Dutch Foreign Policy since 1815: A Study in Small Power Politics

By Amry Vandenbosch | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV

RELATIONS WITH BELGIUM

MOVEMENTS FOR CLOSER RELATIONS

The relations between the Netherlands and Belgium after the separation in 1839 were much better than might, have been expected. Both peoples realized that a separate existence and development was the best for each, consequently the separation left no brooding hostility on either side. But neither did the relations between the two peoples develop any warmth, at least not until after 1936 when Belgium moved out of the French orbit in foreign politics and adopted the Dutch policy of neutrality and independent action. For a decade after World War I relations between the two countries were strained, for reasons that will appear later.

The fundamental differences in development between the two countries continued after 1839, though less sharply. Belgium, chiefly an industrial country, continued to develop her industries, but gradually also acquired commercial interests and a colonial empire. Holland, chiefly a commercial country, gradually developed industries as well. Belgium was an overwhelmingly Catholic country, but with the development of the modern secular spirit, the role of the Church in the national life diminished, while in the predominantly Protestant Netherlands Catholicism steadily played a larger role in the social, political and economic life of the country. It is true that more than half of the Belgian people were closely akin to the Dutch in language and culture, but until World War I the leaders of Belgian economic, cultural and political life were Walloons and Frenchified Flemish, whose cultural relations were all with France. The Dutch as a whole did not take much interest in the early struggle of the Flemish for cultural and political equality. The language community with the Flemish gave occasion for linguistic and literary congresses but had no appreciable effect on the political relations of the two countries.

-241-

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Dutch Foreign Policy since 1815: A Study in Small Power Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Contents vii
  • Chapter I 1
  • Chapter II 6
  • Chapter III 32
  • Chapter IV 44
  • Chapter V 57
  • Chapter VI 70
  • Chapter VII - THE NORTH SEA DECLARATION 89
  • Chapter VIII 101
  • Chapter IX 108
  • Chapter X 140
  • Chapter XI 149
  • Chapter XII 164
  • Chapter XIII 172
  • Chapter XIV 191
  • Chapter XV 217
  • Chapter XV 241
  • Chapter XVII - RELATIONS WITH GERMANY: FAILURE OF NEUTRALITY 271
  • Chapter XVIII 289
  • Index 313
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