The Flemish dialect of Dutch is on the decline as the first language of Flanders’ youth, N-VA (New Flemish Alliance) MP Vera Celis concluded, based on various parliamentary answers. In the 2017-2018 school year, 21.5% of primary school pupils in Flanders did not speak it at home, compared to 17.6% five years earlier. The trend is the same at secondary level, where the proportion rose from 11.7% in 2012-2013 to 16.7% in 2017-2018.
The phenomenon affects all Flemish provinces. In Antwerp the mother tongue of 46% of primary school pupils is not Flemish; a third in Ghent and 28% in Ostend.
As for the Brussels outskirts, this proportion is over the 50% mark: 62% in Sint-Genesius-Rode, 60% in Machelen, 57% in Vilvoorde and 54.8% in Zaventem.
“These figures demonstrate that measures to improve the linguistic deficit of children and young people remain indispensable,” Celis said.