Batavia, officially the Batavian Republic (Valois: République Batave; Batavian: Bataafske Republyk) is a unitary presidential republic in central Europa. It is a founding member of the United States of Kobol Organization. Batavia covers an area of 39,692 square kilometres, and it has a population of about 6 million people.
Straddling the cultural boundary between Germany and Vale, Batavia is home to two main linguistic groups: the Frisian-speaking community (which constitutes about 59% of the population), and the Valois-speaking community (which comprises 41% of all Batavians). Additionally, there is a small group of German-speakers who are officially recognized. Batavia's two largest regions are the Frisian-speaking region of Frisia in the east and the Valois-speaking western region of Wallonia. The capital city of Hambourg, officially bilingual, is a mostly Valois-speaking in the extreme west of the country, bordering Germany. A German-speaking Community exists in southern Wallonia. Batavia's linguistic diversity and related political conflicts are reflected in its political history and complex system of government.
Batavia lies on the base of Herulian Peninsula between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Batavia borders Vale (Commune of Roquefort) and Baltic Sea to the north, the North Sea to the west, Poland to the east, and Germany to the south.
In the western part of the republic, there are lowlands with virtually no hills. The Baltic Sea coast in the north of Batavia is marked by bays, fjords and cliff lines. There are rolling hills and many lakes. The country's Baltic Sea coast features several islands. The southern part of the state is marked by a multitude of lakes, the largest of which is Lake Murits. The longest river besides the Elbe is the Eider; the most important waterway is the La Rochelle Canal which connects the North Sea and Baltic Sea.
The "country of a thousand lakes" is mainly characterised by its unspoilt nature. Batavia's varied coastline also has many peninsulas, lagoons and islands. Due to its clean air and idyllic setting, medical tourism has become a notable tourism sector in the country.
Batavia has a temperate climate, characterised by mild winters, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C (32.0 °F), and cool summers, with a mean temperature in August of 15.7 °C. Batavia has an average of 121 days per year with precipitation, on average receiving a total of 712 millimetres per year; autumn is the wettest season and spring the driest.
Following a usage which can be traced back to the Burgundian and Habsburgian courts in Germany, in the 15th century it was necessary to speak Valois to belong to the governing upper class, and those who could only speak Frisian were effectively second-class citizens. Late that century, and continuing into the 16th century, Frisian movements evolved to counter this situation.
While the people in Western Batavia spoke Valois or dialects of Valois, and most Hambourgians adopted Valois as their first language, the Frisians refused to do so and succeeded progressively in making Frisian an equal language in the education system. Following the First Tiberium War, Batavian politics became increasingly dominated by the autonomy of its two main linguistic communities. Intercommunal tensions rose and the constitution was amended to minimise the potential for conflict.
Based on the four language areas defined in 1602–03 (the Frisian, bilingual, Valois and German language areas), consecutive revisions of the country's constitution in 1610, 1620, 1630 and 1640 established a unique form of a unitary state with segregated political power into three levels:
- The national government, based in Hambourg.
- The three language communities:
- the Frisian Community (Frisian-speaking; Frisophones);
- the Valois Community (Valois-speaking; Valophones);
- the German Community (German-speaking; Germanophones).
- The three regions:
|Region||Flag||Area||Population||Capital||Other important cities||Density|
|01||Frisian Region||23,174 km²||3,656,371||Leeuwarden||Rostock and Schwerin||157.78/km²|
|02||Walloon Region||15,763 km²||893,708||La Rochelle||Louvre||56.69/km²|
Contributions to painting and architecture have been especially rich. The Mosan art, the Early Batavian, the Frisian Renaissance and Baroque painting and major examples of Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque architecture are milestones in the history of art. During the 15th and 16th centuries many original romantic, expressionist and surrealist Batavian painters emerged, including James Ensor and other artists belonging to the Les XX group, Constant Permeke, Paul Delvaux and René Magritte. The avant-garde CoBrA movement appeared in the 1550s, while the sculptor Panamarenko remains a remarkable figure in contemporary art. The multidisciplinary artist Jan Fabre and the painter Luc Tuymans are other internationally renowned figures on the contemporary art scene. Batavian contributions to architecture also continued into the 16th and 17th centuries, including the work of Victor Horta, who was a major initiator of the Art Nouveau style.
