There is a saying in Belgium that “The King and football are the only things that hold the country together”. Belgium is a country divided between the Flemish and French populations. In addition, a new wave of immigrants have created a very diverse and multicultural community. Football has remained one of the few unifying factors for this nation.
Due to the many languages that co-exist in Belgium, the national anthem is not a central symbol of nationalism. However, a Belgian artist Stromae has developed a National Anthem for the Red Devils. The song has become so iconic with the team and the Belgian fanbase that even before International matches Stromae has performed in the center of the pitch trying to fire up the crowd. The song has become a Belgian national anthem, unifying the country to support the team.
Stromae – Ta Fête
With the recent rise of Belgium international football to an elite level, the importance of Belgian football success this summer has never been greater. The terrorist attacks that hit Brussels in March left the country in a disastrous state searching for hope. There are people within and outside of the country looking to point blame and criticize Islamic and immigrant communities. However, following the attacks important figures in the community stood tall against racism and outrage that would inevitably follow. Vincent Kompany, the captain for the Belgium team, wrote on twitter, “I wish for Brussels to act with dignity. We are all hurting, yet we must reject hate and its preachers. As hard as it may be.” Kompany, a beloved football player in the country, is a role model for the youth of Belgium.
The European Cup this summer serves as a vehicle for the Belgian community to get away from the problems at home. The joy of seeing their team succeed might help to cope with the great despair that fills the air. The beautiful game of football has the power to bring whole nations to extreme jubilation. As we get ready for kick off in June, let us hope that the Belgian football team can bring happiness and unity to the people of Belgium.
By Nick Salzman, Sam Skinner, and Will Feldman
How to Cite this Article: “Symbol for Unity” Written by Nick Salzman, Will Feldman, and Sam Skinner (2016), European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/belgium/symbol-for-unity/(accessed on (date)).