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Reunify Flanders and the Netherlands, argues Bart De Wever

Bart De Wever. Credit: Belga

The leader of the Flemish rightwing N-VA party, Bart De Wever, argued for the reunification of Flanders and the Netherlands, as the next step after the realisation of confederalism.

Centuries ago, parts of Flanders – but also Walloon areas such as Namur, Hainaut and Luxembourg – and the Netherlands were united as the so-called Seventeen Provinces, but the fall of Antwerp in 1585 during the Eighty Years’ War temporarily put an end to this.

De Wever, who had previously also advocated the undoing of that separation, said in Trends Talk on Kanaal Z on Thursday that it is “it is a personal point of view that I have had for a long time.”

“In 1993, I was already a co-organiser of a Great Dutch Student Congress. I have never let go of that dream: that one day all Dutch speakers would live together in one union, the Southern and Northern Netherlands,” De Wever said.

According to him, that union would be one of the strongest economies in the world. “The ports of Antwerp and Rotterdam could merge to become the gateway of the Northwest European economy. That seems like a fantastic story.”

“Of course, some water will have to flow through the Rhine and the Scheldt, and people are not mentally ready for that yet,” De Wever said. “I can see that.”

While the idea still seems unthinkable today, that could soon change, according to him. “Federalism was unthinkable in Belgium in the sixties, in the seventies it was reality. Confederalism is hard to imagine in Wallonia today, I think it will be a reality tomorrow.”

“A confederation of the Low Countries could be a reality the day after tomorrow. If I could die as a Southern Dutchman, I would die happier than as a Belgian,” De Wever said.