Is Beer the Only Thing Holding Belgium Together?

Apparently not. There’s also chocolate and a king.

But this article in the New York Times suggests that Belgium might be on course with a beer bust up – a national split up caused by petty ethnic hatreds. Radical Flemish separatists want to capitalize on the chaotic state of the current government (or lack thereof) and strike out on their own, leaving their Wallonian cousins to the South to fend for themselves.

Will Washington’s two Belgian Beer Knights be called to the battlefield? Bill Catron, of Brasserie Beck, and Dave Alexander of the Brickskeller and RFD are both inducted members of La Chevalerie du Fourquet des Brasseurs (the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mashstaff). The two belong to a phalanx of thirteen American knights of Belgian beer. This may be more important than it sounds. Quoting from the NYT article:

“We are two different nations, an artificial state created as a buffer between big powers, and we have nothing in common except a king, chocolate and beer,” said Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Bloc, the extreme-right, xenophobic Flemish party, in an interview. “It’s ‘bye-bye, Belgium’ time.”


2 Responses to Is Beer the Only Thing Holding Belgium Together?

  1. Stonch says:

    Did you hear about the fiasco last year when a Belgian TV channel ran fake coverage of a supposed Flemish declaration of independence? Lots of people were conned into believing it for a few hours, including some people in positions of authority!

    By the way – I have to say, I think “petty ethnic hatreds” is far too harsh a term to apply to the situation in Belgium! Having said that, some of the rhetoric from the Flemish nationalists is a bit rich for my tastes.

  2. beeractivist says:

    Stonch: I realize I was being strong-worded there but I really do think the differences are petty. The negative consequences of a break-up, compared to any possible gains, make cultural differences seem small – even petty. After all, as the article says, they’ve already got beer and chocolate in common. How much does anything else really matter?


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