Belgium, relations with

   Contacts between the Netherlands and Belgium are very close, especially with Flanders because of the common Dutch language. The 1946 cultural agreement, for in stance, was the start of mutual consultations about spelling, since 1980 organized by the Nederlandse Taalunie (Dutch Language Union—as of 2004 also with Surinam). Since World War II, polit ical and economic relations have also been intensified, within the frameworks of the Benelux (with Luxembourg) and the European Union (EU). Military cooperation is carried out through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In 1996, Belgium and the Netherlands merged their naval organizations. The diplomatic relations were not always so uncomplicated. First, it took some time before the Dutch really accepted the secession of 1830 in the Belgian Revolt. During World WarI, more than 33,000 Belgians who had fled to the Netherlands were interned according to international law. After the war, many Belgians were angry about the neutrality of the Netherlands and laid claim to Dutch Zeeuws Vlaanderen (province of Zeeland) and the Dutch province of Limburg. This resulted in disturbed negotiations over control of the River Scheldt and the construction of a good connection with the Rhine, which were delayed until the 1930s. Negotiations were pursued after World War II, as well. Recently, for example, a fast railway connection from Amsterdam to Brussels (and Paris) was negotiated.
   See also Foreign relations.

Historical Dictionary of the Netherlands. . 2012.

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