Lotte 1.jpg
Lotte 1.jpg


Between 1815 and 1830 King William I ruled over the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, which roughly covered present-day Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. In 1830, the Belgian Revolution broke out, which led to Belgian independence. It started on 25 August 1830 with the performance of La Muette di Portici in the Royal Theatre of the Mint in Brussels.

The opera, composed by Daniel Auber to a libretto of Eugène Scribe and Geramin Delavigne, was about the Neapolitan fisherman Masaniello, who led the revolt against the Spanish regime in 1647. The second act contained a duet, entitled 'Mieux vaut mourir' with the aria 'Amour sacré de la patrie'. The lyrics appealed to the growing discomfort with the regime of King William I and aroused strong national sentiments: 'Amour sacré de la patrie, / Rends-nous l’audace et la fierté; / A mon pays je dois la vie. / Il me devra sa liberté' (Holy love for the fatherland / Give us courage and pride / To my country I owe my life / It will owe its liberty to me).

Before the opera had even finished, people stormed the streets, screaming 'A bas les Hollandois' (Away with the Dutch!). Riots broke out and buildings were destroyed. It was the beginning of a series of armed conflicts, which ended in 1832, but it was not until 1839 that the Dutch king officially recognised the new Belgian state.