Grand Duchy of Flandrensis
| Grand Duchy of Flandrensis |
No humans, Only Nature ...
Long live Flandrensis
|Official language(s)||Dutch (Belgian)|
|- Grand Duke & Grand Duchess||Nicholas of Flandrensis & Delphine I|
|Legislature||Grand Ducal Cabinet|
|- Type||- Unicameral|
|Established||4 September 2008|
|Area claimed||>14890 km²|
|Time zone||(UTC -8)|
|This nation is a member of the OMF and the UAMW|
Flandrensis, officially the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis (Dutch: Groothertogdom Flandrensis), is a micronation with claims over some areas of Antarctica, which was founded in 2008 by the Belgian Nicholas de Mersch d'Oyenberghe. Flandrensis is currently not recognised by any government or country acknowledged by the United Nations.
The name is inspired on “Pagus Flandrensis”, the oldest Latin name of Flanders (8th century) and means “overflow, flooding”.
The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis was founded on 4 September 2008 by the Belgian Nicholas de Merch d'Oyenberghe. The micronation is inspired by the medieval County of Flanders (Pagus Flandrensis). Flandrensis was firstly regarded by the founder as a hobby-micronation, later as an ecological venture, to raise awareness on ice melting and climate change. The micronation has its own identity cards, currency, newspaper, constitution and national anthem.
In 2012, Flandrensis was composed of 114 citizens from 21 different nationalities. Outside the internet, the activities of Flandrensis was mainly restricted to the region around Roeselare, but the official embassy is located in the West-Flemish town Langemark. In 2020 Flandrensis had arround 600 citizens arround the world. Between 2010 and 2018 Flandrensis had also a Commonwealth that united only Dutch-speaking micronations for purposes of diplomacy: the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis, the Principality of Arkel, and the Duchy of Campinia.
Flandrensis has been mentioned in Belgian regional media outlets such as the Krant van West-Vlaanderen and Roeselare TV. After the participation of Flandrensis in PoliNation 2012, the Belgian newspapers Het Nieuwsblad, Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen published articles featuring Flandrensis as part of a report on European micronations. Later Flandrensis was also present on micronational conference or conventions in Perugia (Polination, 2015), Aigues-Mortes (OMF, 2016), Atlanta (MicroCon, 2017) and Vincennes (OMF, 2018). In 2014 the micronation was the theme of the television show "Normale Mensen" on the Belgian channel Één.
Flandrensis has a long history of political traditions, elections and institutions and had 15 constitutional reforms . Professor Alastair Bonnett of the University of Newcastle described Flandrensis as an example of a micronation that is inspired by a city council in which young people learn to make decisions. Between 2009 and 2015 Flandrensis experimented with political institutions like the Senate, Parliament and States-General and had several political parties including the APPF (Pirate Party), DRP (Royalists), NPF (Nationalists), FDUP (Unionists), FL-AL (Solidarity) and Lijst Govaert (Liberals), with yearly elections. Flandrensis is one of the few micronations whose coverage of the elections were published by local media.
In December 2015 the Grand Duke dissolves the Senate and dismisses all ministers because of political inactivity. At present day the Grand Duke has almost all legislative power in Flandrensis, but the Grand Duchy remains a constitutional monarchy with respect for all rights and obligations for the head of state and its citizens. The Grand Duke is supported and advised by a Cabinet led by the Chancellor. The Grand Ducal Cabinet consists of Ministers who each have specific skills and talents and work on the several projects. Every year Flandrensians can send their candidature for a position in the Cabinet, after an evaluation by the Chancellor the Ministers are appointed by the Grand Duke. Honoured senior Ministers or Flandrensians politicians can be appointed as advisor in the Grand Ducal Privy Council.
Flandrensis is regarded by the founder as an ecological venture, to raise awareness on ice melting. Flandrensis has no intentions to visit their claims. The territorial claims of Flandrensis are a statement to the international community and they claim that the micronation is the only country in the world that doesn't want any people on its territory. Flandrensis claims five islands off the coasts of West Antarctica: Siple Island, Cherry Island, Maher Island, Pranke Island, and Carney Island, and based its claim on an interpretation of the 1959 Antarctic Treaty. Nicholas sent letters to the United Nations, the European Union and to the signatories to the Antarctic Treaty to inform them of his claim, but received no reply. Flandrensis has no intention to launch visits to its claims.
