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Flag of Flanders, named The Flemish Lion.

Flanders (Dutch: Vlaanderen) is the northern region of Belgium in which the predominant language is Dutch; the capital of the region is Brussels, although Brussels itself has an independent regional government, and the government of Flanders only oversees some cultural aspects of Brussels life. Other major towns and cities include Antwerp, Ghent, Bruges, Ostend and Mechelen. The Belgian capital, Brussels, is a separate bi-lingual region which forms an enclave within Flanders. Southern Belgium is occupied by the French-speaking region of Wallonia.

Flanders was the scene of very heavy fighting between Belgian/British/Canadian and German armies during the First World War, most notably during the three Battles of Ypres in 1914, 1915 and 1917. It was most memorably described by the Canadian war poet John McCrae (1872-1918) in 1915:

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep,
though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Flanders was president of the network of 73 regions with legislative powers in Europe in 2008 .[1]


The thriving international trade during the Middle Ages led to a natural openness towards other cultures that then gave Flanders its own rich and internationally oriented culture.

In the field of classical music, there were the Flemish Polyphonists, such as Josquin Desprez, then the Michelangelo of music, and Orlandus Lassus.

Flemish painting from that period reigned supreme and has now become a by-word in the worldwide history of art. Works of Flemish Primitives such as the Van Eyck brothers, Dirk Bouts, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling and Jeroen Bosch hang in the world's foremost museums. During the sixteenth and seventeenth century, succeeded the brilliant Pieter Bruegel, Pieter Paul Rubens and Antoon Van Dyck.[2]

See also


  1. Flanders is president of REGLEG (Tuesday 1 January 2008)
  2. Culture