcium is the chemical element with the symbol Ca and atomic number 20. It has an atomic mass of 40.078 amu. Calcium is a soft gray alkaline earth metal, and is the fifth-most-abundant element by mass in the Earth's crust...

 with low hills reaching up to 150 m (492 ft) and small valleys, and at the eastern border with the Netherlands, in the Meuse
Meuse
Meuse is a department in northeast France, named after the River Meuse.-History:Meuse is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on March 4, 1790...

 basin, there are marl
Marl
Marl or marlstone is a calcium carbonate or lime-rich mud or mudstone which contains variable amounts of clays and aragonite. Marl was originally an old term loosely applied to a variety of materials, most of which occur as loose, earthy deposits consisting chiefly of an intimate mixture of clay...

 caves (mergelgrotten). Its exclave around Voeren between the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 border and the Walloon province of Liège
Liège (province)
Liège is the easternmost province of Belgium and belongs to the Walloon Region. It is an area of French and German ethnicity. It borders on the Netherlands, Germany, Luxembourg, and in Belgium the provinces of Luxembourg, Namur, Walloon Brabant , and those of Flemish Brabant and Limburg . Its...

 attains a maximum altitude of 288 m (945 ft) above sea level.

The climate is maritime temperate
Temperate
In geography, temperate or tepid latitudes of the globe lie between the tropics and the polar circles. The changes in these regions between summer and winter are generally relatively moderate, rather than extreme hot or cold...

, with significant precipitation in all seasons (Köppen climate classification
Köppen climate classification
The Köppen climate classification is one of the most widely used climate classification systems. It was first published by Crimea German climatologist Wladimir Köppen in 1884, with several later modifications by Köppen himself, notably in 1918 and 1936...

: Cfb; the average temperature is 3 °C (37 °F) in January, and 21 °C (69.8 °F) in July; the average precipitation is 65 millimetres (2.6 in) in January, and 78 millimetres (3.1 in) in July).

Economy


Total GDP of the Flemish Region in 2004 was € 165,847 million (Eurostat
Eurostat
Eurostat is a Directorate-General of the European Commission located in Luxembourg. Its main responsibilities are to provide the European Union with statistical information at European level and to promote the integration of statistical methods across the Member States of the European Union,...

 figures). Per capita GDP at purchasing power parity
Purchasing power parity
In economics, purchasing power parity is a condition between countries where an amount of money has the same purchasing power in different countries. The prices of the goods between the countries would only reflect the exchange rates...

 was 23% above the EU average.

Flanders was one of the first continental European areas to undergo the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, in the 19th century. Initially, the modernization relied heavily on food processing and textile. However, by the 1840s the textile industry of Flanders was in severe crisis and there was famine in Flanders (1846–50). After World War II, Antwerp and Ghent
Ghent
Ghent is a city and a municipality located in the Flemish region of Belgium. It is the capital and biggest city of the East Flanders province. The city started as a settlement at the confluence of the Rivers Scheldt and Lys and in the Middle Ages became one of the largest and richest cities of...

 experienced a fast expansion of the chemical and petroleum
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 industries. Flanders also attracted a large majority of foreign investments in Belgium, among others thanks to its well-educated and industrious labour force. The 1973
1973 oil crisis
The 1973 oil crisis started in October 1973, when the members of Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries or the OAPEC proclaimed an oil embargo. This was "in response to the U.S. decision to re-supply the Israeli military" during the Yom Kippur war. It lasted until March 1974. With the...

 and 1979 oil crises sent the economy into a recession. The steel industry remained in relatively good shape. In the 1980s and 90s, the economic centre of Belgium continued to shift further to Flanders. Nowadays, the Flemish economy is mainly service-oriented, although its diverse industry remains a crucial force. Flemish productivity per capita is between 20 and 25% higher than that in Wallonia.

Flanders has developed an excellent transportation infrastructure of ports, canals, railways and highways. The Port of Antwerp
Port of Antwerp
The port of Antwerp, in Belgium, is a port in the heart of Europe accessible to capesize ships. Antwerp stands at the upper end of the tidal estuary of the Scheldt. The estuary is navigable by ships of more than 100,000 Gross Tons as far as 80 km inland. The inland location means that the port...

 is the second-largest in Europe, after Rotterdam
Port of Rotterdam
The Port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe, located in the city of Rotterdam, Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004 it was the world's busiest port, now overtaken by first Shanghai and then Singapore...

.

