New Belgium Prime Minister does not know his own national anthem

Belgium has a new Prime Minister since 20 March. He is Yves Camille Désiré Leterme of the Christian Democratic and Flemish party.  The 48-year old is a former Minister-President of Flanders and Flemish Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. He is a curious choice for a country of two nationalities.


He said in an interview with a French newspaper in 2006 that the French-speaking residents of Flanders were “intellectually not capable of learning Dutch”.

He said all that the two nationalities in Belgium had in common was the King, the international football team and beer. And it transpires he does not have much time for the King either. He once said in Flemish, “I don't need the King” but later explained this away by saying that legislation passed in the Flemish parliament did not need the King's signature before coming into law as is the case with federal legislation. The Flemish Minister-President signs the decrees himself.

Neither, apparently, is he familiar with the Belgian national anthem. Challenged on the point, he began to sing la Marseillaise, he French anthem.