Eighty Years' War
The Eighty Years War or Dutch War of Independence was a revolt of the Seventeen Provinces against the political and religious hegemony of Philip II of Spain, the sovereign of the Habsburg Netherlands. After the initial stages, Philip II deployed his armies and regained control over most of the rebelling provinces, under the leadership of the exiled William the Silent, the northern provinces continued their resistance. They eventually were able to oust the Habsburg armies, and in 1581 they established the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, after a 12-year truce, hostilities broke out again around 1619 which can be said to coincide with the Thirty Years War. An end was reached in 1648 with the Peace of Münster, in the decades preceding the war, the Dutch became increasingly discontented with Habsburg rule. A major cause of discontent was heavy taxation imposed on the population, while support. At that time, the Seventeen Provinces were known in the empire as De landen van herwaarts over, the presence of Spanish troops, under the command of the Duke of Alba, brought in to oversee order, further amplified this unrest.
Spain attempted a policy of religious uniformity for the Catholic Church within its domains. The Reformation meanwhile produced a number of Protestant denominations, which gained followers in the Seventeen Provinces and these included the Lutheran movement of Martin Luther, the Anabaptist movement of the Dutch reformer Menno Simons, and the Reformed teachings of John Calvin. This growth lead to the 1566 Beeldenstorm, the Iconoclastic Fury which saw many churches in northern Europe stripped of their Catholic statuary, in October 1555, Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire began the gradual abdication of his several crowns. The balance of power was heavily weighted toward the local and regional governments, Philip did not govern in person but appointed Emmanuel Philibert, Duke of Savoy as governor-general to lead the central government. When Philip left for Spain in 1559 political tension was increased by religious policies, not having the liberal-mindedness of his father Charles V, Philip was a fervent enemy of the Protestant movements of Martin Luther, John Calvin, and the Anabaptists.
Towards the end of Charles reign enforcement had become lax. Philip, insisted on rigorous enforcement, which caused widespread unrest, the new hierarchy was to be headed by Granvelle as archbishop of the new archdiocese of Mechelen. The reform was unpopular with the old church hierarchy, as the new dioceses were to be financed by the transfer of a number of rich abbeys. Granvelle became the focus of the opposition against the new governmental structures, after the recall of Granvelle, Orange persuaded Margaret and the Council to ask for a moderation of the placards against heresy. Philip delayed his response, and in this interval the opposition to his religious policies gained more widespread support, Philip finally rejected the request for moderation in his Letters from the Segovia Woods of October 1565. This Compromise of Nobles was supported by about 400 nobles, both Catholic and Protestant, and was presented to Margaret on 5 April 1566, impressed by the massive support for the compromise, she suspended the placards, awaiting Philips final ruling.
The first half of the Eighty Years War between the Spanish Empire and the Dutch Republic was fought between 1566 and 1609, when the Twelve Years Truce was signed in 1609, ending this first phase of war, the northern Netherlands had achieved de facto independence
Arrondissements of Belgium
Arrondissements of Belgium are subdivisions below the provinces of Belgium. There are administrative and electoral arrondissements and these may or may not relate to identical geographical areas. The 43 administrative arrondissements are a level between the municipalities and the provinces. Brussels-Capital forms a single arrondissement for all 19 municipalities in the region by that name, Belgium had 27 judicial arrondissements until April 1,2014. Until 1999 the electoral districts for the election of the parliaments were electoral arrondissements, the arrondissement of Brussels-Capital is not part of any province and consequently forms its own electoral district
West Flanders is the most western province of the Flemish Region, named Flanders, in Belgium. It borders on the Netherlands, the Flemish province of East Flanders and the Walloon province of Hainaut in Belgium, on France, other important cities are Kortrijk in the south and Ostend on the coast and Ypres. The province has an area of 3,125 km² which is divided into eight administrative districts containing 64 municipalities, the North Sea coast of Belgium, an important tourism destination, lies in West Flanders. A tram line runs the length of the coast, from De Panne on the French border to Knokke-Heist on the Dutch border, West Flanders consists of the North Sea coast, followed by a very flat polder landscape. Only in the south are some hills, with the Kemmelberg being the highest point in the province. The Leie and IJzer are the main rivers, West Flanders is the only Belgian province that borders both France and The Netherlands. In the north of the province, most industry is concentrated in and around the cities of Bruges, both cities have important seaports, the port of Bruges-Zeebrugge and the port of Ostend.
