Gustaaf Schamelhout en het Joegoslavische nationaliteitenvraagstuk. Vlaamse bespiegelingen
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Dr Gustaaf Schamelhout – a French-speaking Fleming who, after having read De Leeuw van Vlaanderen, embraced his Flemish identity and developed a fascination for the question of nationality – published in 1930 an extensive three-volume study entitled De Volkeren van Europa en de strijd der nationaliteiten (The nations of Europe and the struggle of nationalities). In this solid, well-founded work, Schamelhout examines the friction points between European nationalities and attempts to present solutions for their peaceful coexistence. The tenth anniversary of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes offers him the opportunity to analyse thoroughly this multifaceted state, to demonstrate its weaknesses and to propose solutions. His motivation is a personal one: every nationality problem leads to comparisons and offers him a parallel to the situation in Belgium. After all, the position of the Flemings within the Belgian state has been the starting point of his scientific interest. The benevolent optimism that Schamelhout displayed towards the future of Yugoslavia was put to shame by its violent collapse. Whether his recipe of far-reaching federalisation will prove successful in the case of Belgium remains to be seen.
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