Die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens: Identitätsstiftung im “Belgien zu viert”
Sprache, Kultur und Geschichte als Säulen der Regionalen Identität in Ostbelgien
Pages 31 - 51
This paper discusses the formation of the regional identity of the German-Speaking Community in East Belgium before the background of the constitutional autonomy it achieved as part of the gradual federalization of Belgium. The changes in question, while embedded in a long-term process of historical transformation, are shown to be linked specifically to political decisions taken under the Regional Development Plan for East Belgium. The German language, the cultural heritage and the distinctive history of the region are identified as formative factors in the collective identity of East Belgians. The impact of historical scholarship and of the teaching and medition of history in schools and the public sphere on the process of identity formation is highlighted, and ideas for the future development of existing approaches are proposed. Language, cultural heritage and the politics of remembrance, while closely intertwined, are shown to have shifted their mutual significance over the different phases of the autonomisation process. Throughout the paper, the present-day identity-building agenda of the government of the German-Speaking Community is historically re-contextualised in a systematic fashion in order to emphasize the links between the past and the present that are the main concern of the paper.