The south is known for its industry, with companies such as Beaulieu. The region around Kortrijk is called the Dallas of Belgium for its entrepreneurship, tourism is an important industry in West Flanders. Major touristic attractions include the Belgian coast, the center of Bruges, and Flanders Fields. The region has a distinct dialect of Dutch called West Flemish. This distinctive dialect is a part of the sense of identity of the inhabitants of the region. The city of Bruges has one playing at the highest level of football in Belgium. With Cercle Brugge it has one playing in the Belgian First Division B. Other cities with teams playing at the highest level are Kortrijk, the teams Knack Randstad Roeselare and Prefaxis Menen play in the highest volleyball league. Knack Randstad Roeselare plays in the CEV Champions League, the European Championsleague, BC Oostende is a basketball team which plays in the major basketball league of Belgium. The Province of West Flanders is divided into 4 judicial arrondissements, municipalities that have city status have a behind their name.
Official website of the Province of West Flanders
The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is simply referred to as Flanders. It occupies the part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,522 km2. It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 470 inhabitants per square kilometer, immediately after its establishment in 1980, the region transferred all its constitutional competencies to the Flemish Community. Thus, the current Flemish authorities represent all the Flemish people, the Flemish Region is governed by the Flemish Community institutions. However, members of the Flemish Community parliament elected in the Brussels-Capital Region have no right to vote on Flemish regional affairs, the Flemish Region comprises five provinces, each consisting of administrative arrondissements that, in turn, contain municipalities. Brussels city, the seat of the Flemish parliament, is located within the Brussels-Capital Region, Brussels contains both the Flemish Community and the French Community, both having their institutions in Brussels.
Flanders is home to a modern economy, with emphasis put on research. Many enterprises work closely with local knowledge and research centres to develop new products, De Lijn serves as the main public transport company, run by the Flemish government. It consists of buses and trams, TEC is the equivalent company in Wallonia, and MIVB-STIB in Brussels. The railway network run by the NMBS, however, is a federal responsibility, the Flemish government is responsible for about 500 kilometers of regional roads and about 900 kilometers of highways in the territory of the Flemish Region. Other types of roads are roads and municipal roads. Approximately 5,500,000 people live in the area, the official language is Dutch, sometimes colloquially referred to as Flemish. The main dialect groups include West Flemish, East Flemish, French may be used for certain administrative purposes in a limited number of the so-called municipalities with language facilities around the Brussels-Capital Region and on the border with Wallonia.
Rim municipalities are Drogenbos, Linkebeek, Sint-Genesius-Rode, Brussels was originally a Dutch-speaking city, but it was frenchified in the 19th and 20th century and is now largely French-speaking. A few municipalities in the Flemish agglomeration of Brussels are now frenchified, municipalities with language facilities on the border with Wallonia are Bever, Mesen, Spiere-Helkijn, Voeren. Communities and regions of Belgium Provinces of regions in Belgium De Vlaamse Leeuw Count of Flanders Flanders Flemish Flemish authorities, toerisme Vlaanderen French Flanders Frans-Vlaanderen The Flemish region reaches 6 million inhabitants
Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a sovereign state in Western Europe bordered by France, the Netherlands, Germany and the North Sea. It is a small, densely populated country which covers an area of 30,528 square kilometres and has a population of about 11 million people. Additionally, there is a group of German-speakers who live in the East Cantons located around the High Fens area. Historically, the Netherlands and Luxembourg were known as the Low Countries, the region was called Belgica in Latin, after the Roman province of Gallia Belgica. From the end of the Middle Ages until the 17th century, Belgium is a federal constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary system of governance. It is divided into three regions and three communities, that exist next to each other and its two largest regions are the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders in the north and the French-speaking southern region of Wallonia. The Brussels-Capital Region is a bilingual enclave within the Flemish Region. A German-speaking Community exists in eastern Wallonia, Belgiums linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of governance, made up of six different governments.
