|County of Flanders|
Graafschap van VlaanderenTimeline: Scotland says "Yes"
OTL equivalent: Flanders
De Vlaamse Leeuw
|Other cities||Hasselt, Ghent, Leuven, Bruges|
|Government||Federal Constitutional Monarchy|
|-||Prime Minister||Geert Bourgeois|
|-||Recognition and Dissolution of Belgium||2015|
|-||Total|| 32,108 km2
12,397 sq mi
|GDP (nominal)||2004 estimate|
|Time zone||CET (UTC+1)|
|-||Summer (DST)||CEST (UTC+2)|
|Drives on the||Right|
Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen), officially the County of Flanders (Dutch: Graafschap Vlaanderen) is a sovereign state in former region of Belgium, which declared its independence in 2015; it gained official recognition later that year with the dissolution of Belgium.
It borders the North Sea to its North-West, the Netherlands to its North and East and the French province of Wallonia to the south, as well as the independent enclave of Brussels within Brabant, and its own external exclaves iof Baarle-Hertog within the Netherlands, and Voeren between the Netherlands and France.
Created in the year 862 as a feudal fiefdom in West Francia, the County of Flanders was divided when its western districts fell under French rule in the late 12th century, with the remaining parts coming under various other rulers until the western districts of Flanders finally came under French rule under successive treaties in 1659, 1668 and 1678. During the late Middle Ages Flanders' trading towns, particularly Ghent, Bruges and Ypres, made it one of the richest and most urbanized parts of Europe, especially with its renowned cloth trade. As a consequence, a very sophisticated culture developed, with major achievements in the arts and architecture, rivaling those of Italy.
Increasingly powerful from the 12th century, the territory defeated several French annexation attempts. However, in 1304 Flanders came under the French Crown, leading to Flemish prosperity waning. In 1500, Charles V was born in Ghent. He inherited the Seventeen Provinces (1506), Spain and its colonies (1516), and in 1519 was elected Holy Roman Emperor; in 1549 he established the Low Countries as the Seventeen Provinces, separating it from Holy Rome and France.
As Calvinism spread in Flanders, Philip II, a devout Catholic, suppressed the Reformation in Flnaders, Brabant and Holland. However, this soon lead to revolt. Whilst Spanish troops quickly started fighting the rebels, before it could be defeated war broke out between England and Spain, forcing Phili['s Spanish troops to halt their advance. Whilst much of the south came under Spanish control, rebels from the north, strengthened by refugees from the south, started to reclaim areas in the south, before being stopped by Spanish troops. The front line at the end of this war stabilized, and became the current border between Flanders and the Netherlands.
The 1830 Belgian Revolution led to the confirmation of an independent Belgium. However, this was not well supported in Flanders, and Flanders originally refused to take orders from the Belgian government. The French-speaking bourgeoisie showed little respect for the Dutch-speaking part of the population, and French became the only official language.
Flanders, and Belgium as a whole, saw some of the greatest loss of life on the Western Front of the First World War. Flemish feeling of identity and consciousness grew through the war; the occupying German authorities took several Flemish-friendly measures, whilst most Belgian officers only spoke French. After the second occupation during World War II, differences rose between the French and Dutch speakers in Belgium, with many advocating Flemish autonomy, or even independence. This resulted in the establishment of the Flemish Parliament and Government.
See also: Partition of Belgium
Even before Scotland gained its independence, Flanders was a long-time proponent of becoming independent from Belgium. Due to the great cultural differences between Dutch-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia, Belgium was likely to split apart at some time.
In 2015, Flemish independence again began to be prominent after Scotland successfully secured independence. During late February, rallies, and some riots, began in Flanders, in favour of Flemish Independence. In an attempt to appease them, the devolved Flemish government promised a referendum, and on the 23rd the Belgian government announced a referendum, to be held on the 11th April. Despite calls for unity from Belgian PM Charles Michel on the 10th, the referendum came out in favour of independence.
