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MP calls for 'Dutch Day' once a week in Brussels

10:36 05/03/2019

Dutch-speakers in Brussels should refuse to speak any other language on a given day each week, a Belgian federal MP has suggested.

Hendrik Bogaert (CD&V) said introducing a "Dutch day" in the capital would demonstrate "how much Dutch-speakers make daily concessions to adapt" to life in Brussels.

"Dutch-speakers in Brussels are the ones who must always make concessions on the language front, in this very French-speaking city," Bogaert told Bruzz. "It must change."

He added: "I am pleading for one day a week, Mondays for example, during which the Flemish of Brussels communicate only in Dutch."

The proposal comes after new figures from the interior ministry this week revealed that 40% of police officers in Brussels cannot speak Dutch. Being bilingual is a legal requirement for the job.

The research found that 3,648 of the 6,288 police officers are bilingual - and that 98% of officers in the Brussels region have French as their first language.

Brussels' state secretary for equal opportunities, Bianca Debaets (CD&V), disagrees with her fellow party member's proposal.

"The language that someone chooses to speak in Brussels is a totally private matter," Debaets said. But she added: "It is absolutely essential that the Brussels authorities master Dutch as well as French."

Written by The Bulletin


Passive energy

German speakers never have the possibility to express themselves in their native language, even though there is a German speaking community in this country and German is an official language.

Mar 5, 2019 13:29

German is widely spoken in the east of Belgium and I rarely speak French when I'm in the area.

However, it is not an official language in Brussels (the subject of this article), Dutch is.

Mar 5, 2019 17:07
Frank Lee

In a restaurant on the Grand Sablon, I once witnessed two guys speaking Dutch who addressed the waiting staff in French. It struck me as odd. Dutch speakers in Brussels should always use their own language in dealing with businesses and administrations. I was born in Brussels from French-speaking parents, got all my schooling in French, but I never considered the city as a French-only place. It's the capital of a country with a Dutch-speaking majority, and the capital of a multilingual EU. It's not that hard to learn another language, particularly when you live in the country where it is spoken. The problem with many speakers of French in Belgium is that they watch so many French television programmes that they forget they are Belgians. They believe Macron is their president and the Marseillaise their national anthem.

Mar 6, 2019 12:16