The birth of the Belgian nation-state: masonic “national” discourses.

Anais Maes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingMeeting abstract (Book)Research


1830, the Belgian Revolution. Not all groups of Belgian society, however, adhered to the project of a Belgian nation state. The reasons for not supporting the project were multiple: socio-economic, politic and cultural. Freemasonry is in many ways the reflection of the society in which it exits and thus 1830 was a critical moment for masonry. The masonic landscape in Belgium was being shaken up on a large scale, lodges dissapeared, others were born, obediences were created and masonic protest and dissent rose. There were different and contrasting masonic national discourses: the Belgian patriottic one, of course, but also a pro-Dutch orangistic one. A few lodges in the area of Liège didn't want to step into the Belgian Grand Orient, not out of anti-nationalism but because of political differences. The different masonic national discourses will be analysed through sources from those lodges who represented the three main movements (Belgian, orangistic and politically anti-Belgian). The pro-Belgian discourse will be analysed through lodges in Brussels(Les Amis Philanthropes), Leuven (La Constance) and Mechelen (La Régénération) as well as through different military lodges (and their civil successors), who clearly represented Belgian nationalist freemasonry. The orangist movement can best be investigated through Le Septentrion in Ghent. The important political dissenters in Liège (La Parfaite Intelligence et l'Etoile Réunies) and Verviers (Les Philadelphes), who created a new obedience (La Fédération Maçonnique Belge) complete the picture. The link with the historical context and profane world is a necessary one in this regard and will be made through the analysis of sources such as newspaper articles written by freemasons belonging to the above-mentioned lodges and articles concerning freemasonry, the lodges or their members. The arising as well as the evolution of these different "nationalist" movements (other elements started to gain importance from the '40's on, such as the end of the dispute with the Netherlands, the rising of anticlericalism and the growth of the liberal party) will be examined and this until 1848, when Belgium, succesfully avoiding the 1848 frenzy, proved to be a stable nation state.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown
Publication statusPublished - 2009
EventFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 21 Sep 200925 Sep 2009


ConferenceFinds and Results from the Swedish Cyprus Expedition: A Gender Perspective at the Medelhavsmuseet


  • Freemasonry
  • Belgian Revolution
  • Nationalism


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