‘Benelux moet in de harten en de geesten worden gebracht’. De cultureelpolitieke kijk op de Benelux in het naoorlogse België (1944-1955)
Keywords:Benelux, International organisations, European integration
Abstract‘Benelux must be brought into the Heart and Mind’: The Cultural-Political View of the Benelux in Post-War Belgium (1944-1955)
Benelux was a construction that came into being only with considerable difficulty and the first decade of its existence (1944-1954) was no easy beginning. Consequently, the Belgian political promotors of Benelux found it useful to publicise it on the cultural-political level, using their own networks and their publications. They also obtained help from the staff of the Belgian-Dutch Cultural Agreement and from academic historians and the international movement for textbook revision. In this article Els Witte analyses the texts of publications, reports and works that are concerned with this political-cultural approach. On one hand it appears that in no sense was there a streamlined, enthusiastic pro-Benelux discourse. Too much attention was given to controversies for this and the approach was used chiefly to strengthen the position of Belgian domestic policy. On the other hand the discourse fitted in with a new system of representation in which pluralism, the idea of cooperation with the Netherlands and West-European integration – with the Benelux in the vanguard – played a part.
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