Upon its independence, declared in 1830, Belgium participated in the Industrial Revolution and, during the course of the 20th century, possessed a number of colonies in Africa. This continuing antagonism has led to several far-reaching reforms, resulting in a transition from a unitary to a federal arrangement during the period from 1970 to 1993. Belgium is a member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD and WTO. Its capital, hosts several of the EUs official seats as well as the headquarters of major international organizations such as NATO. Belgium is a part of the Schengen Area, Belgium is a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy and is categorized as very high in the Human Development Index. A gradual immigration by Germanic Frankish tribes during the 5th century brought the area under the rule of the Merovingian kings, a gradual shift of power during the 8th century led the kingdom of the Franks to evolve into the Carolingian Empire. Many of these fiefdoms were united in the Burgundian Netherlands of the 14th and 15th centuries, the Eighty Years War divided the Low Countries into the northern United Provinces and the Southern Netherlands.
The latter were ruled successively by the Spanish and the Austrian Habsburgs and this was the theatre of most Franco-Spanish and Franco-Austrian wars during the 17th and 18th centuries. The reunification of the Low Countries as the United Kingdom of the Netherlands occurred at the dissolution of the First French Empire in 1815, although the franchise was initially restricted, universal suffrage for men was introduced after the general strike of 1893 and for women in 1949. The main political parties of the 19th century were the Catholic Party, French was originally the single official language adopted by the nobility and the bourgeoisie
Siege of Ostend
The Siege of Ostend was a three-year siege of the city of Ostend during the Eighty Years War and the Anglo–Spanish War. A Spanish force under Archduke Albrecht besieged the fortress being held initially by a Dutch force which was reinforced by English troops under Francis Vere who became the towns governor and it was said the Spanish assailed the unassailable, the Dutch defended the indefensible. The commitment of both sides in the dispute over the only Dutch ruled area in the province of Flanders and this resulted in one of the longest and bloodiest sieges in world history, more than 100,000 people were killed, wounded or succumbed to disease during the siege. Ostend was resupplied via the sea and as a result held out for three years, a garrison did a tour of duty before being replaced by fresh troops, normally 3,000 at a time keeping casualties and disease to a minimum. The siege consisted of a number of assaults by the Spanish, after suffering heavy losses the Spanish had replaced the Archduke with Ambrosio Spinola and the siege settled down to one of attrition with the strong points gradually being taken one at a time.
Ostend was eventually captured by the Spanish on 20 September 1604, but the city was completely destroyed, in 1568, during the reign of Philip II of Spain, the Netherlands, until under the rule of the Spanish Empire, took up arms against the Spanish crown. The first phase of the war began with two unsuccessful invasions of the provinces by mercenary armies under Prince William I of Orange and foreign-based raids by the Geuzen or Sea Beggars. By the end of 1573 the Beggars had captured the bulk of the provinces of Holland and Zeeland as well as converted the populace to Calvinism, the other provinces joined in the revolt in 1576, and a general union was formed. In 1579 the union was weakened by the defection of the Roman Catholic Walloon provinces. In 1599 the Archduke Albert of Austria and Isabel Clara Eugenia, by 1600 Maurice of Nassau was stadtholder and Johan van Oldenbarnevelt was Grand pensionary of the States General of the Netherlands. In 1601 Spain now under King Philip III with his favourite the Duke of Lerma despite maintaining its hegemony in the world, was weakened with war.
Spain had only just finished a costly and unsuccessful war with France, the wars were a great burden for the Spanish Empire and meant that financially Spain depended entirely on the treasure fleet brought from the colonies. Nevertheless, Philip pursued a highly aggressive set of policies, aiming to deliver a victory against both Holland and England. The situation of the United Provinces was similar, more than thirty years of war, the Dutch tried to relieve their precarious finances by commercially expanding into the East Indies with the birth of the Dutch East India Company. England were in the position and were fighting now in Ireland. Like the Dutch they too had just set up their own East India Company and this never happened however as disputes in the Dutch command meant that taking Spanish occupied cities in the rest of the Netherlands took over priority as the opportunity arose. Maurice concurred and had his forces evacuated by sea leaving Ostend to be preoccupied by the Spanish, founded five hundred years ago, the city of Ostend in the mid-16th century was a fishing village of about 3,000 inhabitants.
