N-VA’s Bart De Wever shares his vision of the Flemish identity in new book
Share article:
Share article:

N-VA’s Bart De Wever shares his vision of the Flemish identity in new book

© Belga
© Belga

Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA) leader Bart De Wever lays out his vision of what it means to be Flemish in a society eroded by “cultural relativism”, in a new book titled “Over identiteit” (“On Identity”). “We need a new code to reinvent ourselves as a community,” the conservative candidate for the post of Flemish Minister President explains.

De Wever outlines the history of the European continent, opening each of his chapters with a quotation in Latin. He is particularly critical of the way migration has been approached in recent years, which hardly comes as a surprise. He sees today’s society as one made up of communities that are closed instead of gradually coalescing into a “we”.

For De Wever, there is no community without a “dominant culture”. In the European context, this is based on the Enlightenment, the philosophy that gave rise to modernity and spread through Europe from the second half of the 17th Century.

“A dominant culture dominates, but does not constrain,” he writes. “No individual can or ought to feel obliged to declare himself fully in agreement with the principles of the Enlightenment.”

However, “the dominant culture must be accepted as the foundation of the organisation of our public culture,” De Wever stresses. “That means that society bases itself on this rule to choose the way it organises public life and that a citizen’s private life is of secondary interest.”

The president of the nationalist party no longer believes in Belgium as a community. He feels Flanders is the referential framework for Flemmings. “The Flemish cultural community is today the most relevant framework in which we live our identity,” he writes. “Our national identity is Flemish, but it can aspire ultimately to become European.”

This Flemish identity is based on four principles.

The first is the neutrality of the public authority, which supposes that “citizens derive no automatic right from their personal identity in the public culture”. An example of this is the ban on religious symbols in public education and the public service.

The second principle is based on the recognition of Dutch, “the language of the community” as an indispensable pre-condition for participating in public life.

The values of the Enlightenment as the “software” of public culture make up the third principle. These values include freedom, equality, solidarity, the separation of Church and State, rule of law and the sovereignty of the people, De Wever notes.  

Principle number four is citizenship which, he stresses, “is not a paper rag that you offer to each and anyone as a welcoming gift.”

To acquire citizenship, you need to reside in the community for a certain time, know its language, prove that you participate in it. A “citizenship examination” ought to test whether these conditions are met. It must be capped by a ceremony in which the integration of the citizen as a new member of the community would be celebrated, according to the N-VA leader.

The Brussels Times

Latest news

Huge cannabis farm discovered inside closed down Chinese restaurant near Charleroi
A cannabis plantation with several hundred mature plants was dismantled on Friday evening in a former Chinese restaurant on Chaussée de Bruxelles ...
Citizen founded wind turbine project launched in Liège region
A citizen founded wind turbine project was inaugurated in the Liège Region on Saturday by Walloon Energy Minister Philippe Henry (Ecolo) together ...
Belgium to invest in sustainable heating in 2022
The federal government will set aside about one million euros in its 2022 budget for a social tariff for sustainable heating, Federal Energy Minister ...
Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...