Tervurenaar founds Party for the Trees

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Luk Ferdinand wants nothing more than to return. “You can’t live better than in Tervuren,” he tells Tervuren+. “Of course, I would like to come back because friends and family live here. But Tervuren is also very expensive.”

Raised in Duisburg, Luk is now the founder and top candidate of the newly established Party for the Trees or Partij voor de Bomen (PvdB). “We will definitely run a full list in Flemish Brabant for which we are still looking for candidates and staff. Of course, the intention is to run in the other provinces,” says Luk.

Luk attended primary school in Duisburg. “And then I went to the Heilig Hart College and then the Atheneum,” he says.

No stranger to politics, Luk is also the founder and first chair of Groen Tervuren, a completely separate party from today’s Groen+. In 2019, Luk received 1,496 preferential votes as DierAnimal’s top candidate for the Flemish Parliament.

"Unknown is unloved," Luk admits. "A new party initially attracts ridicule. People are afraid of something new. There are no positions or such to be had with the PvdB. But in 2019, I campaigned with barely €300. It doesn't have to be that expensive," he tells Tervuren+.

Founding the Party for the Trees (PvdB) has not been easy. Five out of seven Flemish parties, including the Partij van de Arbeid (PvdA), refused to sign PvdB’s authorization document. Party finances, limited media attention, electoral thresholds, and name recognition are other major challenges.

“Unknown is unloved,” Luk admits. “A new party initially attracts ridicule. People are afraid of something new. There are no positions or such to be had with the PvdB. But in 2019, I campaigned with barely €300. It doesn’t have to be that expensive,” he tells Tervuren+.

In 2019, I campaigned with barely €300. It doesn’t have to be that expensive

Ecology is a first important point for the PvdB, but also peace, education, affordable housing as well as well-paid and meaningful work for everyone. Other party points include more meditation, tenderness, poetry in society, especially in education. And the PvdB, or Partij voor de Bomen, wants to encourage more volunteering.

“Flanders is not doing so well in terms of forest conservation. More reforestation is needed. There is also a problem with affordable housing, especially in Tervuren.”

And the name PvdB? “PvdA says A. We, the  PvdB, say B. We say something more.”

“The name sounds a bit like the PvdA,  doesn’t it? But the abbreviation for the Partij voor de Bomen is coincidental. We are currently the only party advocating for the well-being and rights of the trees, the forest, and its fauna and flora.”

Tervuren’s politicians compete

Luk will be campaigning for a seat in the Flemish Parliament in the same constituency as Tervuren’s mayor Marc Charlier, from the Flemish National Alliance (N-VA), as well as Flemish liberal Thomas Geyns, from Democrat Tervuren, and Groen’s Bram Peters. But the best chance of gaining a seat is Democrat Tervuren’s second-placed Kristina Eyskens. She is the daughter and granddaughter of former Belgian prime ministers Gaston and Mark. Under a 1899 substitutes law, she should eventually enter Belgium’s federal parliament, come what may.

Photo copyright: Luk Ferdinand. Article is licensed © 2024 by Tervuren+  under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International