Flanders to mark EU presidency by celebrating 'extraordinary Flemings'
Mechelen will kick off the Flemish side of Belgium’s European presidency on 6 January. The programme is supported by a public campaign that puts the spotlight on extraordinary Flemings, or seemingly ordinary citizens who make a difference.
While prime minister Alexander De Croo outlined the federal government’s priorities on Friday, Flemish minister president Jan Jambon visited Mechelen on Monday to present the Flemish angle.
For many people, the EU is a remote concept, he said, though many decisions are taken at that level that determine people’s daily lives. To make people aware and get them involved, Flanders is organising a festival to coincide with the start of Belgium's six-month presidency.
"The campaign shows how ordinary Flemings make Europe shine"
During the day, museums will host events and there will be stages with literary and comedy performances. The highlight will be at dusk on the Grote Markt, with performances by well-known names in a production by conductor Dirk Brossé. The show will also be broadcast on VRT. It is the starting shot for Construct Europe 2024, an event that continues in Mechelen after the presidency finishes at the end of June.
While famous Flemings – known as bekende Vlamingen, or BVs – shine on stage, the public campaign tells the story of the “extraordinary Flemings”. These are people who “deserve a place in the spotlight because of their work behind the scenes”, Jambon said. “The campaign shows how ordinary Flemings make Europe shine.”
That message of making an impact on EU policy also takes shape in the two promotional gifts designed for the presidency. A sculpture by Fernand Vanderplancke and a linen napkin by Kortrijk textile mill Verilin represent “the perseverance and winner’s mentality of the Fleming”, Jambon said.
#FlandersNewsService | Mechelen's city hall on the Grote Markt © PHOTO EASY FOTOSTOCK