This book takes stock of Belgium’s exceptional and – for some foreign observers –schizophrenic position in the political world and explains its idiosyncrasy to a non-Belgian audience.

Offering a broad and comprehensive analysis of Belgian politics, the guiding questions throughout each of the chapters of this book are: Is Belgium a political enigma, and why? Along which axes is Belgium "exceptional" compared to other countries? And what insights does a comparative study of Belgian politics have to offer? The book therefore provides a critical assessment of how Belgian politics "stands out" internationally, both in good and bad ways – including consociationalism, federalism, democratic innovations, Euroscepticism, government formation, gender equality, among others – and which factors can explain Belgium’s exceptional position.

Based on cutting-edge research findings, the book will be of wide interest to scholars and students of Belgian politics, European Politics and Comparative politics.


The Open Access version of this book, available at www.taylorfrancis.com, has been made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives 4.0 license.

chapter |10 pages


Belgium: Why bother?
ByDidier Caluwaerts, Min Reuchamps
Size: 0.14 MB

part Part 1|66 pages

Belgium on the barricades

chapter 1|15 pages

Compulsory Voting

13Anachronism or avant-garde?
ByDidier Caluwaerts, Sophie Devillers, Nino Junius, Joke Matthieu, Sarah Pauwels
Size: 0.26 MB

chapter 2|17 pages

The Long-Term Effects of Gender Quotas in Belgium

Leading by example?
ByRobin Devroe, Silvia Erzeel, Petra Meier, Bram Wauters
Size: 0.61 MB

chapter 3|15 pages

An Analysis of Electronic Voting in Belgium

Do voters behave differently when facing a machine?
ByRégis Dandoy
Size: 0.25 MB

chapter 4|18 pages

Thriving in An Unfriendly Territory

The peculiar rise of minipublics in consociational Belgium
ByJulien Vrydagh, Sophie Devillers, Vincent Jacquet, David Talukder, Jehan Bottin
Size: 0.39 MB

part Part 2|92 pages

Belgium, a democracy in trouble

chapter 5|15 pages

Challenging the Cordon Sanitaire in Belgium

79A diachronic analysis
ByBenjamin Biard
Size: 0.24 MB

chapter 6|15 pages

Breaking Free from Partitocracy

Do Belgian candidates stand out?
ByAudrey Vandeleene, Chloé Janssen, Maximilien Cogels
Size: 0.18 MB

chapter 7|15 pages

Coalition Formation in Belgium

From exceptional complexity to regime breakdown?
ByLieven De Winter, Patrick Dumont
Size: 0.22 MB

chapter 8|15 pages

Caretaker Governments in Belgium

The new normal?
ByRégis Dandoy, Lorenzo Terrière
Size: 0.17 MB

chapter 9|15 pages

The Changing Dynamics of Belgian Federalism

Is there a reversal of the paradox of federalism?
ByLaura Pascolo, Daan Vermassen, Min Reuchamps, Didier Caluwaerts
Size: 0.31 MB

chapter 10|16 pages

Voting For ‘The Other Side’? The Curious Case of the Brussels Capital Region

ByBenjamin Blanckaert, Didier Caluwaerts, Silvia Erzeel
Size: 0.22 MB

part Part 3|46 pages

Belgium and the world

chapter 11|15 pages

Federalization of the Belgian National Past

171Do collaboration and colonization still matter?
ByValérie Rosoux
Size: 0.21 MB

chapter 12|15 pages

The Europeanization of Belgian Parties

Both near and far?
ByLouise Hoon, Gilles Pittoors
Size: 0.20 MB

chapter 13|15 pages

Belgium in the UN Security Council

Still an active player?
ByMichel Liégeois, Murat Caliskan
Size: 0.30 MB