|HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen.|
The Principality of Rheinbergen has announced today with this interview it is ready to step forth on the world's stage and take its place amongst the brotherhood of nations. It shall be led by its Prince and First of his name, HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen. Who has been gracious enough to have a conversation with us today.-Thank you very much your Highness.
|The official coat of arms for the Principality of Rheinbergen|
Q: House Cornielje Your Highness... How old is your family and where does it come from?
A:The oldest known ancestor is from 1497 in Rouen France
Q: And the the first ancestor to be enobled?
A: Pierre Corneille d'Anville, ennobled in January 1637 arms granted in March of that same year.
He was the father of the famous playwright that's 378 years ago.
Q: So your family has been around for roughly 500+ going on 600 years.
A: Yes indeed, the oldest known ancestor owned a tannery in Rouen in the late XV Century.
William the Conqueror's mother Hervleva, her father and William's, grandfather was a tanner by the way. Sometimes countries and dynasties have humble origins.
Q: Why form your own country?
A: The main idea was to create an alternative nation that emphasizes heraldry, art and the environment. Another important factor is politics: I think democracy is not working as it should, and now a secure hereditary monarchy is a better answer.Where one person is responsible who cannot be purchased for a better positioning in a market by a large uncaring or non responsible corporation. Or for a country who removes itself from the courts of law, in order to run roughshod over its citizenry.
Editorial insert in the conversation*(Oddly enough, Otto von Habsburg felt that the world would eventually return to Monarchy with a stronger role for a Monarch than just that of a figure head.)
A: I agree, with the Grand Duke.
*(Although he liked a strong personal monarch with a subservient house of lords and commons, not the other way around.)
|Alp-Rheinbergen. Runs from Thomasee till the Bodensee over 172 km. Neighbouring countries are Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Austria. Major cities near: Feldkirch, Chur and Dornbirn.|
A: I believe that is correct, Democracy as we know it does not work due to a lack of education and there is corruption in many facets of modern society. A strong enlightened monarch can control this, by being solely responsible for their nations well being. The world needs strong leaders with vision, passion and compassion.
Q: Do you see your version of a Monarchy similar to that of Liechtenstein?
A: Yes, I do: The power of the ruling family there has increased over the last decades and it has benefited the country greatly. Yet the people of Liechtenstein retain representation and are happy living inside a principality.
|Hoch-Rheinbergen runs from the Bodensee up until Strasbourg over 207 km. Neighbouring countries are Switzerland France and Germany. Major cities near: Konstanz, Schaffhausen and Basel.|
Q: How did you settle on the Rhine / Rhein River as the basis for your Principality? Kingdom?
A: I grew up in the Rhine area, just a stone throw away from its shores. It is a region close to my heart. There is a mythical beauty that surrounds the river Rhine. For decades it looked as we would lose this natural beauty, but in the eighties the tide turned and the river started to recover slowly, but there is still much to do. I envision the micronation of Rheinbergen as an active country with active citizens willing to work on further improving our river nation. We are a Principality not a Kingdom.
*(Thank you, your Highness. I needed that clarification. I think some of my readers might have a fascination for Royalty but in America at least, the proper protocol and usages of address have fallen by the wayside.)
|Ober-Rheinbergen runs from Strasbourg up until Mainz. It has France and Germany as neighbouring countries. Major cities: Strasbourg, Baden-Baden, Karlsruhe, Ludwigshafen and Mannheim.|
A: I think they will: we are not claiming any actual territory: the riverbed and the shores belong to the countries the river flows through ... however, the river itself does not. The water flows freely from one country to another. Not a single drop of it is owned by one of the neighboring countries. There is where our claim lies and there is where we can defend our claim without invading any foreign territory
|Mittel-Rheinbergen runs from Mainz until Köln over 364 km. Neighbouring country is Germany. Major cities: Mainz, Köln, Wiesbaden, Koblenz and Bonn.|
*(The Rhine flows through six countries -Switzerland, Principality of Liechtenstein, Austria, Germany, France and the Netherlands before flowing into the North Sea at Rotterdam.)
A: I think we could potentially give the six countries and the EU a neutral third party option over its maintenance, that heretofore they have not had. I hope and believe it will, if we can gather enough momentum and create a large active following that actually contributes to obvious improvements.
