Ypres, Belgium – The global micronational community is set to converge in Ypres, Belgium, for the highly anticipated MicroCon EU 2023 Conference. Hosted jointly by the Belgian micronation Flandrensis and the Swedish micronation Ladonia, this extraordinary event will take place on Saturday, August 12, 2023, at Sint-Jacobsstraat 1, 8900 Ieper, Ypres.
MicroCon is a biennial gathering that unites micronationalists of all ages from across the globe, providing a platform for them to share their experiences, knowledge, and insights into the intricate world of nation-building. Already, registrations have poured in from micronationalists and academics representing a diverse array of countries, including the USA, Canada, Sweden, Wales, Belgium, Germany, France, and the Czech Republic.
This year marks a historic moment in the history of MicroCon as it expands its horizons. Following the success of previous events in Anaheim (2015), Atlanta (2017), Las Vegas (2021), and Toronto (2019) in the USA, 2023 will witness the inauguration of two MicroCon events – one in the USA (MicroCon Chicago) and the first-ever European MicroCon in Ypres, Belgium.
Scheduled just over a month after MicroCon Chicago, hosted by Ladonia on Saturday, July 1, 2023, MicroCon EU 2023 in Ypres will further enrich the global micronational dialogue.
The complete program, featuring distinguished speakers and a list of confirmed attendees, is available at MicroCon EU 2023 Program.
What are micronations?
Unlike the 195 internationally recognized independent countries in the world, micronations are unique entities. They are not akin to sovereign states like Andorra or Monaco but rather are tiny geographical or virtual units, existing in a realm not politically recognized on the global stage. Examples range from small bedroom-based micronations to installations on oil rigs situated in international waters. The most renowned among them is Sealand, located off the coast of England.
Micronations, like their larger counterparts, have governments, often with a handful of ministers, national currencies, postage stamps, and their own set of national symbols. Some even boast national football teams. In Ypres, a gathering of founding members, known as micronationalists, and academics will convene to share their knowledge and experiences. Attendees hail from various corners of the globe, including America, Canada, Wales, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, France, and Sweden, among others.
The phenomenon of micronations reflects the human spirit’s boundless creativity and ambition. Everyone, it seems, has the potential to declare their sovereignty. Take, for instance, Jean-Pierre Pichon and Olivier Martinez, who transformed the French town of Aigues-Mortes into a principality in 2012, initially as a light-hearted parody of their Monaco neighbors. Today, it stands as a unique tourist attraction with its own local currency. American radio DJ Randy Williams, whose dream of visiting all 195 recognized countries was thwarted by COVID-19, took matters into his own hands in 2021 by founding Slowjamastan in the Californian desert. Kevin Baugh started Molossia in 1977 with his cousin as a fun hobby; today, it draws busloads of tourists each year. Micronations aren’t limited to the realms of governance; they also serve as platforms for artists, environmentalists, and idealists to creatively address social issues.
Who will be attending MicroCon EU 2023?
The MicroCon EU 2023 Conference will feature distinguished speakers and presentations on a wide range of micronational topics. Notable among them is Professor Sandra Peterman, a leading authority on micronations from the University of Mainz in Germany, who will present the results of her latest research. Additionally, Ffion, a Swedish student from the University of Malmö, will share insights from her paper on ecological micronations. A Slovenian film crew will document the phenomenon of micronations for a forthcoming documentary.
The selection of Ypres as the host city for MicroCon EU 2023 isn’t coincidental. Both event organizers hail from Belgium. Yvan Bertjens, age 37, from Bilzen, has served as Ambassador since 2016 and as the Foreign Minister of the Swedish micronation Ladonia since 2021. Ladonia, born in 1996 when Swedish artist Lars Vilks declared independence to safeguard his artwork in a nature reserve from Swedish bureaucracy, now boasts over 30,000 citizens worldwide.
Niels Vermeersch, age 35, from Langemark-Poelkapelle, founded the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis in 2008. What began as a temporary hobby to fill a few weeks of leisure evolved into a substantial ecological project. In a bid to raise awareness about climate issues, Flandrensis claimed an island in Antarctica and stands as the world’s only country that prohibits human presence on its territory. In 2022, Flandrensis achieved accreditation as an Observer in the UN Environmental Programme, and Flandrensians worldwide proudly have their gardens recognized as pieces of Flandrensian nature reserves.
How to participate or attend MicroCon EU 2023
For media inquiries or to request press credentials for MicroCon EU 2023 in Ypres, please contact:
- Yvan Bertjens, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Republic of Ladonia
- Email: [email protected]
- Niels Vermeersch, Grand Duke of Flandrensis
- Email: [email protected]
For further information about the conference, please visit MicroCon EU 2023. Join the delegations coming to Ypres for this historic gathering that transcends borders and challenges conventional notions of nationhood.