Gerard van Lankveld's Empire of Hope and Tranquility

Gerard van Lankveld's Empire of Hope and Tranquility

First published: Fall 2007

Van Lankveld's empire dates back to his early youth, a time when he felt misunderstood and was teased for being different from everyone else. It was not until the early 1960s that he faced up to the ridicule and rejection of his peers and began to fight back.

In May 1967 he decided to proclaim his own state, which was forthwith declared as being officially at war, as it has remained ever since. The year after its foundation, his new empire acquired its own flag: the colour red stood for the struggle, white for hope and enlightenment, and green for peace and quiet. At first van Lankveld styled himself Macropedius (and sometimes still uses the name), in homage to the humanist playwright Georgius Macropedius (Joris van Lanckvelt, 1487–1558), who was also born at Gemert and whose proper name he subsequently also adopted.

  

 

Baptised Monera in 1976, van Lankveld's empire began to develop a more and more distinctive identity. Years of struggle, conquest and reconciliation, of change, growth and power, of disappointment and apathy alternated with one another. Van Lankveld gave each year a name based on his experiences of that year. He chose Latin names for these commemorations in order to instill a picturesque atmosphere appropriate to the uniqueness of his world. But he went further by transforming the concepts and words borrowed from Latin into his own private language, also called Monera, enriching it further with smatterings adopted from several other foreign languages. For not only does van Lankveld feel oppressed by the country he lives in, with all its opinions, values, norms and rules, but he also hates its language. In his opinion, 'Dutch doesn't sound nice. It's so business-like and dried out.' The distinctive linguistic character of Monera is as original as the world and the objects that it expresses. 

 

This is an article extract; read the full article in Raw Vision #60