English title: Does Belgium (still) exist? Differences in political culture between Flemings and Walloons

Author(s): Jaak Billiet - Bart Maddens - André-Paul Frognier -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2006


The emergence of two separate political systems in Belgium is the logical consequence of a gradual cultural and social divergence between Flanders and Wallonia. It is particularly in Flanders that Belgian nationhood is being put under pressure by a subnational identity. At the same time, there are still widespread emotional ties to Belgium, albeit stronger in Wallonia than in Flanders, that act as an important counterbalance to both the social and institutional centrifugal forces. Church involvement was traditionally higher in Flanders, but the stronger decline in the latter region has levelled off this difference. In both regions, the impact of pillarisation on voting behaviour is diminishing. As concerns the attitude towards foreigners, Flemings are more concerned about maintaining their own culture, while the Walloons are more concerned about the alleged economic and social threat. Other differences with regard to values exist, but are relatively small from a comparative perspective.

Volume: 29

Issue: 5

From page no: 912

To page no: 932

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1080/01402380600968802

Journal: West European Politics

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