In an age of transnational economic and political integration, it is surprisingly rare to find a social scientist reflecting on the lessons of cross-national comparison. At first glance, there may be little to suggest why a comparison between Belgium and Britain should be instructive. The former is a small country geographically located in the heart of Europe and housing the putative capital. The latter has a large population by European standards but is struggling to reconcile a proud, but insular, history - and 'special relationship' to the United States - with the economic imperative of union with the Continent. Yet on closer inspection there are intriguing similarities. Both countries have learnt some lessons from colonial adventures, both contain 'nations within nations' and both have incorporated significant populations of migrants from outside Europe since 1945. Both, in other words, have had to confront the challenge of 'multiculturalism'. One has had to build an approach from a starting point where a deep rift exists between two constituent 'nations,' the other from an equally profound colonial experience which produced a legacy of racial and ethnic categorization. Yet the situation is anything but static as Britain experiences a resurgence of regional (or national) pride and Belgium confronts the realities of offering citizenship to the descendants of recent migrants.