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60 Years of the Flemish Club for Arts, Sciences and Letters


We prefer to leave the writing of history and the search for historical data that will illustrate the reality of the Flemish Club in Brussels in 60 years' time to specialists such as Mr. Hugo Reinhard, Chairman of the Archives and Museum of Flemish Life. in Brussels and Mr Ronald Boon, Director of the same Archives and Museum.

Their account and report follows in the following pages and we realize all too well the difficulties involved in completing such an assignment and the obvious accusations of incompleteness or possibly tendentious reporting. We know that such a report could not be anything other than incomplete and the reporting in certain places could not be anything other than tendentious. 60 years of existence is a long time, but when one has to write history one sometimes finds meager data, especially if, as was the case in the Flemish Club, no diary was kept and the annual reports only report some data from a certain period onwards. about the Club's activities. I happily and easily get rid of it by writing, and I mean it, that I do not believe in real history writing.
What I do believe in is the historiography of the evolution of an idea, of a people, of a country, in an uber-human way, regardless of all temporary historicity and folklore, no matter how serious and dramatic it may be described afterwards.

We do not believe in the correct history of the last world war, for example, and those who compromised themselves with the occupying forces are the bad ones because they are equated with those who lost the war. Nowadays it is true that whose ancestor served in Napoleon's army is regarded as someone. But someone who served with the losing side in World War II is automatically a bad guy, whatever the idea for which he has worked.

What I revolt about, however, is that human history and relevant folklore aspects give rise to a community's soul and culturally disadvantage its development.
It also happened for a while with the Flemish Club. But above and beyond all there is the idea of Flemish awareness and struggle for emancipation, on which the Flemish Club has worked since its inception and without hesitation during the 60 years of its existence, faithful to the principles established at its inception.
I therefore take it upon myself to characterize the history of the Flemish Club with a few sentences, regardless of persons and facts, regardless of time and historical concerns, awareness and resurrection and the contribution to this to the improvement of our people. matter: to help save it from ruin and cultural decline. However, it will never be possible to write exactly what the real contribution of the Flemish Club has been to the maintenance of the Flemish community in Brussels and the safeguarding of the cultural heritage. I can only testify to my personal and convinced effort in this regard and that of my immediate predecessors as chairman of the Flemish Club, as well as the numerous board members and members of the Flemish Club, who have each contributed with their own style and capabilities.

We have now ended up with our clubroom on the Grand Place of Brussels and feel the pulse of Brussels, the metropolis and capital of Europe, more than before from the Van Praetstraat. In the midst of the melting pot of cultures, we live peacefully and strive to strengthen ourselves in our own cultural experience, and to transfer it to others, not to conquer or outdo, but with the hope of mutual appreciation and respect for mutual experience in our own culture and our own nature. From the historical data obtained about the Flemish Club, it can be seen that the Club has always adopted a pluralistic attitude, that every speaker or visitor can express themselves freely and fully. The institution was always apolitical but not anti-political, especially when it came to Flemish politics. The Flemish Club has thus grown into a platform of Flemish presence in Brussels, and of intellectual expression in the arts, sciences and letters.

The Flemish Club is said to be elitist. It is indeed elitist in its choice of topics and speakers, but not in its choice of club members. Naturally, in view of its objectives, the Flemish Club attracts less youth to its weekly activities, given the level of the topics programmed. The Club does contact youth through its poetry competitions and has also done so in the past through children's parties. But she regularly addresses herself mainly to adults, and she wants to nourish the intellectual Flemish heritage with the hope of real contribution, to complete cultural emancipation and elevation in a culturally regionalistic Europe.


J. Vleugels

Chairman of the Flemish Club for K.W.L

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