In the view of the State of Flanders, Ostend in the hands of the Protestant Dutch, Ostend unlike other places in the Netherlands had never been taken by the Spanish and the garrison had even repelled an attack by Parma in 1583
Open Vlaamse Liberalen en Democraten
Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats, commonly known as Open Vld or simply as the VLD, is a liberal and conservative-liberal Flemish political party in Belgium. The party was created in 1992 from the former Party for Freedom and Progress, the party led the government for three cabinets under Guy Verhofstadt from 1999 until March 2008. Open VLD most recently formed the Federal Government with N-VA, CD&V, in the Flemish Parliament, the VLD formed a coalition government with sp. a-Spirit and Christian Democratic and Flemish from after the 2004 regional election until the 2009 regional election. Ideologically, Open VLD started as a liberal, somewhat Thatcherite party under its founder. The VLD rapidly became more centrist and gave up much of its free market approach, Party chairman Bart Somers called in November 2006 for a revolution within the party, saying that a liberal party, like the VLD, can be only progressive and social. Several of its thinkers such as Boudewijn Bouckaert, president of Nova Civitas, in 2004 the VLD teamed up with the minority social-liberal party Vivant for both the Flemish and European elections.
VLD-Vivant lost the elections to arch rivals CD&V and the Flemish Bloc, the VLD fell from second to third place among the Flemish political parties, slipping narrowly behind the sp. a-Spirit cartel. Internal feuds, the support for electoral rights for immigrants and an economic policy were seen as the main reasons for its election defeat. From 2007 the party kept having electoral difficulties, first due to competition from split-off List Dedecker and after 2010 from the liberal-conservative Flemish-nationalist party N-VA, under the presidency of current chairwoman Gwendolyn Rutten the Open-Vld took on a more rightwing socio-economic course again. As such the party is the oldest political party of Belgium. In 1846, Walthère Frère-Orban succeeded in creating a program which could unite several liberal groups into one party. Before 1960, the Liberal Party of Belgium was barely organised, the school pact of 1958, as a result of which the most important argument for the traditional anti-clericalism was removed, gave the necessary impetus for a thorough renewal.
During the liberal party congress of 1961, the Liberal Party was reformed into the bilingual Party for Freedom and Progress and it is a central principle of Classical Liberalism that employers and employees do NOT have opposed long term interests. In the late 1960s and the early 1970s, the tensions between the different communities in Belgium rose and there were disagreements within the movement as well. In 1972, the unitary PVV-PLP was split into separate a Flemish, willy De Clercq became the first chairman of the independent Party of Freedom and Progress. De Clercq, together with Frans Grootjans and Herman Vanderpoorten, set out the lines for the new party and this reform was coupled an Ethical Congress, on which the PVV adopted very progressive and tolerant stances regarding abortion, adultery and gender equality. In 1982, the 29-year-old reformer Guy Verhofstadt became the chairman of the party, Annemie Neyts succeeded him as chairman, becoming the first female party chairman. In 1989, Verhofstadt once more became the chairman of the PVV, in 1992, the PVV was reformed into the Flemish Liberals and Democrats under the impulse of Verhofstadt
West Flemish is a dialect of the Dutch language spoken in western Belgium and adjoining parts of the Netherlands and France. Some of the cities where West Flemish is widely spoken are Bruges, Ostend, Roeselare. The dialects of the rest of the Dutch province of Zeeland, are included in West Flemish. West Flemish is listed as a language in UNESCOs online Red Book of Endangered Languages. West Flemish phonology differs a lot from the standard Dutch phonology, the best known are the velar fricatives g and ch in Dutch, being realised as glottal h -, and the overall lack of diphthongs compared to Dutch. The following differences are listed by their Dutch spelling, as different letters have evolved to the same sound in Dutch. Pronunciations can differ a bit from region to region, sch - /sx/ is realised as, or. Ei - /ɛi/ is realised as or, ij - /ɛi/ is realised as. Au - /ʌu/ is realised as ou - /ʌu/ is realised as, it resembles a lot the long oe that is used in Dutch. Ie - /i/ is more stressed towards aa - /aː/ is realised as, due to the non-existent /x/ and /ɣ/ sounds in West Flemish, native speakers of the dialect have to concentrate a lot to pronounce these sounds.
