High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

The Story of the First Belgian Revolution

The Story of the First Belgian Revolution

The United States of Belgium tells the story of the First Belgian Revolution before the creation of a language barrier between French and Dutch. The book gives new and comprehensive insights into the seminal events that shaped Belgian identity.

In 1790, between the birth of America (1776) and the creation of the French National Assembly (1789), nine provinces nestled between the French and Dutch borders declared themselves a new free and independent country: the United States of Belgium.

Before then, the provinces had been part of the vast Austrian Habsburg Empire ruled by Joseph II. In 1789 revolutionaries from Brussels to Ghent to Namur recruited a grass-roots army that, to the surprise of many, successfully chased imperial forces from the majority of the territories.

The exhilaration of military triumph and political independence quickly faded as revolutionary factions fought each other and the European monarchies became more nervous in the face of French radicalization. Yet, the course of events had fostered the solidification of a new identity among the provinces’ inhabitants: Belgianness.

This book, which incorporates over 50 contemporary images of the revolutionary era, is the story of the emergence of Belgianness in the crucible of revolution.

The United States of Belgium: The Story of the First Belgian Revolution is published by Leuven University Press.

Sign in

Register or sign in to read or purchase an article.


You are visiting this website through a public account.
This allows you to read all articles, but not buy any products.

Important to know

When you subscribe, you give permission for an automatic re-subscription. You can stop this at any time by contacting emma.reynaert@onserfdeel.be.