High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Blood or Soil. A Stroll through Belgian Absurdistan
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Blood or Soil. A Stroll through Belgian Absurdistan

(Carl Devos) The Low Countries - 2006, № 14, pp. 115-120

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Belgium, a favourite haunt for lovers of the absurd, is hidden away on the edge of a political twilight zone. Belgium is a state that should not really exist. It is an experiment in wish-fulfilment; an artificial synthesis. Belgium is a no-man's land between fact and fiction, a ‘faction' if you will; a literary figment of the imagination. It is the cold turkey of pragmatism, the sophist's nirvana. In Belgium one can see the truth of Seneca's observation that ‘Nullum est vitium sine patrocinio', that there is no vice without patronage or influential support. Belgium has ended up in a vicious circle -- a spinning, centrifugal vicious circle at the centre of which lies the desire to secure land for one's own kith and kin. With several more decades of constitutional reform in prospect, one can only wonder what will be left of Belgium, or indeed what will be left for Belgium, the state with no citizens.

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