This often results in hyper-correction of the /h/ sounds to a /x/ or /ɣ/, the Dutch language has many words with an -en suffix. While standard Dutch and most Dutch dialects dont pronounce the final n, West Flemish typically drops the e, for base words already ending with n, the final n sound is often prolonged to make the suffix clear. This mute-e is similar to many English words, listen, the short o in words can be pronounced as a short u. This happens spontaneously on some words, but other words keep their original short o sounds, the short a can turn into a short o in some words without apparent reason. The diftong ui doesnt exist in West Flemish, and is pronounced as a u or a long ie. Similar to the ui, the o can turn into an on some words. This transition often shows similarities with English and this phenomenon is shared with the Lower Saxon Germanic dialects, and even more prominent in English. Under influence of Standard Dutch, the number of people that uses the -s suffix for the form on these words diverging from Dutch is diminishing
Groen (political party)
Groen, founded as Agalev, is a political party in Belgium based on green politics. Groen is often the smallest Flemish party with a representation in the federal, regional or European parliament and its French-speaking equivalent is Ecolo, both parties maintain close relations with each other. Many of the founders of political party Agalev came from or were inspired by the social movement Agalev and this movement was founded by the Jesuit Luc Versteylen, who had founded the environmental movement Agalev in the 1970s. Core values of social movement were quiet and soberness. This movement combined progressive Catholicism with environmentalism and it sought to spread environmental consciousness first on a small scale, but since 1973 it took action to protect the environment and promote environmental consciousness. In the 1974 and 1977 elections Agalev supported several candidates from traditional parties, in 1977 the movement entered the elections in several municipalities not to gain seats, but to promote its ideals.
In reaction to these promises, a debate erupted within Agalev on whether to set up a political party or to remain independent of politics. In the same year the party contested several elections to no avail. A national level Agalev Working Group was founded to coordinate the new party and it set up a separate association that could enter in elections. It participated in the 1979 European elections, although the party won 2. 3% of the votes, it won no seats. In the 1981 election the party won 4% of vote and two seats in the Chamber of Representatives and one in the Senate, the Walloon green party won two seats in the Chamber and three seats in the Senate. The political party Agalev was officially founded in 1982 and it remained separate of the social movement. Prominent members of the movement Agalev, such as founder Versteylen chose not to join the political party Agalev, in the municipal elections of 1982 the party performed particularly well winning more than 10% in several municipalities. In its first periods in parliament the party functioned as a protest party forcing the other parties to take action against environmental pollution.
The party campaigned on environmental issues, such as local anti-nuclear energy protests. The party won two seats in the 1985 elections, two additional seats in 1987 and one in 1991, in that year it won seven seats in parliament. Agalev had become a political partner for other parties. In 1992 Agalev was asked to support a change called the Sint-Michiels accords
The North Sea is a marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean located between Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and France. An epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the ocean through the English Channel in the south and it is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of around 570,000 square kilometres. The North Sea has long been the site of important European shipping lanes as well as a major fishery, the North Sea was the centre of the Vikings rise. Subsequently, the Hanseatic League, the Netherlands, and the British each sought to dominate the North Sea and thus the access to the markets, as Germanys only outlet to the ocean, the North Sea continued to be strategically important through both World Wars. The coast of the North Sea presents a diversity of geological and geographical features, in the north, deep fjords and sheer cliffs mark the Norwegian and Scottish coastlines, whereas in the south it consists primarily of sandy beaches and wide mudflats.
