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Flemish Brabant governor cancels Kraainem's plans to create a language register

Jan Spooren, the governor of the province of Flemish Brabant, pictured during a plenary session of the Chamber at the Federal Parliament in Brussels. (BELGA PHOTO BENOIT DOPPAGNE)
05:55 17/06/2021

The governor of the province of Flemish Brabant, Jan Spooren, has cancelled the municipal council of Kraainem’s project to create a linguistic register.

The municipal council of the officially Dutch-speaking commune decided at the end of March to set up a register with the names of residents who could indicate whether they wished to receive official documents in French over the next four years. According to the governor, this is contrary to language legislation.

After the municipal council decided to set up the register, a complaint was lodged with the provincial executive by the local president of the New Flemish Alliance party (N-VA), Joost Vanfleteren.

"The establishment of a linguistic register and the distribution of bilingual leaflets is illegal and turns municipalities into bilingual municipalities like those in Brussels, where the language preference is recorded in files. This is unacceptable," Vanfleteren said.

Governor Jan Spooren agreed by saying that it is clearly stated in language legislation, and more particularly in recent circulars, that the keeping of a register is not permitted.

Residents of certain Dutch-speaking municipalities bordering Brussels, who wish to receive documents in French or be assisted in French by administrative bodies, must indicate this each time. A person cannot say once that for the next four years he or she wants to be served in French, Spooren said.

It is not known at this time whether the municipality of Kraainem will appeal the province's decision.



Oppressed in Oppem

Makes very little sense. 3/4 of Kraainem's residents are francophones, to continue sending them material in Dutch is just going to marginalise their participation in civic life. Even more so since Kraainem is supposed to be a municipality with language facilities. The same system of language preference also operates in Wezembeek-Oppem so I'm hoping Kraainem will appeal this absurd decision.

Jun 17, 2021 16:19

This reminds of when the mayor of De Panne/La Panne decided to included a paragraph or two in French in the village's newsletter. A lot of French people from France had purchased holiday flats and he thought it would be nice for them to be informed about what was going on in the village. The Flemish government stepped in there as well, crying it was 'against the language laws' and so the dreaded/hated French language had to disappear from the newsletter. This too is Belgium, sadly. Pettiness and bitterness is a way of life for some.

Jun 18, 2021 10:53