Due to Flandrensis' territorial claims conflicting with those of Westarctica, Flandrensis declared the Siple War with them in January 2009. This eventually resulted in the creation of the Antarctic Micronational Union (AMU) to regulate micronational Antarctic claims. The conflict was described by the Dutch Columbus Magazine  and mentioned in the French book "Les Micronations". In 2010, the Russian newspaper Chastny Korrespondent published an article about Antarctic micronations and described Flandrensis as one of the most resonant micronations on Antarctica.
The flag of Flandrensis is inspired by the first Belgian flag of 1830. The original Belgian flag's yellow band has been replaced by white, symbolising a new beginning. For the same reason, there are also two lions on the coat of arms, based on the Flemish lion.
Throughout its history, Flandrensis signed more than 200 treaties of friendship and mutual recognition with other micronations. Since 2020 Flandrensis informally acknowledge all micronations, but micronations can still apply for full diplomatic recognition. The Grand Ducal Cabinet organizes a referendum and if the Flandrensian people vote in favour of recognition, the Grand Duke signs a treaty of friendship and mutual recognition.
In 2015 the Belgian author Julien Oeuillet published the book "Le business des vanités: enquête sur les arnaques à la noblesse" about the subject of fake nobility and scams. The book mention several micronations like Hutt River, Araucanía and Patagonia and Flandrensis. The author described the micronation Flandrensis as an alternative and humoristic way to get a title of nobility, but that nobility in the micronation only exist because of the medieval character of the micronation and not from ambition to create titles. Neither the founder nor the “citizens” consider their titles as real or use them outside the community of micronations. The micronation does not sell any noble titles.
Stamp (design by Frank Verkerk de Beauville)
- Principality of Arkel
- Duchy of Campinia
- Flandrensisian Commonwealth
- Antarctic Micronational Union
- Union Against Micronational War
- DAMIAANS, R., DILLEN, R., Uw krant op bezoek bij Europese micronaties Deel 1: Flandrensis, Het Belang van Limburg, 20 July 2012, page 20-21
- DAMIAANS, R., DILLEN, R., Dwergstaten Deel 1: Flandrensis, Gazet van Antwerpen, 23 July 2012, page 8-9
- GHEERAERT, T., Diplomatieke rel om een deel van Antarctica, Het Wekelijks Nieuws, 05 September 2013, page 10-11
- VANSTEENKISTE, A., “Hoogledenaar is Groothertog van micronatie Flandrensis, Het Nieuwsblad, 13 September 2012, page 22-22
- VERHAEGHE, H., Middagpost West-Vlaanderen, Radio 2, 13 September 2012 (interview with Niels Vermeersch)
- MAZARS, P., “Micronations: la tournée du grand-duc, ‘Le Journal du Dimanche', 28 July 2014
- CORNILLIE, B., “Niels, groothertog van Flandrensis, Het Laatste Nieuws, 29 August 2014, page 20
- MIDTSJO, L., Vi eren en nasjon vi med, Finansavisen, 13 October 2020, page 21-34
- DUBOIS, T,. Reportage plus: Niels Vermeersch staat als groothertog aan het hoofd van zijn eigen micronatie Flandrensis, 15 June 2012, page 10-11
- DEJONCKHEERE, A., Kleurrijk Roeselare: Roeselarenaar Groothertog, video, Roeselare TV, 2011
- PoliNation 2012: 2nd International Conference on Micronations
- COLUMBUS MAGAZINE, Het Groothertogdom Westarctica, 22 June 2010
- Delafontaine, L., Les Micronations, Montreuil-sur-Brêche, Diaphane, 14 September 2013, pages 160, ISBN 978-2-919077-19-9
- CHASTNY KORRESPONDENT, Micronations on the Southern Continent, 28 August 2010
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