The flag of Flanders was also officially adopted in 1973 as symbol of the Flemish Community of Belgium, Source: fdecomite on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Today is the Day of the Flemish Community of Belgium

Today is the Day of the Flemish Community of Belgium

It all goes back to the Middle Ages and the Battle of the Golden Spurs

Every year, on 11 July, Flanders celebrates the Day of the Flemish Community – basically a national holiday to celebrate the pride of being Flemish within Belgium. The day is commemorated with a grand festival at the Grand Palace and the Place de la Monnaie in Brussels. There’s live music, guided tours, and events for children to mark a battle that took place in 1302.

The battle in question came to be known as the Battle of the Golden Spurs (Guldensporenslag) and it represented a successful attempt by Flemish nobility and citizens to push off the appetites of domination by the French king over Flanders.

The rebellion by the Flemish began in the city of Bruges, which caused King Philip IV to send an army to crush it, however, it was his force that ended up suffering defeat.

Significance later on

Thousands of French army soldiers and members of Flemish militia units clashed outside of the town of Kortrijk; the battle ended with an overwhelming victory for the Flemish.

The large number of golden spurs collected by the Flemish from fallen French cavaliers after the battle gave the battle its name. The spurs were donated as a gratitude offering to the Church of Our Lady in Kortrijk.

The battle later served as an inspiration for the Flemish nationalist movement, which began in the 19th century and continues strong until today, often stronger than a Belgian identity even. The event has been referenced in Flemish literature, poems and movies.

In 1973, it became an official holiday of the Flemish Community in Belgium.

The day is not exactly a full public holiday, though. Only employees working for the Flemish regional government take the day off, however, private companies also have the option to grant their employees leave today.



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