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Flanders Today to cease publishing on 31 December
Flanders Today is going to cease publication at the end of this year. Flanders Today is published by Ackroyd Publications under contract with the Flemish government’s department of foreign affairs. That department has decided to end the contract and stop publishing the newspaper altogether.
Flanders Today launched in 2007, the brainchild of Geert Bourgeois, who at the time was the minister in charge of media and foreign affairs. He saw that international journalists based in Brussels got their news about Belgium from the French-speaking media and so reported it to the rest of the world from a certain viewpoint.
Bourgeois decided to counter that perspective by offering an English-language newspaper about Flanders and Dutch-speaking Brussels. Besides reporting on government affairs, the new newspaper – called Flanders Today – would cover news, business, education, science, arts and lifestyle.
The minister appeared to be right; people responded quickly to Flanders Today. The weekly print newspaper started out by publishing 14,000 copies, offered via a free subscription. Subscriptions rolled in fast, eventually reaching 40,000. Our readers have always ranged from international journalists to expats living in the region to people living abroad to Flemish people wanting to improve their English.
Bourgeois moved on to become minister-president of Flanders and now a European parliamentarian. In the meantime, Flanders Today launched a daily news service online and continued to publish the weekly print version. The website eventually counted an annual readership of one million.
In 2017, Flanders’ foreign affairs department decided to stop publishing Flanders Today. Ackroyd Publications and many of our readers worked to convince them otherwise through the Save Flanders Today campaign.
We have become a crucial source of news for expats living in Flanders – that has been especially obvious this year
It worked. The government put the project out to bid again, and Ackroyd once again won the bid to publish it. A decreased budget meant that the print version came to an end, but we continued to publish a limited version online.
That was three years ago, and now the decision has come down again to stop publishing Flanders Today. It has been made clear that the decision is final.
We, the editors of Flanders Today, find this of course very unfortunate. We have become a crucial source of news for expats living in Flanders – that has been especially obvious this year in the middle of a pandemic when accurate news in English was crucial.
We have spent 13 years not only telling you what’s going on in Flanders and Brussels but introducing you to places and concepts you never would have discovered otherwise. Many, many of our stories have not been published in English elsewhere.
And so we are sorry that we have to sign off – especially during this difficult time in all of our lives – and end the duty so many of us have grown to cherish over the years.
May we suggest that in the future you turn to our sister publication, The Bulletin, for news and features about this quirky, diverse and wondrous country we call home.
Take care of yourselves, and take care of each other.
Lisa Bradshaw, editor-in-chief
Sally Tipper, deputy editor
and the entire team at Flanders Today