Wouter Van Bellingen
|Wouter Van Bellingen|
Wouter Van Bellingen at the multicultural mass wedding event in 2007
20 April 1972 |
Wouter Van Bellingen (born 20 April 1972) is a Flemish politician for the political party Spirit. Before that, he was employed by the city of Sint-Niklaas as a civil servant working on youth and developing world issues.
Since 2 January 2007, Van Bellingen is an alderman in Sint-Niklaas, where he lives. As such, he became the first black alderman in Flanders. He is responsible for the city's activities related to youths, parties, international projects, civilian affairs and the civil registry and some administrative functions.
Van Bellingen drew media attention in February 2007 when it was reported that 3 couples cancelled their wedding ceremony because they didn't want to be wed by a black registrar. In response to the event, Van Bellingen decided to organise a multicultural wedding event on 21 March 2007, which is also the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 626 couples were symbolically married by Van Bellingen that day and this event was perceived as a strong anti-racism signal.
Van Bellingen was given up for adoption by his Rwandan mother. He grew up in Sint-Niklaas as the youngest son in a family with 4 adopted children. He is married and has 2 children. He was very active in the different sections of the youth councils in Flanders, and a scouting leader.
- Spirit: Wouter Van Bellingen. Retrieved 19 March 2007. (Dutch)
- (subscription required) "Zwarte Vlaming wordt eerste gekleurde schepen". De Standaard, 29 December 2006 (subscription required) (Dutch)
- Stad Sint-Niklaas: "Samenstelling en bevoegdheden college". Retrieved 19 March 2007. (Dutch)
- Ian Traynor "Flanders race row fails to muffle wedding bells". The Guardian, 20 February 2007.
- Alex Duval Smith "Flemish couples don't want to be wed by Wouter". The Observer, 25 February 2007.
- "Couples sign up for mass marriage". Expatica News, 14 March 2007.
- "Mass wedding against racism". flandersnews.be. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-03-23.[dead link]
- "Belgians in anti-racism weddings". BBC. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-03-22.
- "BLIKVANGER. Wouter Van Bellingen". De Standaard, 3 February 2007. (subscription required) (Dutch)
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