Due to the population, heavy industrialization, and intense use of the sea and area surrounding it. In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean, in the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively. In the north it is bordered by the Shetland Islands, and connects with the Norwegian Sea, the North Sea is more than 970 kilometres long and 580 kilometres wide, with an area of 570,000 square kilometres and a volume of 54,000 cubic kilometres. Around the edges of the North Sea are sizeable islands and archipelagos, including Shetland, the North Sea receives freshwater from a number of European continental watersheds, as well as the British Isles. A large part of the European drainage basin empties into the North Sea including water from the Baltic Sea, the largest and most important rivers flowing into the North Sea are the Elbe and the Rhine – Meuse watershed.
Around 185 million people live in the catchment area of the rivers discharging into the North Sea encompassing some highly industrialized areas, for the most part, the sea lies on the European continental shelf with a mean depth of 90 metres. The only exception is the Norwegian trench, which extends parallel to the Norwegian shoreline from Oslo to a north of Bergen. It is between 20 and 30 kilometres wide and has a depth of 725 metres. The Dogger Bank, a vast moraine, or accumulation of unconsolidated glacial debris and this feature has produced the finest fishing location of the North Sea. The Long Forties and the Broad Fourteens are large areas with uniform depth in fathoms. These great banks and others make the North Sea particularly hazardous to navigate, the Devils Hole lies 200 miles east of Dundee, Scotland. The feature is a series of trenches between 20 and 30 kilometres long,1 and 2 kilometres wide and up to 230 metres deep. Other areas which are less deep are Cleaver Bank, Fisher Bank, the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the North Sea as follows, On the Southwest
Antwerp is a city in Belgium, the capital of Antwerp province in the region of Flanders. With a population of 510,610, it is the most populous city proper in Belgium and its metropolitan area houses around 1,200,000 people, which is second behind Brussels. Antwerp is on the River Scheldt, linked to the North Sea by the Westerschelde estuary, the Port of Antwerp is one of the biggest in the world, ranking second in Europe and within the top 20 globally. Antwerp has long been an important city in the Low Countries, the inhabitants of Antwerp are nicknamed Sinjoren, after the Spanish honorific señor or French seigneur, referring to the Spanish noblemen who ruled the city in the 17th century. The city hosted the 1920 Summer Olympics, according to folklore, notably celebrated by a statue in front of the town hall, the city got its name from a legend about a giant called Antigoon who lived near the Scheldt river. He exacted a toll from passing boatmen, and for those who refused, he severed one of their hands, eventually the giant was killed by a young hero named Silvius Brabo, who cut off the giants own hand and flung it into the river.
Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan, a longstanding theory is that the name originated in the Gallo-Roman period and comes from the Latin antverpia. Antverpia would come from Ante Verpia, indicating land that forms by deposition in the curve of a river. Note that the river Scheldt, before a period between 600 and 750, followed a different track. This must have coincided roughly with the current ringway south of the city, many historians think it unlikely that there was a large settlement which would be named Antverpia, but more something like an outpost with a river crossing. However, John Lothrop Motley argues, and so do a lot of Dutch etymologists and historians, aan t werp is possible. This warp is a hill or a river deposit, high enough to remain dry at high tide. Another word for werp is pol hence polders, historical Antwerp allegedly had its origins in a Gallo-Roman vicus. Excavations carried out in the oldest section near the Scheldt, 1952–1961, produced pottery shards, the earliest mention of Antwerp dates from the 4th century.
In the 4th century, Antwerp was first named, having been settled by the Germanic Franks, the name was reputed to have been derived from anda and werpum. The Merovingian Antwerp was evangelized by Saint Amand in the 7th century, at the end of the 10th century, the Scheldt became the boundary of the Holy Roman Empire. Antwerp became a margraviate in 980, by the German emperor Otto I, in the 11th century Godfrey of Bouillon was for some years known as the marquis of Antwerp. In the 12th century, Norbert of Xanten established a community of his Premonstratensian canons at St. Michaels Abbey at Caloes