The man behind the project
Nicholas de Mersch d’Oyenberghe (aka Nicholas of Flandrensis) is the founder and the first (and only) head of state of the Grand Duchy of Flandrensis.
As Grand Duke, Nicholas is the face of Flandrensis and the official representative of its worldwide community. He’s the head of the Government and has several constitutional powers like the appointment of ministers or ambassadors, signing treaties, etc. Nicholas is highly involved in the international community of micronations and he’s a frequent guest and speaker at meetings and international conferences of micronations.
Within the non-profit “vzw Groothertogdom Flandrensis” Nicholas is the Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Why the title of Grand Duke?
Nicholas holds the title of Grand Duke of Flandrensis but he calls himself “the man behind the project Flandrensis” and never uses his titles outside the micronational community. He started with his micronation in 2008 as a temporary hobby during the holidays without any long term intention. He took the medieval ages as a source of inspiration for his micronation and therefore he chose for it to be a Grand Duchy rather than a republic. In real life Nicholas is not a monarchist, but people know him today as the “Grand Duke”.
Nicholas started Flandrensis in September 2008 but joined the micronational community at the end of that year. Between 2009 and 2011 he was mainly active in the MicroWiki community and represented Flandrensis in several micronational organisations (Grand Unified Micronational, Organisation of Active Micronations, League of Secessionist States, Antarctic Micronational Union, etc.). He became notorious in the community because of the diplomatic dispute with the micronation of Westarctica, which of course ended without any blood or violence. Due to this dispute Nicholas created a reputation for himself as a micronational pacifist and in 2009 he received the Schneider Award, the very first peace award granted by the micronational community. In 2014 the French newspaper “Le Journal du Dimanche” even called him the “Woodrow Wilson of micronationalism”.
Nicholas is also one of the first who introduced the concept of ecological micronationalism and is the co-author of several ecological charters like the “Alcatraz Accords” (Polination Conference, Perugia, 2015) and the “Micronational Declaration on Ecological Stewardship” (MicroCon, Atlanta, 2017, USA).
Today Nicholas is a well-known figure in the micronational community, especially for his influence in ecological micronationalism. He spend most of his time dealing with Flandrensian affairs, contact with other micronations and raising awareness for climate change. The Grand Duchess often calls Flandrensis his second job …
Transforming Flandrensis from a temporary hobby into a serious ecological project and non-profit organisation, he has been interviewed and mentioned several times in the international media (regional and national newspapers, television network channels, radio, books, scientific / cultural magazine, etc.) about Flandrensis or micronationalism in general.
He is frequently asked for interviews for academic papers and as a speaker he gave several presentations on conferences and workshops like “Hobby-micronationalism in the 21st century”, “The influence of the internet on micronationalism” and “Ecological micronationalism”.
The fastest way to send questions, comments, concerns, etc. to the Grand Duke: send an e-mail to granduke[at]flandrensis.com or send him a message on Facebook (click here). For citizenship, diplomacy or interviews: please use the correct contact file on this website.