Belgium Vlaamse Nationale Jeugd (VNJ e.V.): Garments

Figure 1.--The boys in this VNJ parade during the late 1990s show many of the uniform garments commonly worn.

The VJR continues to have a very traditional uniform. Unlike other European youth groups, the VJR has not given up or change the traditional uniform first adopted in 1961 when the VJR was adopted. The VNJ does not appear to wear a uniform cap. The boys wear grey shirts and rather short black short pants. The VNJ wears a standard grey shirt with various patches and emblems, giving the group a rather Scout-like look. The boys wear their short cut black short pants with rolled down white hiking socks and black boots.


The VNJ does not appear to wear a uniform cap or any other headgear. There may be one for very formal events, but the VNJ units we have noted do not wear any headwear.


A key part of the VNJ uniform is a orange neckerchief or kerchief. This in particular gives the boys a Scout-like look. The orange color symbolizes thir alegience to the Dutch House of Orange. Many Flemish people would prefer that flanders was part of the Netherlands rather than Belgium. Unlike the Scouts who seem to have a large number of different kefchief styles, the VNJ boys all seem to wear the same palin orange kerchiefs.


HBC is not sure if there is an official uniform jacket. Some boy on chilly or rainy days appear to wear grey or blusish grey anoraks. Several of the boys appear to wear the same style, but so few of them that I am not sure that this is actually an official VNJ garment. Some boys appear to sew uniform badges on the jackets. Like the sweaters the boys wear, the jackets are usually grey to match the grey shirts that the boys wear.


On chilly days the boys often wear sweaters the boys often wear sweaters--almost always grey sweaters. The sweaters are style like English "V"-neck school sweaters without any trim. The boys mat even wear them to school. They all appear to be a light-grey, a shade matching their shirts. Interestingly the boys seem to werar their orange kerchiefs under their sweaters, rather like they were wearing ties rather than kerchiefs. The boys do not seem to commonly wear casual grey swearshirts, but rather these more formal sweaters.


The VNJ wears a grey shirt with various patches and emblems. The most common grey shirt worn by the boys has military-like epauletes. Especially as they wear Scout-like orange kerchiefs with their grey shirts, giving the group a rather Scout-like look. All of the shirts are usually about the same color. There are some differences in the shirts. Many but not all have epulettes. Some boys wearing their shirts have shoulder boards. One group of drummers had blue shoulder boards, presumably indicating their status as band membetrs. Some boys have white cords hanging from their shouldervepulettes, presumably an insignia of rank.


Some of the boys for formal parades wear while gloves.

Figure 2.--A group of VNJ members preparing to participate in a parade. Notice how uniformily their uniform is worn and that only one boy wears jeans.


The official uniform of the VNJ is black short pants. Some boys wear other shorts, but black ones are the standard. Some older boys wear long pants, but this is not very common.

Short Pants

The VNJ short trousers are invariably black (as with the Hitlerjugend), which sets the VNJ apart from both Flemish and Francophone mainstream Scouts. They are made of ordinary trouser material. (It is the mainstream Francophone scouts who most often wear corduroy shorts, usually in dark blue.) They so noticeably remain short shorts, in defiance of recent fashion, that I feel sure their uniforms must be centrally supplied - rather than obtained by the boys' mothers locally according to a general guideline, as would normally be the case for mainstream scouts.

Long pants

Most VNJ boys of all ages wear short black pants. Ocaasionally some boys are seen in other non-regulation pants. Sometimes a few boys are seen wearing jeans. HBU has also noted some older boys are perhaps unit leaders wearing long black pants. These appear to be adult leaders. Usually the long pants are made of the same black corduroy fabric as the usual shorts. Guido


The VNJ is a coeducational group. The girls wears balck skirts rather than black short pants like the boys wear. Both are normally done in corduroy.


The VNJ wears keesocks, or more correctly heavy hiking socks rolled down. They are usually white. Belgian mainstream and indeed French scouts are often to be seen wearing the same socks, often in addition to kneesocks. They are often worn with black boots.


VNJ boys usually wear black high-top boots, rather military style boots. This gives them a rather unususual look when worn with white socks and short pants. Some of the younger boys do not wear the boots. The bootys worn by the VNJ boys are the type that’s called ABL or "Armée Belge/Belgisch Leger" in the typical hydrid French/Dutch Belgian jargon. The Chirojeugd wear the same style, at least those few groups that are holding on to the "old style" uniform of black corduroy shorts and dark brown shirts. I presume they are an imitation of regular British army boots (nicknamed ‘ammo boots’) of the fities and sixties that were common to many Belgian youth groups of the time.

Play Clothes

The VNJ has play or activity clothes for camp so as not to ruin their uniform with the rough, sometimes dirty activities that would spoil their dress uniform. The play clothes areca basic colored "T" shirt and shorys, rather like a school gym uniform.


Many of the VJN participants in the late 1990s and early 2000s appear to wear very short clipped hair styles.

Non-uniform Items

VNJ units are relatively strict about boys wearing the full uniform. Only occassiinally do you see boys wearing non-uniorm items. The principal exception seems to be younger boys. A reader writes, "Perhaps some of the younger boys do not wear complete uniform because they are not yet full members. When I was a scout, boys were not required to appear in full uniform until they had taken the scout pledge and indeed one was allowed to wear certain parts of the uniform only after the pledge. Some similar rule may apply here.


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Created: March 10, 2001
Last updated: 6:23 PM 6/26/2004