Club meeting of Wednesday, 11 July 2018
Venue: Het Goudblommeke in Papier / La Fleur en Papier Doré
Pre-meeting dinner starting 18:00
The current collective madness about the Belgian Red Devils’ exploits at the World Cup in Russia, demonstrates how Belgians stand united behind their national football team. But exactly how united do they stand behind their country? A country that is much more complicated when it comes to culture and identity than the Red Devils, a symbol that is as pure and simple as symbols should be.
In fact, it took the Belgians more than 150 years and six consitutional reforms to transform Belgium into a federal kingdom, an intricate compromise on the rights and competencies of its different communities. The result is a state structure that provides an expensive yet complicated equilibrium, admired in countries that have to deal with violent internal confrontations, and at the same time ridiculed by its own citizens for its alledged inefficiency.
Notwithstanding its internal differences, Belgium celebrates its unity on 21 July. But first, Flanders celebrates the 11th of July, the official Day of the Flemish Community. This day was chosen to commemorate of the Battle of Golden Spurs in 1302, which the Flemish won against a superior French army – or at least that was how budding Flemish nationalists framed the story in the 19th century . After all, every nation builds its identity on a shared mythology!
National identity remains a touchy subject in Belgium, even in times of collective football madness. However, the Artful Orators are not shy of touchy subjects. We try to deal with them in an elegant if not artful way, aiming to reach a deeper insight and a higher level of understanding. Join us on 11 July at Het Goudblommeke in Papier (or La Fleur en Papier Doré) in Brussels, the capital of Flanders… that is at the same time the capital of Europe, the capital of Belgium, and an officially bilingual region of its own, housing a patchwork of nationalities and cultures of which our club is a modest representation.
Expect the usual ingredients of an Artful Orators club meeting: advanced speech projects, an interactive workshop, a fun table topics session and of course lots of in-depth feedback. No matter which flag makes your heart beat faster, whether it be in politics or in football, we’d like to hear your story!