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De Vlaamse Leeuw (Dutch for "the Flemish Lion") is the official anthem of Flanders, a region and community in the federal Kingdom of Belgium.
The words of this anthem were written in July 1847 by Hippoliet Van Peene (1811—1864) who was clearly inspired by the song Sie sollen ihn nicht haben, / den freien Deutschen Rhein, / So lang sich Herzen laben / An seinem Feuerwein (They must never get our free German Rhine, As long as hearts relish its fiery wine) by the German author Nikolaus Becker.
The music, by Karel Miry (1823—1899), is apparently influenced by Robert Schumann's Sonntags am Rhein.
Like France's Marseillaise, De Vlaamse Leeuw is a nationalist battle song. Franco-Belgian political tension in the mid-19th century made the Flemish public mood ripe for such an expression of regional feeling. At the time it was not meant as anti-Belgian (as it often came to be seen by Flemish separatists and their Belgicist opponents), for the 'enemy' it refers to is Belgium's southwestern neighbour France, as in the 1302 Battle of the Golden Spurs.
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