|2 Nations on the Verge|
In the past, French-speakers have tended to dominate the national political scene and regarded their Dutch-speaking compatriots as hicks. This arrogance still rankles.
However in the '70s Wallonia's industrial base collapsed, and Flanders suddenly began to prosper in the new service-driven economy. The current unemployment rate in Wallonia is three times the rate in Flanders and there is some bitterness from the Walloons that the hicks are doing better than them.
It would be an extreme embarrassment to the EU (whose capital is in Brussels) should the country split along language lines. All in all this country is more exciting that anyone imagined especially if separatism kicks off in a big way.
Far away in deepest, darkest Wallonia once housed the original bastard-with-some-girls-in-his-basement, who went by the name of Marc Dutroux. The intense reaction of the Belgian people when it was found that some of Dutroux' customers had been part of failed inquests against him, nearly brought the government to its knees in the late nineties.
|The most exciting film to have ever come out of Belgium. Seriously|
Some Right wing Belgian parties actually want Flanders to become Dutch again (which it was 'till halfway through the nineteenth century). Frankly, most of the Dutch also consider the Flemish to be backward hicks who talk funny and wouldn't want them anyway. So they're stuffed either way.