Schilde, the most right-wing municipality in Belgium

“One can live very happily without ever leaving Schilde”, says Sofie Borghraef, with a laugh, on the terrace of the Royal Hockey Club in Antwerp. On the field, the little players are running in all directions. For their parents, it’s finally the weekend. Someone places a flower lei around the necks of Sofie and her friends, who sip their drinks in the sun – the theme of the evening: Hawaii. “Almost everyone who comes to the hockey club is from Schilde,” she continues. Sofie, who manages a business circle and runs a beauty salon, seems to know everyone here. “The cliché that Schilde is a very wealthy town is true. But it is also a city with a social dimension. The population is very close-knit, there is social housing.”

In Schilde, many residents are business leaders, she continues. “On Friday, we meet here at the hockey club. Just a stone’s throw away, there is also a magnificent golf course.” Schilde is the most right-wing municipality in the country. In 2019, the Flemish nationalists of the N-VA (Neo-Flemish Alliance) and the Vlaams Belang (far right) totaled 64% of the votes. The Liberals also did well. Besides, “tonight, there is the Dine & Dance, the Open VLD (Open Flemish Liberals and Democrats) ball. Maybe you should stop by?” Sofie’s friends join in our discussion. “I don’t like extremes”, begins Joëlle Van Havre, with a French accent.

“But I understand that people are angry. Belgium is a very small country, and we have so many politicians. Take Switzerland, for example, it’s a great country, with a lot less politics. Whereas here, everything is going wrong. In Belgium, the only thing they know how to do is ask us for money.”

In Schilde, despite everything, we manage to live well, they admit. The town is prosperous. Behind the electric gates stand old trees and swimming pool pavilions. The Immoweb site offers villas at great prices. And even a modern-day castle, with “tin bathtub”, for a whopping 8.9 million euros. However, here too, unease is brewing. “Write this in your diary: we don’t want the tram to come to Schilde”, Kathy Van Laere tells me, when the conversation turns to immigration. “With the tram, everything goes to waste. Look at Wijnegem: a complete disaster.”

“They would give us the curfew again, huh!”

When Sofie is absent for a moment, Kathy joins in.

“I’m not stupid. During corona, I didn’t get vaccinated, and I don’t believe the news about this war in Ukraine either. If Putin really wanted a war, he would go about it differently.”

And look up to the sky. “It’s a real shame that the N-VA immediately ruled out working with Vlaams Belang. We, the citizens, can always go and vote, but if we vote for this party, our vote counts for nothing. I have a lot of friends who are upset about it.”

At Kathy Van Laere, we are liberal from generation to generation. “My grandparents always had a business: Manna – which makes sauces. So we have always voted to the right. But now I find that the VLD – sorry to say it like that – is nothing more than a bunch of weaklings and profiteers.”

Back, Sofie Borghraef continues: “Come on, we don’t want Schilde to become a town of extremists, right? They would give us the curfew again, eh!” Kathy: “Then I’ll leave!” Sofie, ardent: “Listen to what the extremists say: housewives!”

But where can this political discontent come from? In Schilde, 88% of inhabitants

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button