Friday, May 27, 2011

Belgium: Natural NOT Artificial

About a week or two ago someone sent me an article from the Brussels Journal about how Belgium is an “artificial state”, an “invented” state just put together for political reasons, doomed to failure and which never should have existed in the first place. Why this was sent to me? Maybe to see my reaction since going to school in Texas everyone at home thinks I’m becoming a far-right extremist. I don’t think so but my friend and native Texas the Mad Monarchist did worry me when he said that Texans were like the Klingons of the United States. Yikes. Anyway, everyone should probably know already my opinion on this and I feel like I have said it a hundred million times but the “artificial state” and “invented state” accusations just keep coming. I do not think that is true but additionally I do not understand how anyone else could think it is true. It goes against all of history, and that I have tried to talk about on this blog. Regardless, it is still repeated and it makes me depressed. Also I have been depressed by how many Belgians are so quick and calm to criticize their own country. A good friend of mine said when the burqa ban was passed that Belgium must be the most racist country. We really put down ourselves too much. Seriously, if Belgium was really so racist then I don’t think so many other races would want to come live in Belgium.

Back to the point, Belgium is not “artificial” or “invented”. How do people think this? I know, part is because of the quarreling between the French and Dutch speakers communities but do they really think these two were just put together in 1830? Do they think before that the space on the map was empty? The two regions had been together when we were part of the United Netherlands Kingdom, when we were the Austrian Netherlands before that, when we were in the larger Spanish Netherlands before that and when we were Burgundy before that. There had always been this area, not always an independent country, but always definitely not French, not German and not Dutch. Even in those days people still called the whole area “Belgium” and it was Belgium even all the way back in Roman times. So, why don’t people understand? No one “invented” Belgium! Belgium has always been here, right where it is today! There has always been Belgium, there have always been Belgians. This is not disputable, this is a fact of history.

Look at the brief period between the first effort for independence (United States of Belgium we talked about) and the country being taken over by France and Napoleon. That was when we were, again, the Austrian Netherlands but war was already about to happen with France so military forces had to be ready and they formed a unit, part of the Austrian Imperial Army, with green and yellow uniforms with cool crested helmets that had the big letters “LB” on them. What did that stood for? “Legion Belge” or the BELGIAN Legion. This was going back before 1814, so how could there be a Belgian Legion when these people keep saying Belgium was just invented in 1830 by a bunch of countries? Why do I have maps from back to the Renaissance period and the Roman Empire with a big area labeled “Belgium” on them if the country was only “invented” in 1830? So why do they keep saying that? It is ridiculous and I do not understand them!

The people always had different languages and different customs, not just in the regions, but town to town. However, in the past most everyone also had a common language if it was Latin or later French and everyone always had the same religion. Today it is more rigid and one area is for speaking Dutch, the other French and a little bit German and no changing! That has hardened feelings I think, not like the way it was in the past. In the past there were language issues also, no denying that, but there were also more things that all Belgians had in common in those days and today there is less of that. But artificial or invented we are not. The area of the country has been a distinct unit since hundreds of years and the people living there knew they were not French or Dutch or Germans, but Belgians!


  1. Was this article written by that horrible Paul Belien? He wrote a whole book to this effect, trashing the Royal Family whenever possible. I've discussed him before, but now prefer to ignore him, for the sake of my blood pressure;-)

  2. Remember Exiled, "Of all the people of Gaule, the Belgians are the bravest"...(in 57 BC)... for anyone interested and thank you Matterhorn for Mr. Belien's name! He obviously carries a chip on his shoulder!
    Our genealogy tree goes back to 1637 (just good merchant stock and part of a Guild)...No one in our family ever thought themselves anything but Belgian!
    Finally I agree with you Exiled, it must be truly "un petit pays de cocagne"...So many immigrate there for a reason!
    Une chataigne, anyone???

  3. I do not remember the name but I know he would be writing the same thing and it maybe was. I was only grateful a few people did defend Belgium in the comments section (not Belgians but other nations). It was the same in my house, in fact my parents became rather upset anytime the communities were brought up, we were all Belgians and that was enough. We like the Dutch we like the French but we are our own nation, no more and no less.

    I know things are bad at the moment and I complain also sometimes but I don't think we are bad people or worse than anyone else. Look how long we have been doing okay with no government at all!

  4. I am of course sympathetic to this legitimacy plight. I do have of course, French nationalistic ideas about Wallonia, but I recognize Belgian sovereignty. My ideal solution would be an independent Belgian kingdom within a greater French Empire.
    Besides, one could use the same "artificial" argument for any country. After all, ultimately, most European states were part of the Roman Empire, weren't they? Why not just have everyone annexed by Italy?