Unity makes strength
"Unity makes strength" (Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht, pronounced [ˈeːndrɑçt maːkt mɑçt] ( listen); French: L'union fait la force; German: Einigkeit macht stark) is the national motto of Belgium, later also taken on by Bulgaria and Haiti.
The motto is first recorded as the motto for the area that would become Dutch Republic in the Gemeene Duytsche Spreekwoorden in 1550, whilst the area was still within the Spanish Empire and under the rule of Charles V. It is derived from the Latin phrase "concordia res parvae crescunt" (small states flourish by concord) in chapter 10 of the Bellum Iugurthinum by the Roman Republican writer Sallust. The new Dutch Republic took over the phrase as its motto and it appeared on several of its coins and coats of arms, usually in the original Latin form, referring to the new state's initially small territorial size. From the late 16th century onwards the start of the motto was frequently used on Dutch coinage, such as the Leicester-rijksdaalder in 1586.
The French occupied the Netherlands from 1795 to 1813, first as the Batavian Republic then the Kingdom of Holland then as an annexed part of France itself. Early in the occupation the national motto was changed to "Gelykheid, Vryheid, Broederschap" (Equality, Liberty, Fraternity), but from 1802 to 1810 'Unity makes strength' was re-introduced. It remained in use until the institution of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands when, in 1816, it switched to the House of Orange motto 'Je maintiendrai'.
The motto was used by Belgium after its Revolution of 1830 , initially only in its French form "L'union fait la force". Only when the Dutch was equated with the French did the Belgian state take "Eendracht maakt macht" as its motto instead, sometimes with the variant "Eenheid baart macht". In 1830 this unity was identified with the unification of Belgium's nine provinces, whose nine provincial coats of arms are represented on the national arms, and the new country's unification of its liberal progressives and Catholic conservatives. Indeed, it was launched in 1827-1828 by newspapers published in Liege which allied liberals and Catholics in the unionism which brought about the Revolution and which then dominated Belgian politics until the founding of the Liberal Party in 1846. Although the motto is often used in Belgicist or unitarist circles (as a call to Flemings and Walloons, natives of Brussels and German speakers, all to maintain Belgium's unity), this is a historical misinterpretation - the motto is a unionist not a unitarist slogan. Its German version is "Einigkeit macht stark". Flemings sometimes parody the motto by chanting it as "L'union fait la farce" ("Union makes a farce") or "L'oignon fait la farce" ("The onion makes the filling"), trivialising it as a cooking recipe.
The United States
The motto of Brooklyn, a borough of New York City founded by Dutch settlers, is "Eendraght maeckt maght". It appears on Brooklyn's seal and flag. The motto Eendragt maakt magt also appears on the badge of the police force of Holland, Michigan, combined with God zij met ons.
Following the Bulgarian unification and after Ferdinand of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took over the throne of the Principality of Bulgaria, the country adopted Belgium's motto of L'union fait la force (in Bulgarian: Съединението прави силата). After the king was deposed, it was the country's motto until 1948. After the fall of the People's Republic of Bulgaria and the end of Communist rule in the 1990s, the parties debated what should be the country's new coat of arms, deciding on a modified version of its former royal coat of arms. However, the Bulgarian motto also represents the last words of khan Kubrat, the founder of Old Great Bulgaria in 632 AD, and is likely rooted much earlier in Bulgarian symbolics than in other European states.
South African Republic
On 17 January 1852 the United Kingdom, ruler of the Cape Colony, approved the independence of the South African Republic in the Sand River Convention. "Eendragt maakt magt" was the motto on the new state's shield and in 1888 it decided it should only use Dutch as its official language.
An early design of the coat of arms for the Federation of Malaya (present day Peninsular Malaysia) in used between 1948 and 1963 adopted a variation of the motto, "Unity is Strength", rendered in both English and Jawi. Following the admission of three more states into the federation in 1963, the English motto of the arms was replaced by a rough Malay translation, Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu (literally "Unity Improves Quality"), while the Jawi motto remained unchanged.
Eendragt maakt Magt was a noble-society (Heeren-Sociëteit) founded in Rotterdam in 1830, originally based in the Kralingse Plaslaan. It originally held weekly meetings in the Den Otter coffee house on the corner of the Hoflaan and the Honingerdijk. On 1 May 1865 the Association of Shareholders began fundraising for a private building for the society. This coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, which was one reason the society took the motto of king William II of the Netherlands. The architect Jan Verheul designed the new building and it opened in 1903 on the corner of the Oudedijk and Waterloostraat. In 1980 the building was demolished to make way for the Caland Line metro route, after saving a section of its ornate art nouveau facade (giving the club's name between glazed tiles and leaf patterns) was built into the nearby Voorschoterlaan station.
The name was also used as the business name of the tailors "Eendracht maakt macht", who in 1910 decided to rent a building on Oranjeboomstraat in Rotterdam, as a joint workshop-office to move their office out of their home. The fine dust from the finished goods caused many to suffer from emphysema and a larger workplace named "Eendracht maakt macht" was built.
The motto of the fascist British government in the Doctor Who serial Inferno was "Unity is Strength," based on the slogan "Union is Strength" used by Oswald Mosley's contemporary Union Movement. Similarly, Norsefire, the fascist British government in the 2005 film V for Vendetta uses "Strength through Unity" (along with "Unity through Faith") as a prominent slogan.
- The full quotation is "nam concordia parvae res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur" - concord will make small things flourish, discord will destroy great things. It also appears in Seneca the Younger's Letters to Lucilius (XCIV, 46).
- DBNL.nl: EENDRAGT MAAKT MAGT. Uit J.H. Swildens Vaderlandsch A-B boek voor de Nederlansche jeugd (1781)
- The Report: Emerging Bulgaria 2007. Oxford Business Group. 2007. p. 8. Retrieved 9 November 2011. "The motto is Saedinenieto Pravi Silata, meaning "unity makes strength", said to be the last words of Khan Kubrat, the legendary founder of Old Great Bulgaria in 632."
- Engelfriet.net: Societeit Eendragt maakt Magt
- Chocano, Carina (17 March 2006). "V for Vendetta". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.