A follow-up on map #176, portraying the end of Belgium via the drowning of Flanders. Considering that Belgium is a slightly surreal construction at the heart of Europe (Western Europe anyway), the other option to its utter annihilation can only be its expansion to superpower-size. As is done on this map, showing a Europe dominated by a ballooning Belgian superstate.
* Belgium occupies most of the European mainland, its usually tiny coastline expanded to cover the whole north of the continent, from De Panne to Knokke. Medium-sized Belgian towns such as Ghent, Leuven, Charleroi and Antwerp are portrayed as European megacities. South of Brussels (located near Munich in the real world) begin the Ardennes, the undulating hill country in the south of Belgium that is here identified with the Alps.
* Thus, Switzerland is the ‘Swiss Ardennes’, northern Italy is the ‘Italian Ardennes’ and of course there are also the ‘Austrian Ardennes’.
* The Netherlands, in real life slightly bigger than Belgium, has shrunk to a small, northern appendage that ‘speaks a dialect of Flemish’. Similarly, France ‘speaks a dialect of Walloon’, and West Germany (‘speaks dialect of Luxembourgeois’) – which is all sort of true, come to think of it.
* The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, in contrast to the relative shrinkage of the Netherlands, has grown together with Belgium, dominating South-Eastern Europe.
* The North Sea henceforth is called the ‘North Belgian Sea’ and the English Channel is renamed the ‘Belgian Channel’; the only locality named in England is the ‘Village of London’.
* Spain, finally, is labelled ‘Summer Belgium’, its Mediterranean coast called ‘Costa del Belges’.
This delightfully Belgocentric map of Europe was sent to me by Sarah Ratayczak, who is partially of Belgian descent. “I saw the map attached on the door of a Poli Sci professor’s office when I was an undergrad at Wisconsin about 10 years a go. I asked for a copy – its Belgocentric view of the world appealed to me because my mom’s family is from Belgium (long long ago).”