Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Grand Duchy of Flandrensis

Have you heard that the Antartida, does not belong to any country? If your question is ''yes'', you are wrong. Let's present you the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis.

The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis is a micronation with claims over some territories of Antarctica, which was founded in 2008 by the Belgian Niels Vermeersch. Flandrensis is not recognised by any country or government, nor is it their intention to be recognized as a country.


HISTORY
The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis was founded on September 4, 2008. 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. Flandrensis is also a political simulation with political parties like the APPF (pirate party), DRP (royalist), NPF (nationalist), FDUP (unionist), FL-AL (solidarity), Lijst Govaert (liberal) and L&S (republican) and organises yearly elections. 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.
The founder also described Flandrensis as a cultural organisation. In 2012 the micronation is composed of 128 citizens from 28 different nationalities 
Outside the internet the activities of Flandrensis are restricted to the region around Roeselare but the official embassy is located in the West-Flemish town Langemark. Flandrensis has also a Commonwealth that unites only Dutch-speaking micronations: the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis, the Principality of Arkel and the Duchy of Campinia. Flandrensis has been mentioned in Belgian regional media like the Krant van West-Vlaanderen and Roeselare TV. After the participation of Flandrensis in Polination 2012 (2nd International Conference on Micronations on July 14, 2012 at London) the micronation came to the attention when the Belgian newspapers Het Nieuwsblad, Het Belang van Limburg and Gazet van Antwerpen published an article about Flandrensis as part of a reportage on European micronations. Flandrensis was later present on other international conferences on micronations in Perugia (2015), Aigues-Mortes (2016) and Atlanta (2017). Flandrensis is one of the few micronations whose coverage of the elections were published by local media. In 2014 the micronation was the theme of the television show "Normale Mensen" on the Belgian channel Één.

TERRITORY

Flandrensis claims five islands on the West Antarctic coasts: Siple Island, Cherry Island, Maher Island, Pranke Island and Carney Island. This claim is based on an interpretation of the Antarctic Treaty (1959). Niels Vermeersch has sent letters to the United Nations, the European Union and all nations that have signed the Antarctic Treaty to inform them of this claim. None of these organizations or countries responded to this letter. Flandrensis does not intend to visit its claimed territories1,2,3,4,5. Due to his claims, a diplomatic conflict between the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis in 2010 and another micronation Grand Duchy of Westarctica; this results in the creation of the Antarctic Micronational Union (AMU) 1,2,6. This conflict was described by Dutch Columbus Magazine 11. In 2010 the Russian newspaper Chastny Korrespondent publishes an article about micronations of Antarctica and describes Flandrensis as one of the most influential micronations in Antarctica.

NATIONAL SYMBOLS

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 which symbolises a new beginning. For the same reason there are also two lions on the coat of arms, based on the Flemish lion. One of the main symbols of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis are the typical stamps.

STAMPS


The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis has developed stamps for all its citizens and followers. It is a micronation that tries to be the most realistic as possible. They try to imitate a real country and this is why sometimes they make products as if they were a real country.

INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION

The Grand Duchy of Flandrensis is a Micronation. It is based on a territory which is a ''terra nullius''. Despite this, this micronation has not an obsession for being an independent country, like others.
A diplomatic conflict with the micronation Westarctica arose in 2010, this resulted in the creation of the Antarctic Micronational Union (AMU).

MASS MEDIA


Coverage of this conflict appeared in the Dutch Columbus magazine, the Croatian newssite Telegram and the French book ''Les Micronations''. In 2010 the on-line Russian newspaper Chastny Korrespondent (Private Corresepondent) published an article about Antarctic micronations and described Flandrensis as one of the most "resonant" micronations on Antarctica.
Due to the legal situation involved on those 'terra nullius'' territories and the fact of fulfilling the conditions that a state should comply according to the Montevideo Convention, the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis has become very famous in Belgium, but also in the International Media, especially those media influenced by libertarian ideas. Micronationalists have Niels, as a referent. 


The Flandrensis Times

The Flandrensis Times is the multilingual (English & Dutch) newspaper of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis and it's published 6 times a year. It was founded the 22nd June 2009, but between 2010-2016 the neswpaper was named "The Gazette of Giddis". 
It is owned and subsidized by the Government of Flandrensis, however, the newspaper's view is often neutral. The current CEO of the newspaper is Dieter Delmotte, Minister of Media & Communication.

Micronational nobility

Nobility title
Flandrensian register of arms
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 mentions 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 exists because of the medieval character of the micronation and not from ambition to create titles. Neither the founder nor the “citizens” use them outside the community of micronations. Although those titles are considered real and legal, because those are not Belgian noble titles, but the Flandrensisian ones. 
According to the Art 10.4 of the Constitution of the micronation, all Flandrensians have the right to wear a personal coat of arms. These coats of arms need to be registered in the Flandrensian Institute of Nobility & Heraldry”. A coat of arms is part of someone’s identity: the symbols or colours tells something about the owners’ personality, hobby, interests, family history, etc.


