A German William of Orange for Occupied Flanders: Frans Haepers, Groot-Nederland, and the Invention of Tradition
Keywords:Willem van Oranje, William of Orange, Groot Nederland, Greater Netherlands, Vlaanderen en het ‘Derde Rijk’, Flanders and the ‘Third Reich’, Frans Haepers – Wilhelm Kotzde-Kottenrodt, Rudolf Kremser
During the Nazi occupation of Belgium, an effort was launched by Frans Haepers and the editorial staff of the weekly journal Volk en Kultuur to invent a Flemish tradition around the Dutch cultural icon William of Orange. The effort was based on two German-language historical novels, Wilhelm Kotzde-Kottenrodt’s Wilhelmus and Rudolf Kremser’s Der stille Sieger, which were subsequently translated into Dutch. The article argues that the Flemish recourse to William of Orange as mediated through the novels and their translation was a way to negotiate the conflicting collaborationist politics of Groot-Nederland, favored by Flemish nationalists, and the Großgermanisches Reich, favored by Flemish Nazis.