In 1999, the euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

, the single European currency, was introduced in Flanders. It replaced the Belgian franc
Belgian franc
The franc was the currency of Belgium until 2002 when the euro was introduced into circulation. It was subdivided into centimes , 100 centiem or Centime .-History:...

 in 2002. The Flemish economy is strongly export oriented, in particular of high value-added goods. The main imports are food products, machinery, rough diamonds, petroleum and petroleum products, chemicals, clothing and accessories, and textiles. The main exports are automobiles, food and food products, iron and steel, finished diamonds, textiles, plastics, petroleum products, and nonferrous metals. Since 1922, Belgium and Luxembourg
Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...

 have been a single trade market within a customs
Customs union
A customs union is a type of trade bloc which is composed of a free trade area with a common external tariff. The participant countries set up common external trade policy, but in some cases they use different import quotas...

 and currency union
Currency union
A currency union is where two or more states share the same currency, though without there necessarily having any further integration such as an Economic and Monetary Union, which has in addition a customs union and a single market.There are three types of currency unions:#Informal - unilateral...

—the Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
Belgium-Luxembourg Economic Union
The Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union , abbreviated to BLEU or UEBL, is an economic and monetary union between Belgium and Luxembourg, two countries in the Benelux economic union....

. Its main trading partners are Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, the United States, and Spain.

Demographics


The highest population density is found in the area circumscribed by the Brussels-Antwerp-Ghent-Leuven agglomerations that surround Mechelen and is known as the Flemish Diamond
Flemish Diamond
The Flemish Diamond is one of the larger European metropolitan regions, situated in the central provinces of Flanders and the capital region of Belgium.Herman Deweerdt : Het is zeker waar dat de Vlaamse ruit een centrum van economische activiteit is en dus een zeer belangrijke basis vormt voor de...

, in other important urban centres as Bruges
Bruges
Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country....

 and Kortrijk
Kortrijk
Kortrijk ; , ; ) is a Belgian city and municipality located in the Flemish province West Flanders...

 to the west, and notable centres Turnhout and Hasselt
Hasselt
Hasselt is a Belgian city and municipality, and capital of the Flemish province of Limburg...

 to the east. In April 2005 the Flemish Region had a population of 6,058,368, and about 15% of the 1,018,029 people in the Brussels Region are also considered Flemish.

The (Belgian) laicist
Laïcité
French secularism, in French, laïcité is a concept denoting the absence of religious involvement in government affairs as well as absence of government involvement in religious affairs. French secularism has a long history but the current regime is based on the 1905 French law on the Separation of...

constitution provides for freedom of religion, and the various government in general respects this right in practice. Since independence, Catholicism, counterbalanced by strong freethought
Freethought
Freethought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds that opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic, and reason, and should not be influenced by authority, tradition, or other dogmas...

 movements, has had an important role in Belgium's politics, since the 20th century in Flanders mainly via the Christian trade union (ACV) and the Christian Democratic and Flemish party (CD&V)). According to the 2001 Survey and Study of Religion, about 47 percent of the Belgian population identify themselves as belonging to the Catholic Church, while Islam is the second-largest religion at 3.5 percent. A 2006 inquiry in Flanders, considered more religious than Wallonia, showed that 55% considered themselves religious, and 36% believed that God created the world. (See also Religion in Belgium
Religion in Belgium
A 2006 inquiry in Flanders showed 55% of its inhabitants calling themselves religious, while 36% claimed to believe that God created the world.- Status of recognized denominations :...

).

Education is compulsory from the ages of six to 18, but most Flemings continue to study until around 23. Among the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development countries in 1999, Flanders had the third-highest proportion of 18–21-year-olds enrolled in postsecondary education. Flanders also scores very high in international comparative studies on education. Its secondary school students consistently rank among the top three for mathematics and science. However, the success is not evenly spread: ethnic minority youth score consistently lower, and the difference is larger than in most comparable countries.

Mirroring the historical political conflicts between the freethought and Catholic segments of the population, the Flemish educational system is split into a laïque branch controlled by the communities, the provinces, or the municipalities, and a subsidised
Subsidy
A subsidy is an assistance paid to a business or economic sector. Most subsidies are made by the government to producers or distributors in an industry to prevent the decline of that industry or an increase in the prices of its products or simply to encourage it to hire more labor A subsidy (also...

 religious—mostly Catholic—branch controlled by both the communities and the religious authorities—usually the diocese
Diocese
A diocese is the district or see under the supervision of a bishop. It is divided into parishes.An archdiocese is more significant than a diocese. An archdiocese is presided over by an archbishop whose see may have or had importance due to size or historical significance...

s. It should however be noted that—at least for the Catholic school
Catholic school
Catholic schools are maintained parochial schools or education ministries of the Catholic Church. the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system...

s—the religious authorities have very limited power over these schools. Smaller school systems follow 'methodical pedagogies' (Steiner, Montessori, Freinet, ...) or serve the Jewish and Protestant minorities. During the school year 2003-2004, 68.30% of the total population of children between the ages of six and 18 went to subsidized private schools (both religious schools or 'methodical pedagogies' schools).

