Belgium Vlaamse Nationale Jeugd (VNJ e.V.) Youth Uniforms: Activities

Figure 1.--A major activity of the VNJ is parading and pagentry. The boys appear in virtually every public pagents in Flanders. The boys always dress up in their full uniforms for these events.

The VNJ uniform does not appear to differ much in the different activities pursued by the group. VNJ boys march and sing and do other things traditional boyscouts like to do. Groups meet every sunday, and come together in big masses on some very special days during the year, like the Flemish National Singing Festival (Vlaams Nationaal Zangfeest) on a sunday every April in Antwerp, and in a commemoration called the IJzerbedevaart, in which they remember the soldiers who died in World War I. Some of thed major activities noted include the following:


Virtually each VNJ unit has a drum band. I have not noted VNJ units with full bands. The band units appear to be drum bands, but I have noted trumets as well at VNJ events. Boys in a band are especially careful about their uniforms. The boys coordinate their uniform. Normally there will not be a mixtute of sweaters and jackets. There may be some special uniform elements such as dhoulder boards identifying the participants as band members. The boys are also more likely to wear white gloves than most VNK members.


An important part of the VNJ program is, like Scouting, camping. The camping program appears to be quite similar to Scouting, althoug there appears more ritual in the VNJ program. Camping seems to be very popular. A lot of available images show the VNJ boys at camp engaging in all the different activities populr with Scouts. I do not know if the VNJ actually has their own fixed camp sights as Scouts often do.


Camping and hiking are Scouting mainstays and perhaps the best known outdoor activities for uniformed youth groups like the VNJ. We seem to note more images of the boys parading than hiking, but this may reflect the availsability of images than the actual extent of the activities. Flanders is a very developed part of Europe. We are unsure just where the boy hike. To the south are the Ardennees Forest, famous for World War II battle sites and rough mountenous terraine. We are not sure if the VNJ boys, however, go that far afield for their hinking outings.


A commemoration called the IJzerbedevaart is especially important to the VNJ. The group honors the soldiers who fought and died in World War I defending Belgium from the Germans. Events commemmorating the fallen from World Wr I sounds a bit archaic to many Americans. America's losses in the war dwarfed those of the European combatents. The War in effect devestated an entire generation. Thus events honoring the sacrifices made are of much greater importance in Europe. The IJzerbedevaart is also a peace meeting in general and a demonstration of Flemish selfconsciousness. It's organised every last sunday in august, in a West-Flemish town called Diksmuide.

May pole

The annual ritual of putting up a May pole is an important event for VNJ groups. The May Pole is a tradition adopted by Christian Europeans from the Celts that inhabited Belgium and Flannders.

Other Music Evens

Outdoor Activities

The VNJ conducts a wide range of outdoor activies. Camping and hiking are Scouting mainstays and perhaps the best known outdoor activities, but there are many others. There are also many more specific outdoor activities. One popular outdoor activity is abseling or repelling as it is known in America.


VNJ boys march and sing and do other things traditional boyscouts like to do. The VNJ appears to put greater emphasis on paraes than the Scouts, perhaps because the VNJ with its commitment to Flemism inepenence or nationlism is given more to public patriotoc displays. The boys always dress up in the full official uniform for these parades. Some of the boys even wear formal looking white gloves.

Zang Fest

One popular event for VNJ groups is the annual Zang Feest.


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Created: March 11, 2001
Last updated: 6:05 PM 7/25/2004