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Ixelles breaks down French- and Dutch-speaking cultural divide
Ixelles is claiming a first in Brussels by merging its French- and Dutch-speaking cultural offer - including libraries, theatres and artists' residencies.
The municipality wants to offer a completely bilingual cultural experience to residents, many of whom have been asking for the barriers between the two linguistic communities to be removed.
Ixelles' French- and Dutch-speaking culture teams are now working together, in the same office, to draw up a common cultural policy and agenda for the next five years.
"Some people don't realise we have two libraries," said Céline Letartre, the municipality's head of libraries. "That's one of the issues that this merger should solve."
Three extra workers, who are bilingual, have been hired to help bring the two teams together and share best practices.
"This is just the beginning," said Els Gossé, the alderwoman for Dutch-speaking culture in Ixelles. "Little by little, we will work together on joint projects."
Ixelles already has a multilingual literary festival, Living Stories, in which the two municipal libraries co-operate.