Language and culture


At first sight, Flemish culture is defined by its language
Language
Language may refer either to the specifically human capacity for acquiring and using complex systems of communication, or to a specific instance of such a system of complex communication...

 and its gourmandic mentality, as compared to the more Calvinistic Dutch culture. Dutch and Flemish paintings enjoyed more equal international admiration.

The standard language in Flanders is Dutch
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

; spelling and grammar are regulated by a single authority, the Nederlandse Taalunie ('Union of Dutch Language'), comprising a committee of ministers of the Flemish and Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 governments, their advisory council of appointed experts, a controlling commission of 22 parliamentarians, and a secretariate. name=Taalunie1>

name=Taalunie2>

The term Flemish
Flemish
Flemish can refer to anything related to Flanders, and may refer directly to the following articles:*Flemish, an informal, though linguistically incorrect, name of any kind of the Dutch language as spoken in Belgium....

 can be applied to the Dutch spoken in Flanders; it shows many regional and local variations.

Literature in non-standardized dialects of the current area of Flanders originated with Hendrik van Veldeke's Eneas Romance, the first courtly romance in a Germanic language (12th Century). With a writer of Hendrik Conscience
Hendrik Conscience
Henri "Hendrik" Conscience was a Belgian writer. He was a pioneer in writing in Dutch after the secession from the Netherlands in 1830 left Belgium a mostly French speaking country....

's statue, Flemish Literature
Flemish literature
Flemish literature is literature from Flanders, historically a region comprising parts of present-day Belgium, France and the Netherlands. Until the early 19th century, this literature was regarded as an integral part of Dutch literature...

 rose ahead of French literature in Belgium's early history. name=Letterkundig-Museum>
name=Couttenier>

Guido Gezelle
Guido Gezelle
Guido Pieter Theodorus Josephus Gezelle was an influential Flemish language writer and poet and a Roman Catholic priest from Belgium.- Life :...

 not only explicitly referred to his writings as Flemish but actually used it in many of his poems, and strongly defended it:

Original from kleengedichtjes (1860?) name=kleengedichtjes1>
name=kleengedichtjes2>



Gij zegt dat ‘t vlaamsch te niet zal gaan:

‘t en zal!

dat ‘t waalsch gezwets zal boven slaan:

‘t en zal!

Dat hopen, dat begeren wij:

dat zeggen en dat zweren wij:

zoo lange als wij ons weren, wij:

‘t en zal, ‘t en zal,

‘t en zal!


Translation 2011-02-17 — 2011-02-19. For explanations, continue along each 'next' edit comment

You say Flemish will fade away:

It shan't!

that Walloon twaddle will have its way:

It shan't!

This we hope, for this we hanker:

this we say and this we vow:

as long as we fight back, we:

It shan't, It shan't,

It shan't!

The distinction between Dutch
Dutch literature
Dutch literature comprises all writings of literary merit written through the ages in the Dutch language, a language which currently has around 23 million native speakers...

 and Flemish literature, often perceived politically, is also made on intrinsic grounds by some experts such as Kris Humbeeck, professor of Literature at the University of Antwerp
University of Antwerp
The University of Antwerp is one of the major Belgian universities located in the city of Antwerp. The name is sometimes abbreviated as UA.-History:...

. name=de-Ridder >
name=Humbeeck>
Nevertheless, nearly all Dutch-language
Dutch language
Dutch is a West Germanic language and the native language of the majority of the population of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Suriname, the three member states of the Dutch Language Union. Most speakers live in the European Union, where it is a first language for about 23 million and a second...

 literature read (and appreciated to varying degrees) in Flanders is the same as that in the Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

.

Influential Flemish writers include Ernest Claes
Ernest Claes
Andreas Ernestus Josephus Claes was a Flemish author.Some of his works are written under the pseudonym G...

, Stijn Streuvels
Stijn Streuvels
Stijn Streuvels, born Franciscus Petrus Maria Lateur, is a Flemish writer. He was born on 3 October 1871 in Heule, Kortrijk, and died in Ingooigem, Anzegem on 15 August 1969 at the age of 98. In 1905 he married Alida Staelens. They had 4 children: Paula , Paul , Dina and Isa...

 and Felix Timmermans
Felix Timmermans
Leopold Maximiliaan Felix Timmermans is a much translated author of Flanders.Timmermans was born in the Belgian city of Lier, as the thirteenth of fourteen children in the family. He died in Lier, aged 60. He was an autodidact, and wrote plays, historical novels, religious works, and poems. His...

