2004
Volume 123, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0040-7518
  • E-ISSN: 2352-1163

Abstract

The case of the river Scheldt estuary shows well where identities and economic and other interests are complementary and where they are not. The new treaty on the Scheldt negotiated after World War I between Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as other issues concerning the river, revealed Belgium as a country with conflicting identities. During the first half of the twentieth century the conflict crystallized between the defenders of a Flemish linguistic and cultural identity and those of the French cultural dominance over the entire Belgian territory. This opposition extended to the formation of Flemish versus Walloon national consciousness. That conflict between diverse national agendas was joined by a Belgian tradition of localism and also (sub)regionalism, which, together with various economic interests, paradoxically rather strengthened Belgian unity by neutralizing the effect of a single division in public opinion.

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2010-11-01
2021-12-02
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  • Article Type: Research Article
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