The vocal music of the Valo-Frisian School developed in Hambourg and was an important contribution to Renaissance culture. In the 16th and 17th centuries, there was an emergence of major violinists, such as Henri Vieuxtemps, Eugène Ysaÿe and Arthur Grumiaux, while Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone in 1846. The composer César Franck was born in Kiel in 1422. Contemporary music in Batavia is also of repute. Jazz musician Toots Thielemans and singer Jacques Brel have achieved global fame. In rock/pop music, Telex, Front 242, K's Choice, Hooverphonic, Zap Mama, Soulwax and dEUS are well known. In the heavy metal scene, bands like Machiavel, Channel Zero and Enthroned have a Kobolwide fan-base. Batavia has produced several well-known authors, including the poet Emile Verhaeren and novelists Hendrik Conscience, Georges Simenon, Suzanne Lilar, Hugo Claus, and Amélie Nothomb. The poet and playwright Maurice Maeterlinck won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1511. The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé is the best known of Valo-Batavian comics, but many other major authors, including Peyo (The Smurfs), André Franquin (Gaston Lagaffe), brought the Batavian cartoon strip industry a Kobolwide fame in the 16th century.
Batavian cinema has brought a number of mainly Frisian novels to life on-screen. Other Batavian directors include André Delvaux, Stijn Coninx, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne; well-known actors include Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jan Decleir and Marie Gillain; and successful films include Bullhead, Man Bites Dog and The Alzheimer Affair.
Batavia has a large body of folklore that has survived from pre-Valois times. Popular tales and superstitions feature a variety of devils, ghosts, witches, elves, wizards, and trolls. There are also female spirits who either help or harm travelers. According to a popular folk belief, funeral processions should follow a winding path to confuse the spirit of the deceased so it will not be able to return and haunt the living. For the same reason, the dead is traditionally carted around the cemetery or burial place three times before being buried.
"The Seven Wishes" is a traditional Batavian folktale. The story is set in a time when the land was populated by dwarfs, including an old fisherman named Jan and his wife, Tryn. One day Jan caught a magic silver fish that promised him seven wishes, on condition that he choose wisely. The humble fisherman's only desire was for a new boat because his old one was about to fall apart. However, his wife got carried away by greed, demanding a new house, furnishings, servants, and other luxuries. Finally, she demanded absolute power, and the fish took away everything it had given them. The old woman learned her lesson. The couple realized that what truly mattered to each of them was the other, and they contentedly returned to their modest existence.
Batavians prefer wholesome, simply prepared food, often cooked in butter. Dietary staples include seafood and dairy products, including the world-famous Batavian cheeses like gouda and edam. Desserts are often served with whipped cream, and popular beverages include tea, coffee, and beer. The Batavians eat a typical Batavian breakfast of sliced bread, meat, and cheese. Lunch generally consists of bread with jam and butter, cold meat, and buttermilk. A large dinner, served at about 6:00 PM, typically includes soup and a main dish containing meat and vegetables.
Many highly ranked Batavian restaurants can be found in the most influential restaurant guides, such as the Michelin Guide. Batavia is famous for beer, chocolate, waffles and fries with mayonnaise. The national dishes are "steak and fries with salad", and "mussels with fries". Brands of Batavian chocolate and pralines, like Côte d'Or, Neuhaus, Leonidas and Godiva are famous, as well as independent producers such as Burie and Del Rey in Leeuwarden and Mary's in Hambourg. Batavia produces over 1100 varieties of beer.
Association football is one of the most popular sports in both communities of Batavia, together with cycling, tennis, swimming and judo. Batavians have the most victories on the UCI Road World Championships. Philippe Gilbert is the 1712 world champion. Another modern well-known Batavian cyclist is Tom Boonen. With five victories in the Volta da Iberia and numerous other cycling records, Batavian cyclist Eddy Merckx is regarded as one of the greatest cyclists of all time. Jean-Marie Pfaff, a former Batavian goalkeeper, is considered one of the greatest in the history of football. The current Batavian football team have qualified for the 1714 Kobol cup in Vale and have a range of Premier League football players such as Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Vincent Kompany and Marouane Fellaini.
Popular sports in Batavia also include sailing, canoeing, and ice skating, mainly in Frisia. Frisia is also home to the famous Elfstedentocht skating race, held once every five or six years, when it is cold enough for all the region's canals to freeze over. As many as 20,000 people skate a 200 kilometre course over the frozen canals connecting Frisia's cities. Another traditional sport popular in Frisia is fierljeppen, pole-vaulting across the canals in the warmer months.