. Their novels mostly describe rural life in Flanders in the 19th century and at beginning of the 20th. Widely read by the older generations, they are considered somewhat old-fashioned by present-day critics. Some famous Flemish writers of the early 20th century wrote in French, including Nobel Prize winners (1911) Maurice Maeterlinck
Maurice Maeterlinck
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck, also called Comte Maeterlinck from 1932, was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life...

 and Emile Verhaeren
Emile Verhaeren
Emile Verhaeren was a Belgian poet who wrote in the French language, and one of the chief founders of the school of Symbolism....

. They were followed by a younger generation, including Paul van Ostaijen
Paul van Ostaijen
Paul van Ostaijen was a Flemish poet and writer.Van Ostaijen was born in Antwerp. His nickname was Mister 1830, because of his habit of walking along the streets of Antwerp clothed as a dandy from that year....

 and Gaston Burssens
Gaston Burssens
Gaston Karel Mathilde Burssens was a Belgian Expressionist poet. He studied in Flanders at the University of Ghent, at which during World War I the Germans introduced classes given in Dutch language, and was a Flemish Activist. -Biography:Like that of Paul van Ostaijen, during the 1920s his work...

, who activated
Activism
Activism consists of intentional efforts to bring about social, political, economic, or environmental change. Activism can take a wide range of forms from writing letters to newspapers or politicians, political campaigning, economic activism such as boycotts or preferentially patronizing...

the Flemish Movement
Flemish movement
The Flemish Movement is a popular term used to describe the political movement for emancipation and greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders, for protection of the Dutch language, and for the over-all protection of Flemish culture and history....

. Still widely read and translated into other languages (including English) are the novels of authors such as Willem Elsschot
Willem Elsschot
Willem Elsschot , was a Flemish writer and poet . A few of his works have been translated into English.-Life:...

, Louis Paul Boon
Louis Paul Boon
Louis Paul Boon was a Flemish journalist and novelist who is considered one of the major 20th century writers in the Dutch language...

 and Hugo Claus
Hugo Claus
Hugo Maurice Julien Claus was a leading Belgian author who published under his own name as well as various pseudonyms. Claus' literary contributions spanned the genres of drama, the novel, and poetry; he also left a legacy as a painter and film director...

. The recent crop of writers includes the novelists Tom Lanoye
Tom Lanoye
Tom Lanoye [lan-WA] is a Belgian novelist and poet who works in Antwerp and Cape Town . He gained widespread popularity in the early 1980s as part of the new generation of young Flemish novelists that included Herman Brusselmans and Kristien Hemmerechts...

 and Herman Brusselmans
Herman Brusselmans
Herman Frans Martha Brusselmans is a Flemish novelist, poet, playwright and columnist. He lives in Ghent.Herman Brusselmans studied Dutch and English at the University of Ghent. In his early twenties he was a successful football player. He played for Vigor Hamme and SK Lokeren. He now has his own...

, and poets such as the married couple Herman de Coninck
Herman de Coninck
Herman de Coninck was a Flemish poet, essayist, journalist and publisher.-Life:Herman de Coninck was born in Mechelen, Belgium, where his parents ran a Catholic bookshop. He attended the Sint-Rombouts College in Mechelen where he contributed to the school newspaper...

 and Kristien Hemmerechts
Kristien Hemmerechts
Kristien Hemmerechts is a Belgian writer.-Life:Kristien Hemmerechts studied Germanic philology at the Katholieke Universiteit Brussel and the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven . Afterwards, she studied literary science in Amsterdam for a year. In Amsterdam she met her first husband—who was...

.

See also

  • Burgundian Netherlands
    Burgundian Netherlands
    In the history of the Low Countries, the Burgundian Netherlands refers to a number of Imperial and French fiefs ruled in personal union by the House of Valois-Burgundy and their Habsburg heirs in the period from 1384 to 1482...

  • Count of Flanders
    Count of Flanders
    The Count of Flanders was the ruler or sub-ruler of the county of Flanders from the 9th century until the abolition of the position by the French revolutionaries in 1790....

  • Flemish Movement
    Flemish movement
    The Flemish Movement is a popular term used to describe the political movement for emancipation and greater autonomy of the Belgian region of Flanders, for protection of the Dutch language, and for the over-all protection of Flemish culture and history....

  • Flemish Parliament
    Flemish Parliament
    The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium The Flemish Parliament (Dutch: , and formerly called Flemish Council or Vlaamse Raad) constitutes the...

  • Flemish Primitives
  • Seventeen Provinces
    Seventeen Provinces
    The Seventeen Provinces were a personal union of states in the Low Countries in the 15th century and 16th century, roughly covering the current Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, a good part of the North of France , and a small part of Western Germany.The Seventeen Provinces were originally held by...

  • Wallonia

External links



Flemish authorities (Dutch: Vlaamse overheid) Flemish authorities (Dutch: Vlaamse overheid)