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Greater Netherlands ( ) is a term used to describe parts or all of the Low Countries that certain political groups aspire to unite into a single polity. "Greater Netherlandsism" (Grootneerlandisme) is a term used to describe these aspirations.

One scenario includes a (re)unification of the Netherlandsmarker and Flanders, which can be thought of as a possible unitary state, a federation, or a confederation. Because this scenario would unite the Dutch people, the term Dietsland ("Dutchland'") is used to describe the unification. It uses the word "Diets," an archaic term for "Dutch." Another scenario, called "Whole-Netherlands" (Heel-Nederland) involves combining all the Low Countries as a single entity, the "Netherlands." Yet another form is contemporary Orangism which seeks the restoration of the Dutch royal family (House of Orange-Nassau) to the Low Countries.

Greater Netherlands proper

Narrowly, "Greater Netherlands" refers to the aspiration for the unification of the Netherlandsmarker and Flanders. The ideology, otherwise known as the "Dutch reunification", bases itself on the fact that the Dutch and Dutch-speaking Belgians (known as the Flemish) share a common history, culture, and language. It emphasizes that a new state unifying most of the Dutch speakers in Europe would create a more powerful political and economic bloc. Its supporters, especially in multilingual Belgium, also advocate that a monolingual state would prove to be less bureaucratic and more efficient. A union with Flanders has not been a political issue in the Netherlands and it is on the agenda of only a single political party, the right-wing PVV, but an August 21, 2007 poll indicates that 2/3 of the population would welcome union with Flanders. However, a (federal) union between Flanders and the Netherlands is not a popular option among the Flemish population. Given the difficulties experienced in forming a government following the 2007 Belgian elections, the likelihood of Flanders seceding from Belgium appears greater than before. The Vlaams Belang and N-VA parties are the primary advocates of secession in Belgian Flanders.

Greater Netherlandism is sometimes associated with the extreme right fascist organizations in both the Netherlands and Belgium, and the movement used part of the ideology and some of its symbols to achieve their own goals during World War II. Various moderate individual politicians have expressed their support for this particular ideology, including Domela Nieuwenhuis, Louis Tobback,Hugo Schiltz and Frits Bolkestein (to name a few).

Whole Netherlands

The "Whole Netherlands" (Heel-Nederland), otherwise known as the "Netherlandish reunification" is an ideology which desires the creation of a state comprising all of the historical Low Countries (not merely the Dutch-speaking areas). The main proposal involves uniting Belgiummarker (as a whole), Luxembourgmarker, and the Netherlandsmarker (which would be similar to the former United Kingdom of the Netherlands). Other versions include Northern France (preferably Nord-Pas de Calaismarker) and the formerly Dutch-speaking areas of Germanymarker, even going to the extreme of including South Africa.

This ideology is called "Whole-Netherlandism" (Heelneerlandisme), sometimes known as "Burgundicism" [Bourgondicisme] after the historical Burgundian Circle). Confusingly, the term is used by some groups such as Vlaams Belang to refer to linguistic Greater Netherlands (above) and not the wider uniting of all of the Low Countries.

Some Whole Netherlands organisations are:
  • Benev (Netherlands & Flanders)
  • De Pacificatielezingen vzw (Flanders)
  • Delta-Stichting (Flanders)
  • Open Orthodoxie/Bitter Lemon (Netherlands)
  • Het Pennoen (Flanders)
  • Die Roepstem (Flanders, the Netherlands & South Africa)
  • Voorpost (Netherlands & Flanders)
  • Werkgemeenschap de Lage Landen (Netherlands & Flanders)
  • Zannekin (Flanders)

Contemporary Orangism

From the 1980s, the term "Orangism" has been used to refer to Greater or Whole-Netherlands projects with a focus on the restoration of the Dutch royal family (House of Orange-Nassau) to the entire region. It should not be confused with the Orangism proper of the 19th century and earlier.

See also


  1. "Dutch Would Reunify with Belgium's Flanders." Angus Reid Global Monitor. 25 August 2007. Accessed 10 January 2008.

External links

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