Wouter Van Bellingen

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Wouter Van Bellingen
Wouter Van Bellingen at the multicultural mass wedding event in 2007
Wouter Van Bellingen at the multicultural mass wedding event in 2007
Born (1972-04-20) 20 April 1972 (age 46)
Antwerp, Belgium
Nationality Belgium
Occupation politician

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.[1] He is responsible for the city's activities related to youths, parties, international projects, civilian affairs and the civil registry and some administrative functions.[2]

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.[3][4] 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.[5] 626 couples were symbolically married by Van Bellingen that day[6] and this event was perceived as a strong anti-racism signal.[7]

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.[8] 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.

References[edit]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ (subscription required) "Zwarte Vlaming wordt eerste gekleurde schepen". De Standaard, 29 December 2006 (subscription required) (in Dutch)
  2. ^ Stad Sint-Niklaas: "Samenstelling en bevoegdheden college". Retrieved 19 March 2007. (in Dutch)
  3. ^ Ian Traynor "Flanders race row fails to muffle wedding bells". The Guardian, 20 February 2007.
  4. ^ Alex Duval Smith "Flemish couples don't want to be wed by Wouter". The Observer, 25 February 2007.
  5. ^ "Couples sign up for mass marriage". Expatica, 14 March 2007.
  6. ^ "Mass wedding against racism". flandersnews.be. 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-03-23. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Belgians in anti-racism weddings". BBC. 2007-03-21. Retrieved 2007-03-22. 
  8. ^ "BLIKVANGER. Wouter Van Bellingen". De Standaard, 3 February 2007. (subscription required) (in Dutch)