"Unity makes strength" (Bulgarian: Съединението прави
силата; Dutch: Eendracht maakt macht, pronounced [ˈeːndrɑxt
maːkt mɑxt] ( listen); French: L'union fait la force) is a
motto that has been used by various nations and entities throughout
history. Currently, it is used by
Haiti on the national
coat of arms and is the national motto of
Belgium and Bulgaria.
The motto was originally used by the Dutch Republic. It was derived
Latin phrase concordia res parvae crescunt ("small things
flourish by concord"), used in the
Bellum Iugurthinum of Roman
Republican writer Sallust.
Netherlands, gold ducat (1729) with the motto concordia res parvae
crescent on the obverse, found in the
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (VOC)
shipwreck 't Vliegend Hert
The similar moral of the Aesopic fable "The Old Man and his Sons" has
been rendered in various related ways: "All power is weak unless
united" (1668), "Unity makes strength, strife wastes" (1685),
"Strength lies in union" (1867), "Strength is in unity" (1887),
"Unity is strength" (title), "Union gives strength" (moral) (1894),
"Union is strength" (1912), "In unity is strength" (1919);
although older versions are more specific: "Brotherly love is the
greatest good in life and often lifts the humble higher" (2nd
century), "Just as concord supplies potency in human affairs, so a
quarrelsome life deprives people of their strength" (16th
1.9 South African Republic
1.10 United States
2 Other uses
3 See also
The motto was used by
Belgium after its Revolution of 1830, initially
only in its French form "L'union fait la force". Only when Dutch was
made equal in status to French did the Belgian state also take
"Eendracht maakt macht" as its motto, sometimes with the variant
"Eenheid baart macht". In 1830, this unity was identified with the
unification of Belgium's nine provinces, whose nine provincial coats
of arms are represented on the national arms, and the new country's
unification of its liberal progressives and Catholic conservatives.
Indeed, it was launched in 1827-1828 by newspapers published in Liège
which allied liberals and Catholics in the unionism which brought
about the Revolution and which then dominated Belgian politics until
the founding of the Liberal Party in 1846. Although the motto is often
used in Belgicist or unitarist circles (as a call to Flemings and
Walloons, natives of Brussels and German speakers, all to maintain
Belgium's unity), this is a historical misinterpretation — the motto
is a unionist, not a unitarist, slogan. Its German version is
"Einigkeit macht stark". Flemings sometimes parody the motto by
chanting it as "L'union fait la farce" ("Union makes a farce") or
"L'oignon fait la farce" ("The onion makes the filling"), trivialising
it as a cooking recipe.
Unity makes strength
Unity makes strength (Bulgarian: Съединението прави
силата) as the motto on the Coat of arms of Bulgaria
Main article: Coat of arms of Bulgaria
Bulgarian unification and after Ferdinand of the House
of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha took over the throne of the Principality of
Bulgaria, the country adopted Belgium's motto of L'union fait la force
(in Bulgarian: Съединението прави силата).
After the king was deposed, it was the country's motto until 1948.
After the fall of the People's Republic of
Bulgaria and the end of
Communist rule in the 1990s, the parties debated what should be the
country's new coat of arms, deciding on a modified version of its
former royal coat of arms. However, the Bulgarian motto also
represents the last words of khan Kubrat, the founder of Old Great
Bulgaria in 632 AD, and is likely rooted much earlier in Bulgarian
symbolics than in other European states.
At the second national convention of
Acadians in 1884 "L'union fait la
force" was chosen as the national motto of Acadia and appeared in the
coat of arms of Société nationale de l'Acadie in 1995.
Dzala ertobashia (Georgian: ძალა ერთობაშია,
"Strength is in Unity") is the official motto of Georgia.
The phrase is first recorded in Homer as "Strength in Unity" (Greek:
"Ἡ ἰσχύς ἐν τῇ ἐνώσει").[dubious – discuss]
Main article: Coat of arms of Haiti
Current coat of arms of Haiti
One of the oldest uses of the term written in the French language, is
known since 1807, on Haiti's national coat of arms bearing the motto,
"L'union fait la force". Although, it should not be confused with the
national motto of Haiti, which according to the Constitution of Haiti
is "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity."
An early design of the coat of arms for the Federation of Malaya
(present day Peninsular Malaysia) in used between 1948 and 1963
adopted a variation of the motto, "Unity is Strength", rendered in
both English and Jawi. Following the admission of three more states
into the federation in 1963, the English motto of the arms was
replaced by a rough Malay translation, Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu
(literally "Unity Improves Quality"), while the Jawi motto remained
Former coat of arms of the Netherlands
The motto was recorded for the first time in the
Netherlands in the
book Gemeene Duytsche Spreekwoorden ("Common Dutch Proverbs") in 1550,
whilst the area was still within the
Spanish Empire and under the rule
of Charles V. After the Dutch gained independence, the new Dutch
Republic took over the phrase as its motto and it appeared on several
of its coins and coats of arms, usually in the original
referring to the new state's initially small territorial size. From
the late 16th century onwards the start of the motto was frequently
used on Dutch coinage, such as the Leicester-rijksdaalder in 1586.
The French occupied the
Netherlands from 1795 to 1813, first as the
Batavian Republic then the
Kingdom of Holland
Kingdom of Holland then as an annexed part
of France itself. Early in the occupation the national motto was
changed to "Gelykheid, Vryheid, Broederschap" (Equality, Liberty,
Fraternity), but from 1802 to 1810 'Unity makes strength' was
re-introduced. It remained in use until the institution of the United
Kingdom of the
Netherlands when, in 1816, it switched to the House of
Orange motto 'Je maintiendrai'.
