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Johan Bruyneel Receives 2009 Flanders-America Award
By Staff
Date: 2/27/2009
Johan Bruyneel Receives 2009 Flanders-America Award

Johan Bruyneel Receives 2009 Flanders-America Award
Johann Bruyneel honored by by Flanders House New York.  "... determination, professionalism and winning with integrity. Itís this that Iím most proud of -  not just what we won, but how we won."

On Wednesday night, Johan Bruyneel, the eight-time winning Tour de France sports director received the 2009 Flanders-America Award from the Flanders House New York.

The annual award is given to an individual who has significantly contributed to the relationship between Flanders (a region of Belgium) and America. Bruyneel, most known for leading American cyclist Lance Armstrong to a record seven Tours de France, accepted the award at the opening of the Flanders House New York, an organization created to help promote the economic and cultural interests of Flanders in America.

The award was presented to Bruyneel by Flanders House New York Executive Director Filip Fontaine and Minister-President of Flanders, Kris Peeters. In front of a capacity filled crowd at the New York Times Building.

Bruyneel touched upon the shared values of both Flemings and Americans that led to his historic run with Armstrong. "My success with Lance was based on many shared values that both Flanders and America hold - determination, professionalism and winning with integrity. Itís this that Iím most proud of -  not just what we won, but how we won. We may just be two people, but I think our accomplishments exemplify what happens when individuals, groups, governments and countries come together with the same goals and values."

Armstrong was unable to attend the ceremony, however sent a video message congratulating Bruyneel. "It is an honor to send a video to my coach and longtime friend, Johan Bruyneel. In my opinion, Johan is not only the greatest coach in sports, but in the history of sports. He's clearly not only had an impact on me and other cyclists, but also people from Flanders, America and other countries throughout the world."

Following the ceremony, Flanders House New York hosted a reception, where Bruyneel signed copies of his book, "We Might as Well Win."

For more information on the Flanders House New York, please visit
To learn more about Johan Bruyneel, please visit

Excerpt from an interview with Flanders House New York executive director Philip Fontaine
The complete interview can be read here

What links do you see between Flanders and the United States?
There are strong links between Flanders, the Low Countries and America. We share many values and ideas. This relationship is underestimated and often even misunderstood on both sides of the ocean. The values that came from the Low Countries to America in the 16th and 17th centuries shaped to a large extent the American mentality. America never behaved like any other British colony. From its inception it rebelled against foreign and unelected monarchs and officials. That spirit of urban rebellion came out of Flanders and the Netherlands and was the strongest in the Northern states of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvannia.

 The colony of New Netherland (often referred to as Nova Belgica) was founded by Hollanders, Brabanders, Flemings and Walloons. While these Protestant free thinkers lost the use of the Dutch language, they insisted on protecting and exercising their civil rights as free men in relation to the English. That's what sets the United States of America apart from, say, Australia or Canada. The idea of gaining and maintaining your freedom through your own hard work, 'can do' ability and education comes from our culture. The Ameri- can values of entrepreneurship, world trading and openness are also linked to the Low Countries. Flanders (or the Southern Netherlands) subsequently lost much of this inheritance under centuries of occupation by foreign powers.

There's a story here that was lost of adventurous citizens who sought to build a new society that was more tolerant, open and multicultural. That story became America. People of many races and cultures are given a chance here. English historians wrote that the Puritan English stock settlers had founded America with their arrival at Plymouth Rock, but this is a myth. Many American historians are stating this openly now. Americans are the children of the 16th-century rebels of Flanders and the Low Countries.

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