A municipality in Flemish Brabant is asking stallholders at the weekly market to first use Dutch when interacting with customers or risk a penalty, according to reports.
Stall owners at the Tuesday market in Asse will risk a penalty or even losing their market licence if they refuse the measure, reports de Standaard, HLN and VRT.
The change is a result of a recently approved amendment to market regulations. This change not only states that the market vendors may only use Dutch in their written communication, but also that they must use it as their first language when communicating with customers.
Dutch language continues to be under pressure in the periphery of Brussels due to an increase in French speakers moving to the region, according to reports.
"We are and will remain a Dutch-speaking congregation, which is why we want to strongly encourage the use of our language', alderman Sigrid Goethals (N-VA) told HLN. "The use of Dutch ensures that newcomers can successfully integrate into society and the labour market," she added.
Community guards will monitor the regulation.
"We will, of course, raise awareness first," said Goethals. “But we can sanction those who willfully refuse to use Dutch. We can then withdraw the permit," she added.
The Brussels Times