Belgian government at Sainte-Adresse

The De Broqueville government in Sainte-Adresse refers to two successive Belgian governments, led by Charles de Broqueville, which served as governments in exile during the German occupation of Belgium in World War I. They were based in Le Havre in northern France after October 1914. The first government, known as the First de Broqueville government, was a Catholic government which elected in 1911 and continued until 1916, when it was joined by Socialists and Liberals expanding it into the Second de Broqueville government which would last until 1 June 1918. In November 1914, the vast majority of Belgian territory (2,598 out of 2,636 communes) was under German occupation. The only portion of Belgium that remained controlled by the Kingdom of Belgium in exile was the strip of territory behind the Yser Front.[2]

Kingdom of Belgium in Sainte-Adresse
Motto: "Unity makes Strength"
Anthem: "The Brabantian"
Unoccupied portion of Belgium behind the Yser Front in 1916
Unoccupied portion of Belgium behind the Yser Front in 1916
CapitalBrussels (claimed)
Common languagesDutch
GovernmentFederal parliamentary constitutional monarchy in exile
Prime Minister 
• 17 June 1911 – 1 June 1918
Charles de Broqueville
• 1 June 1918 – 21 November 1918
Gérard Cooreman
Historical eraWorld War I
• Exile begins
13 October 1914
4 August 1914–31 October 1914
4 August 1914–17 November 1918
8 August 1918–11 November 1918
11 November 1918
17 November 1918[1]
CurrencyBelgian franc
ISO 3166 codeBE
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Imperial German General Government of Belgium
Imperial German General Government of Belgium
The Belgian government at Sainte-Adresse depicted on a French stamp
The Immeuble Dufayel in Sainte-Adresse where the government sat between 1914 and 1918.

Exile in Le HavreEdit

2014 October, centenary in Le Havre - Sainte-Adresse.

In October 1914, the government moved to the French coastal city of Le Havre. It was established in the large Immeuble Dufayel ("Dufayel Building"), built by the French businessman Georges Dufayel in 1911, situated in the suburb of Sainte-Adresse. The whole area of Sainte-Adresse, which still carries the national colours of Belgium on its shield, was leased to Belgium by the French government as a temporary administrative centre while the rest of Belgium was occupied. The area had a sizeable Belgian émigré population, and even used Belgian postage stamps.

King Albert I considered that it was inappropriate for the King to leave his own country and so did not join his government in Le Havre. Instead, he established his staff in the Flemish town of Veurne, just behind the Yser Front, in the last strip of unoccupied Belgian territory.


The de Broqueville government comprised:[3]


The Flamingant poet René de Clercq published a poem called Aan Die Van Havere ("To those of Le Havre") in 1916, in which he accused the government (the "Lords of Le Havre") of having forgotten the plight of Flanders.


  1. ^ Recognition of Governments in International Law: With Particular Reference
  2. ^ De Schaepdrijver, Sophie (2014). "Violence and Legitimacy: Occupied Belgium, 1914–1918". The Low Countries: Arts and Society in Flanders and the Netherlands. 22: 46. OCLC 948603897.
  3. ^ Thielemans, Marie-Rose, ed. (1991), Albert 1er, Carnets et Correspondance de Guerre, 1914-1918, Paris: Duculot, pp. 14–5, ISBN 2-8011-0951-7

Further readingEdit

  • Dumoulin, Michel (2010). L'Entrée dans le XXe Siècle, 1905–1918. Nouvelle Histoire de Belgique (French ed.). Brussels: Le Cri édition. ISBN 978-2-8710-6545-6.