On the 3rd May, Belgian, Flemish and Walloon representatives met in Brussels discuss the future, with representatives from the German-Speaking Community arriving on the 18th, and EU, French and German diplomats on the 16th.
Ultimately, they decided to dissolve the Belgian state. Brussels would become an independent city-state, while the German-speaking community in far eastern Wallonia would join Germany. The Walloon province of Luxembourg would be ceded to the country of Luxembourg. The rest of Wallonia, the French-speaking community, would become an integral province of France.
Inheriting the Monarchy
It was agreed for Flanders to inherit the Belgian monarchy rather than Brussels, ruling that an independent Brussels should remain a republic as the capital of the EU. Phillipe of Belgium was crowned in Antwerp as Phillipe, Count of Flanders. The Flemish monarchy is currently the only remaining monarchy where the monarch goes by the title of Count.
Government and Politics
The Flemish Parliament is a directly elected legislative body composed of 124 representatives.
The major Flemish Political Parties are:
- Christian Democratic and Flemish (CD&V) (Centre-Right)
- Groen (Green)
- Libertarian, Direct, Democratic (LDD) (Right)
- New Flemish Alliance (N-VA) (Centre-right)
- Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats (Open VLd) (Centre-right)
- Socialist Party - Differently (sp.a) (Centre-left)
- Vlaams Belang (Right-wing to Far-right)
With the dissolution of the Belgian state, the vast majority of the navy went to Flanders, as the only successor state with a coastline (a small number of ships went to France). Personnel from the remaining forces were separated to their nation of origin, whilst equipment was generally distributed depending on population and GDP. As the state with highest population and GDP, Flanders ended up with the largest army and air force as well.
Flanders is a member of NATO.
Flanders shares its borders with France in the south, the Netherlands to the North and East and the English Channel to the West.
Flanders is a highly urbanised area, lying completely within the Blue Banana, with the cities of Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges and Lueven as the largest cities.
Flanders, covering 3522 km² (5221 sq mi), is divided into five provinces, 22 arrondissements and 308 cities and municipalities.
|Province||Capital||Administrative arrondissements||Municipalities||Area||Population (density)|
|Antwerp (Antwerpen)||Antwerp, Mechelen, Turnhout||70||2867 km²||
|Limburg||Hasselt||Hasselt, Maaseik, Tongeren||44||2414 km²||860,204 (356/km²)|
|Aalst, Dendermonde, Eeklo, Ghent, Oudenaarde, Sint-Niklass||65||2106 km²||1,114,229 (529/km²)|
|Flemish Brabant (Vlaams-Brabant)||Leuven||Halle-Vilvoorde, Leuven||65||2106 km²||1,114,299 (529/km²)|
|West Flanders (West-Vlaanderen)||Bruges (Brugge)||Bruges, Diksmuide, Ypres, Kortrijk, Ostend, Roeselare, Tielt, Veurne||64||3125 km²||1,178,996 (377/km²)|
Flanders enjoys a maritime temperate climate, with significant precipitation throughout the year.
The Total GDP of Flanders in 2014 was €165,847. The Flemish economy is strongly export-oriented, specifically in machinery, rough diamonds, petroleum, chemicals, clothing and textiles. Antwerp is the number one diamond in the world.
Flag and Coat of Arms
The flag of Flanders is called the Vlaamse Leeuw ("Flemish Lion") or leeuwenvlag ("Lion flag"). In its current form, it was officialy adopted in 1973 for the Belgian region of Flanders. The flag of Flanders is described as Or, a lion rampant armed and langued Gules. Various variants exist, including that of the flag of the Nord department of France.
The Coat of Arms is the same as the region of East Flanders. A more simple escutcheon was originally used, but after independence there was a movement to change it, to reflect the independent nature. Whilst some advocated using the Coat of Arms of the former 918-1405 County of Flanders, and some advocated adapting the existing Belgian arms, it was decided to use that of East Flanders.