One way is through the use of Social Networking like Google+ and Facebook.
|Nieder-Rheinbergen runs from Köln until Pannerden over 130 km. Neighbouring country is Germany. Major cities are Köln, Düsseldorf, Krefeld, Duisburg and Wesel.|
A: First of all a lot of active subjects who would spread the word and are actively promoting and researching a healthy environment. Secondly a large number of people that believe that this micronation is more than a quirky eccentric game. What I also see as very important is culture and art become a large part of what our national identity. We want to show the world it is possible to put an emphasis on beauty, art and nature in this world without being just dreamers or people with their heads in the clouds. The hard business like approach of capitalism is failing all around us. We need to be a beacon of beauty and compassion to the world, and with resolve and the effort needed, we will become so.
Q: How are you going to pay for it all?
A: Since we are a tax free nation, we count on our citizens to work actively in our nation. Rewards will not be monetary but in the form of promotions and honours. I believe that we can and will succeed in running this nation without large sums of money. Idealism, passion, compassion and hard work can replace hard coins.
*(In America we have a term for what you are describing it is called Sweat Equity.
No money exchanged but hard work and effort means you own something you have a part of the game not just a person who has bought their way into the poker match. You have earned your way.)
A: That is our vision exactly.
|Neder-Rijmbergen runs form Pannerden to Rotterdam over 160 km. Neighbouring country: The Netherlands. Major cities are Arnhem and Rotterdam.|
A: You just did! (smiling) Maybe ask me if I am afraid of the pitfalls of being a tax free country perhaps?
Q: Are you afraid of what pitfalls or downside might happen with a Tax Free Nation?
A: Not really. First of all we are a nation right in the middle of Europe and surrounded by neighbors with very strict tax rules. That makes from a pure logistical point of view a lot harder to establish a 'rogue nation' like for example the Principality of Sealand; which even in its national anthem openly advocates actions that are illegal in most countries. I count in the second place on the citizens of our nation to be proud of our values and to control themselves and check each other's actions for correctness and fairness, this obviously is needed without turning Rheinbergen into a 'big brother is watching' nation. This should and will all be based on our principles: education, passion, compassion and hard work. Finally: we are not a democracy, we are a hereditary monarchy with me at its head. Together with my council, family and citizens I will keep a sharp eye on the developments as they happen.
Q: I noticed your non announced national Facebook page has blown up, With 10K likes and climbing.
A:It has indeed. Which just goes to show how attractive a direct rule monarchy is to the people of the world. Modern governance as I said earlier is failing its citizens and subjects badly.
Q:Do you see an eventual issuance of passports for future subjects of the crown? I ask because that is one of the things that cause so much drama for Sealand. Fake passports were being sold on a black market to some truly unscrupulous and not so savory people.
A:We will issue passports in the course of the coming months. Although we may not be recognized yet, we do envision recognition in times to come and want to be prepared. The passports will initially only be used within the territory and frame work of Rheinbergen but we aim for international recognition in a foreseeable time.
Q: How do you want to be styled / called in public? Because as much as Americans love royalty, they have fallen out of using the proper terms and titles. I ask this in the name of all interested USA potential subjects.
The official style is HSH Gerard, Fürst von und zu Rheinbergen or HSH Gerard, Sovereign Prince of Rheinbergen. Both are fine.
*(Great! what does HSH mean ....?)
A: It is actually mirroring the style of Liechtenstein. His Serene Highness.
*(I had to ask. Americans other than the heraldry crowd are not used to post or pre nominals.)
A: Hahaha, I suppose you have fallen out of using titles; since it has been what? 239 years...
*(This is the portion of the interview, where I want my guest to touch on things I might have missed or failed to talk about at all. It allows our interviewee a chance to finish off their interview.)
|The official seal of Fürstentum Rheinbergen.|
A: I would like to draw the attention to our patronage of the arts. In particular music in all its forms and fine art in the form of heraldic art are great passions of mine, I therefore support these forms of art and we do have a number of great heraldic artists onboard. A few names: Neil Bromley, Benoit Billion, Tudor Radu Tiron, Carlos Navarro, Laurent Granier and Danilo Carlos Martins. Most of them even became citizens of Rheinbergen. As did David Warin Solomons, our Court Composer. A phenomenal musician, conductor and composer.
*( In an off venue conversation HSH Gerard expressed his desire to see funds set aside for students who wish to continue their education in art schools, and performing art conservatories.)
Concerts and art exhibitions, tourist venues along the Rhine can be used to promote third party approach to the various ecological issues currently plaguing the Rhine. With a potential reporting office, that could contact the European Union's office of Transportation and the Common Agriculture Policy group.
We have a real opportunity to declare a new nation. Start from nothing and work upwards, without having to fire a shot or commence a bloody revolution. A peaceful nation based on cooperation, art and liberty.
Here are the links to the world's newest micro nation.
On the web: