European powers in the 19th century not only created artificial “nations” in Africa, they also created one in Europe named Belgium which was put together by combining Dutch and French speaking people. Historically, French areas were more economically advanced due to the presence of coal mines, but in recent years the high tech world has centered in Dutch speaking sections of Belgium The result is a divided nation in which Dutch speakers appear to seek separation from the economically backward French areas. Belgium has a new political crisis after Prime Minister Yves Leterme resigned when it became clear his effort to broker the Dutch and French speaking issue has been unsuccessful. “It appears,” he said, “that the communities’ conflicting visions of how to give a new equilibrium to our state have become incompatible.” King Albert II is attempting to figure out a solution.
There is increasing evidence Belgium is simply another piece of evidence of how post industrial developments either foster or fracture cohesion within nations. The Dutch speaking area do not wish to continue subsidizing the economically backward French areas and the French areas resent the shift which now places them in a secondary position within a society in which they historically were the more economically advanced. Welcome to the 21st century.