Thursday, July 21, 2011

Belgian National Holiday

Today is the Belgian National Holiday. I am thrilled that all my national holidays are in the same month. America, Flanders and Belgium. Flanders is the Historic region and language community of Belgium where I am from. The language is Dutch and the history goes back before Roman times. Belgium on the other hand is a rather young nation. We won our independence from the Netherlands in 1830 and decided we wanted to be a democracy, but also a kingdom, not a republic. So we chose Leopold of Saksen Coburgh to be our king. He came from a long aristocratic family and was the uncle of the later Queen Victoria of England. On July 21st the King swore the oath to the constitution in parliament.

Currently in Belgium the different communities are arguing, about money, about who has the right to decide what, and who has the right to be elected where. That is why, a year after the elections, we still do not have a new government. Things go on as usual, but no new laws can be made. A year is too long. Like in the US, both parties feel they can absolutely not budge on certain issues and the people are becoming inpatient with their politicians who can't seem to solve problems. But of course they also do not want 'their' politicians to give in.

Despite all that, or maybe because of all the pressures from within, some Belgians start to develop a new appreciation for their country. Coming to American has taught me a lot. It also taught me to show my appreciation for my homeland more openly and enthusiastically.

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