PERSONALITIES OF THE GRAND DUCHY OF FLANDRENSIS

Niels Von Flandrensis

Niels Vermeersch works for a West-Flemish municipality and in his free time he’s a huge fan of literature and history. In 2012 he married with the Flandrensian Baroness Delphine de Saint Gilliens and the royal couple are blessed with 2 little princes. Since 2013 their residence is in the Flandrensian Embassy in the Kingdom of Belgium.
He became very famous worldwide, when he started to develope his own project, a country project or micronation called, the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis. Niels Vermeersch is the founder and the first head of state of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis.
As Grand Duke, Niels is the face of Flandrensis and the official representative of a worldwide community. He’s the head of the Government and has several constitutional powers like the appointment of Ministers or ambassadors, signing treaties, etc. 
Niels is highly involved in the international community of micronations and he’s a frequent guest at meetings and international conferences of micronations. In 2009 he was awarded the very first peace award granted by the micronational community. In 2014 the French newspaper “Le Journal du Dimanche” called him the “Woodrow Wilson of micronationalism”. Transforming Flandrensis from a temporary hobby into a serious project he has been interviewed and mentioned in several international media (regional and national newspapers, television network channels, radio, books, scientific / cultural magazine, etc.) about Flandrensis or micronationalism in general.

Diplomatic visits

Hein of Giddis (BEL)
Prime Minister: The right hand of the Grand Duke and is his replacement in time of need. The Prime Minister is also responsible for National Safety and protect the neutrality and integrity of Flandrensis.

Omar Cisneros (USA)
Minister of Internal Affairs: when the Prime Minister is the right hand of the Grand Duke, this one is the left hand. This Minister assist the Grand Duke with the development of Flandrensis on any level.

George Lapshynov (FRA)
Minister of Antarctic affairs, environment & climate change: The problems of global warming and climate change are central components of the Flandrensian agenda. The Minister promotes the importance of the white continent and develops the Flandrensian policy on Antarctica.

Dieter Delmotte (BEL)
Minister of Media & communication: To tell the Flandrensian story and spread our mission communication is very important. The Minister is responsible for the communication strategy, promotion and is the CEO of the Flandrensis Times.

Danny Morris (UK)
Secretary of Foreign Affairs: The Secretary of Foreign Affairs advises the Grand Duke in diplomatic relations with micronations.

Michelle Brewer-Bunnell (USA)
Minister of Justice, Human Rights, Diversity: Flandrensis is a worldwide community with a huge diversity on sexuality, gender, religion, etc. and we’re proud of that. This Minister investigates intolerant behaviour like racism or illegal activities that could damage the reputation of Flandrensis (in Flandrensis but also in our foreign policy)

Lander Haesaert (BEL)
Minister of National Happiness: This Minister is dedicated to "putting a smile on every face". It is important that our citizens are proud to be part of Flandrensis, that they are satisfied with the government and feel welcomed and appreciated in our community.

Jürgen Bryggia (BEL)
Minister of Multimedia: The Minister is the designer of the Flandrensian website and is responsible for all updates and technical assistance.

Elias de Cassel-Campinia (BEL)
Secretary of Heraldry: Inspired by medieval heraldry, this art form has become an important element of the Flandrensian culture and traditions. Every citizen has the right on his / her own personal coat of arms. The Secretary assists the Royal Family with new designs or with updates of existing symbols.
Elias de Cassel-Campinia is the official herald of Flandrensis. Between 2010 and 2015 he designed a lot of coat of arms and recently he re-joined the Grand Ducal Cabinet. When citizens give him their desires he will made a coat of arms in respect with the Western European heraldic rules.

John Lowndes (UK)
Secretary of State (specialized in environment):: The Grand Duke can appoint some citizens as member of his Cabinet based on their qualities, dedication and talents. This secretary is specialized in environment and wildlife.

Sherif Abdel Meged (EGY)
Secretary of State (specialized in Culture): The Grand Duke can appoint some citizens as member of his Cabinet based on their qualities, dedication and talents. This secretary is specialized in culture and multimedia.

Bekhruzbek Ochilov (GER)
Secretary of State (specialized in Eastern-Europe): The Grand Duke can appoint some citizens as member of his Cabinet based on their qualities, dedication and talents. This secretary is specialized in Slavonic languages and Eastern Europe.

List of Flandrensian Ambassadors

The Dominion of Canada - H.E. Laurens Bosman (Chilliwack)
The Kingdom of Great Britain - H.E. Richard Grundy (Glossop)
The Kingdom of Denmark - H.E. Claus Søndergaard (Roskilde)
The French Republic - H.E. Philippe Beckaert (Saint Cirise)
The Federal Republic of Germany - H.E. Markus Kalter (Overath)
The Republic of Peru - H.E. Fernando Cárdenas Carrascal (Lima)
The Republic of Italy - H.E. Silvia Fratini (Livorno)
The Kingdom of Sweden - H.E. Georgios Korakakis (Motala)
The Republic of Poland - H.E. Jakub Poplawski (Lisewo)