South African Republic
'Eendragt maakt magt' as the motto on the coat of arms of the South
On 17 January 1852 the United Kingdom, ruler of the Cape Colony,
approved the independence of the
South African Republic
South African Republic in the Sand
River Convention. "Eendragt maakt magt" was the motto on the new
state's shield and in 1888 it decided it should only use high Dutch
(not Afrikaans) as its only official language. Rendered in Latin, the
motto of the
Union of South Africa
Union of South Africa from 1910 until 1961 was "Ex
Unitate Vires" ("Out of Unity, Strength"). After 1961, as the Republic
of South Africa, the motto was rendered on coins in both
"Eendrag maak mag") and in English (as "Unity is Strength"). The
motto was changed in 2000 to "ǃke e: ǀxarra ǁke" which is "Unity in
Diversity" written in ǀXam.
The motto of Brooklyn, a borough of
New York City
New York City founded by Dutch
settlers, is "Eendraght maeckt maght". It appears on Brooklyn's seal
and flag. Additionally, it is the motto of The Collegiate School, the
oldest primary and secondary school in the United States. The motto
Eendragt maakt magt also appears on the badge of the police force of
Holland, Michigan, combined with God zij met ons (God be with us).
Eendragt maakt Magt was a noble-society (Heeren-Sociëteit) founded in
Rotterdam in 1830, originally based in the Kralingse Plaslaan. It
originally held weekly meetings in the Den Otter coffee house on the
corner of the Hoflaan and the Honingerdijk. On 1 May 1865 the
Association of Shareholders began fundraising for a private building
for the society. This coincided with the fiftieth anniversary of the
Battle of Waterloo, which was one reason the society took the motto of
king William II of the Netherlands. The architect
Jan Verheul designed
the new building and it opened in 1903 on the corner of the Oudedijk
and Waterloostraat. In 1980 the building was demolished to make way
Caland Line metro route, after saving a section of its ornate
art nouveau facade (giving the club's name between glazed tiles and
leaf patterns) was built into the nearby Voorschoterlaan station.
The name was also used as the business name of the tailors "Eendracht
maakt macht", who in 1910 decided to rent a building on
Oranjeboomstraat in Rotterdam, as a joint workshop-office to move
their office out of their home. The fine dust from the finished goods
caused many to suffer from emphysema and a larger workplace named
"Eendracht maakt macht" was built.
The motto was also used by
Helena Blavatsky in her editorials, in
response to the internal feuding which often affected the Theosophical
The motto of the fascist British government in the
Doctor Who serial
Inferno, mainly set in an alternate world, was "Unity is Strength,"
based on the slogan "Union is Strength" used by Oswald Mosley's
contemporary Union Movement. Similarly, Norsefire, the fascist
British government in the 2005 film V for Vendetta uses "Strength
through Unity" (along with "Unity through Faith") as a prominent
Latin form concordia res parvae crescunt is used by various
Ateneum in Helsinki, Finland; the former mortgage
Riga, Latvia (now the Foreign Ministry).
Skilurus, a legendary Scythian king who taught the same moral by
instructing his sons to break a bundle of arrows
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Unity makes strength.
^ Bellum Iugurthinum, Chapter 10. Full quotation: nam concordia parvae
res crescunt, discordia maximae dilabuntur ("concord will make small
things flourish, discord will destroy great things"). It also appears
in Seneca the Younger's Letters to Lucilius (XCIV, 46).
^ "Toute puissance est faible, à moins que d'être unie", Jean de La
Fontaine, "Le Vieillard et ses enfants" 1668
^ Pieter de la Court, "Een Boer ende seeven twistende Soonen", Sinryke
Fabulen, Amsterdam, 1685, pp.599-608
^ Edward Garrett, London, 1867, pp.83-4
^ W.J. Linton, The Baby's Own Aesop, 1887.
^ Joseph Jacobs, The Fables of Aesop, 1894.
^ V.S. Vernon Jones, Aesop's Fables: A New Translation, 1912.
Aesop for Children, 1919
Hieronymus Osius Fable 53
^ The Report: Emerging
Bulgaria 2007. Oxford Business Group. 2007.
p. 8. ISBN 9781902339672. Retrieved 9 November 2011. The
motto is Saedinenieto Pravi Silata, meaning "unity makes strength",
said to be the last words of Khan Kubrat, the legendary founder of Old
Bulgaria in 632.
^ "Société nationale de l'Acadie [Civil Institution]". Reg.gg.ca.
2004-02-25. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
^ "Flags of
Haiti 1697-1986". Retrieved 25 April 2014.
^ "National Arms Of Haiti". Ngw.nl. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
^ "EENDRAGT MAAKT MAGT. Uit J.H. Swildens Vaderlandsch A-B boek voor
de Nederlansche jeugd (1781)". DBNL.nl. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
^ The South African 2 Rand Gold Coin, Coininvest
^ "Societeit Eendragt maakt Magt". Engelfriet.net. 1941-09-04.
^ Chocano, Carina (17 March 2006). "V for Vendetta". Los Angeles
Times. Retrieved 8 January 2013.
^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Latvia, "The Latvian
Foreign Ministry Building through the Arches of Time