Belgen mensen zijn niet chauvinistisch.

Belgen mensen zijn niet chauvinistisch  – when I first heard this phrase I thought it meant that Belgians aren’t chauvinists. I was confused, making the immediate association with male chauvinists. As obvious as this phrase sounds when converted straight into English, there’s a certain context here. It has nothing what-so-ever to do with women, bras, holding doors open for the ladies or employment ethics.

Correctly translated, the phrase means “Belgians are not patriotic”. Perhaps I still have a tainted foreigner’s view, but I find this phrase false or at least incomplete and misleading. I think the phrase should be elaborated on such: “Belgians are not patriotic like Americans.”

I think Belgians are deeply and privately patriotic but in a different, unique way.

Have you seen how the government’s made up? The general view of Belgians as far as I’ve been able to establish is that it’s a contrived or invented country with a royal family that had nothing or nowhere else to rule. This is mostly true, but it doesn’t make it any less legitimate as a country! As the lovely Mrs. Black so eloquently pointed out, it’s the chummy of Europe.

More explanation required? Yes, I think so. A chummy is a colloquialism for a friend where we’re originally from. A chummy is also the colloquial name for the useless (but very important) piece of meat that keeps your bum and fun parts apart. Without the chummy, your fun parts wouldn’t be that fun now would they? So yes, a chummy is completely useless and incredibly important!

Yes. Belgium is the chummy, the no-man’s-land of all those feuding, boiling lands in Europe. It divides and puts safe distance between Germany, France, The Netherlands and even though there’s a body of water to divide us from England, Belgium still seems to be a buffer of sorts to this land too.

A patriotic Belgian it seems!

A patriotic Belgian it seems!

So after this brief and cynical history lesson, let’s get to the Belgians. Most of them don’t know their national anthem. There’s the case of our Prime Minister, Elio Di Rupo, breaking into a lovely rendition of the French national anthem when asked to sing the Belgian one.

Most Belgians I’ve come across do not see any function for the Belgian Royal Family or the King. There is one Belgian who I believe did have an explanation – my Inburgering’s lerares.

She taught me that the king is the glue that keeps the political leaders of all the political parties and groups talking to each other. He is the mediator and the man who keeps the disagreeing political parties wheeling, dealing and compromising. He is also the man who signs all the (finally) agreed upon laws into power.

There are those Belgians that are chauvinistic about the royal family. Here’s proof.

A little royals shrine in a window.

A little royals shrine in a window.

As much as Belgian’s aren’t patriotic about Belgium, ask them about the piece of Belgium they’re living in and it’s a WHOLE different story! The Flanders (the Flemish that live in the north of Belgium and speak Flemish or Belgian Nederlands) consider themselves far superior to the Wallonian Belgians living in the South of Belgium and who speak French. Actually most Flanders don’t even consider Wallonia residences to be Belgian!

The Application:

I don’t know the French National Anthem and I’m not about to break into a rendition of the Belgian National Anthem because like our Prime Minister, I don’t know it!

I find it difficult to dislike my King and royal family or even be indifferent to them. I will therefore keep my tongue and try to keep my opinions to myself thereby portraying an air of indifference.

Inside I’ll love and cuddle them.

I will be (and am by blood as my mother was born and raised in Ardooie) , my emblem will be the lion of Vlanders and not the rooster of Wallonia.

Vlanderen Lion

Tot gauw.