The Flemish Identity : Nascent or Existent ?

  • Bart Kerremans orcid logo


The existence of a Flemish identity is a much debated issue in the Flanders.  Some deny its existence on the basis of a rejection of national identities all together. Others perceive it as just one variant of a Western European identity. Still others consider it, not as a identity on its own but as part of the Belgian identity. Whatever the outcome, the discussion itself seems to be restricted to a small elite. The general public in the Flanders is not interested in the issue and doesn't seem to identify itself with a Flemish identity. A small empirical research indicates however, that part of the Flemish politicians and journalists use this identity as a perspective on politics and society. For that reason, the Flemish identity seems to be a condition which is quite similar to the one attributed by Gellner to national identities in the nineteenth century. Isn't it better therefore, to talk about a nascent instead of an existent Flemish identity ?

How to Cite:

Kerremans, B., (1997) “The Flemish Identity : Nascent or Existent ?”, Res Publica 39(2), p.303-314. doi:

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Published on
29 Jun 1997
Peer Reviewed