The sixth NISELecture examines the positioning of the Walloon Movement after WWI

The sixth NISELecture will be presented by Chantal Kesteloot in Antwerp on 15 November 2018. She will look at the Walloon Movement’s choice between Walloon federalism and Belgian nationalism after the First World War.

At the onset of the First World War the Walloon Movement had become a vocal proponent of the administrative separation of the Belgian unitary state. During the War, this demand was being addressed… by the German occupier, in accordance with its pro-Flemish strategy (i.e. Flamenpolitik). What influence did this decision have on the Walloon Movement? How did it respond to this development, both in Belgium and in exile? Moreover, King Albert I’s proclamation of the equality between the Flemish and Walloons in the aftermath of the War had raised an additional issue, subsequently initiating a new phase for the Movement. Would it have to reject the idea of federalism and commit itself to defending a Francophone Belgian nationalism, or would there be room for alternatives? In addition, if the Movement wanted to vehemently denounce Flemish activism and collaboration during the War, how would it simultaneously address the issue of ‘Walloon activism’?

Watercolour painting of the ‘Walloon Rooster’ by Pierre Paulus, which became the symbol of Wallonia in 1913 (ADVN, VPR1272)

Chantal Kesteloot (°1963) is doctor in Contemporary History. She obtained her PhD in 2001 at the Free University of Brussels (ULB) with a thesis on the Walloon Movement and Brussels from 1912 to 1965. She joined the permanent team of CEGESOMA in 1992. She is currently the head of the Public History department and co-editor-in-chief of the Journal of Belgian History.

Her main areas of interest are the history of the Walloon Movement, the issue of Brussels, memory of the war and Belgian history and issues of nationalism and national identities. She is a member of the Steering Committee of the project of the European Science Foundation “Representations of the Past: The Writing of National Histories in Europe (NHIST, 2003-2008)”.

Chantal Kesteloot has been a member of the NISE Scientific Council from the start.

Date and Time: Thursday 15 November 2018 from 18h-20h

Location: the Nottebohm Room at the Flemish Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience in Antwerp (Belgium)

Entrance is free, but please register beforehand with Elly Broes (

The lecture is organised in cooperation with the Flemish Heritage Library Hendrik Conscience.