- Daily & Weekly newsletters
- Buy & download The Bulletin
- Comment on our articles
EU institutions to add Dutch street names to correspondence
EU institutions located in Brussels have agreed to add Dutch street names to their websites and correspondence. Up until now, the institutions have provided only the French names of streets, although Brussels is officially a bilingual city. But soon the EU headquarters’ famous address Rue de la Loi 200 will also be given as Wetstraat 200.
The change comes as a result of a long-running campaign by Mark Demesmaeker (pictured), who represents N-VA in the European Parliament. “The MEPs and European civil servants who come to Brussels from all over Europe don’t know the city very well,” he said. “But when they consult the official websites and documents, they get the impression that the city where they are guests is a monolingual, French-speaking city.”
Demesmaeker says that the change will lead to EU staff taking a greater interest in Dutch language and culture.
Meanwhile, the government of Flanders has launched a new campaign to persuade Flemish people to speak more Dutch with those who are learning the language. Train commuters in Brussels and Antwerp were handed out badges yesterday to show their willingness to strike up a conversation with fellow passengers in Dutch.
The government has also published a list of guidelines to native speakers on how to talk in Dutch to foreigners, ranging from “speak in short sentences” to “avoid local dialect”.