Lode Wils, The creation of the Dutch state and relations with Belgium Paradoxically, the unification of the Netherlands and Belgium in 1815- 1830 did not bring the countries closer together but instead alienated them from each other until the Second World War at least. Holland’s dominance within the United Kingdom of the Netherlands stimulated the spread of liberalism among both the Belgians and the clericalists. Conversely, because they were afraid of being outnumbered by the Belgians (62%) and the Catholics (75%), the protestant elite looked for self-assurance in the authoritarian monarch of William I.
Popular sovereignty was persistently rejected for a full quarter of a century until peace was concluded in 1839. The polarizing experience of 1815-1839 had a lasting influence on the national identity of both Belgium and the Netherlands. Indeed it can be said that the major transformation of 1780-1850 continued to leave residual echoes in the same way that the impact of the major transformation of the sixteenth century continued to be felt through the ages (in both Reformational Europe as well as Counter-Reformational Europe).
This review is part of the discussion forum 'De metamorfose van Nederland' (N.C.F. van Sas).