Kingdom of Robland
This is the name of a micronation created by Belgian comedian/celebrity Rob Vanoudenhoven. The genesis of this country was inspired by How to Start Your Own Country, a 5-part series on BBC2 that began airing in August of 2005. The program, which was presented by Danny Wallace, documented his trials and tribulations in attempting to found Lovely, a micronation located in his London flat. Apparently, the Flemish commercial television station VTM acquired legal rights to produce and broadcast its own show based on the same format. In the ensuing episodes of Robland, Vanoudenhoven declares himself King Rob I and travels the world seeking advice on how to run his new nation. The first episode, which aired on April 9th, 2006 received an average of 673,000 viewers. The following episodes fared even worse in the ratings: an average of 511,000 for the second episode, 380,000 for the third, and 339,000 for the fourth. It is not known how many people watched the subsequent programs, because the CIM (Centrum voor Informatie over de Media) only gives those figures for the 20 most-watched programs.
On April 10, 2006, Vanoudenhoven invaded the municipality of Gingelom, where he planned to declare the independence of Robland. On the day of this event, the army of Robland posted flyers all over the village and gave pamphlets to the local population with roughly the following text (for the translation, I am grateful to Mr. Peter Geelen): “Gingelom becomes Robland. The moment you read this, you will be occupied. From today Gingelom will be under the authority of king Rob I. But don't panic, because we come in peace. You are therefore welcome to go on with what you were doing — unless it is something illegal of course, because that is not allowed. For the time being everything will remain the same, only the name of the village will change immediately. Not only does Gingelom sound like a word from an infant rhyme, it is also totally unpronounceable for our friends in the province of West-Vlaanderen...That's why I, king Rob I, rebaptize Gingelom officially to Robland. Because of this, you are from now on a Robiaan. We expect you to behave yourself: be pleasant to everyone, courteous in traffic and see that your armpits are always neatly washed. Shortly we will hold a speech which will clear up everything. Should you nevertheless still have some questions, you can ask them afterwards.” Gingelom's Web-site was also temporarily hacked. After some days, the leader of Robland was deliberately “arrested” by the police. He then decided to establish his kingdom in a small part of the community of Wijgmaal (in Leuven), where most of the “Robianen” reside (almost every inhabitant of Wijgmaal is purportedly a citizen of Robland). The size of this territory is about 1.5 square kilometers.
On April 20th, King Rob sent an official declaration of independence to the Belgian Prime Minister, Guy Verhofstadt. On April 23rd, the all-female government of Robland was introduced; some of the offbeat offices included Minister of Public Health and Gastronomy, Minister of Environment and Intimacy, Minister of Male Affairs and Other Small Domestic Animals, Minister of Agriculture and Relaxation. That same day, Robland's poetic constitution was adopted. The laws of Robland were announced on April 30th. Its Head of State also attempted to gain recognition from the United Nations. He had a meeting with Shashi Tharoor (Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information) on May 27th, but his mission was not successful. King Rob's next step was to buy a part of the moon from the Lunar Embassy (“the official founders and leaders of the extraterrestrial real estate market”) and to parcel this land out to the citizens of Robland. Its flag was designed by kindergarteners. Its anthem was composed by Vanoudenhoven's personal friends.

The Robbie is the official currency of Robland. The May 28th edition of De Robkrant (one of the Internet “newspapers” that focuses on Robland; another well-known one is the Het Robiaans Nieuws) recounts an important event from episode #5, in which King Rob decided that his micro-nation was in need of its own coinage. He then spoke with his good friend Raf (a banker), who suggested that they issue 50,000 pieces. The undated Robbie, which bears an image of Koning Rob I, was indeed made available as of May 8th, and could be purchased at any branch of Dexia Bank, by any of its clients as well by any Robiaan.
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