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    Woluwé-Saint-Lambert sanctioned for language misuse

    ©belga
    ©belga

    The mayor of Woluwé-Saint-Lambert, Olivier Maingain (DéFI), said he was shocked by the recent court ruling against his commune. They have been told they will be fined if they don’t publish identical French and Dutch versions of their local magazine. The commune plans to update the magazine to conform with the legislation on the use of languages and the court’s ruling. 

    The mayor says the content of the two editions (French and Dutch) is identical in every way except for the cultural items, which conforms with the legislation on the use of languages. The mayor told the Belga agency he thought the judge may not have understood that. The magazine is currently distributed according to the language the resident speaks. 

    He says there are two separate editions for economic and ecological reasons: giving all the residents the same bilingual edition would be an enormous waste of paper due to the volume of the publication. The commune will examine the situation during the two-month holiday period, as the magazine isn’t published during this time. 

    On Friday, the Flemish language department of the Brussels First Instance Tribunal ruled against the commune for publishing exclusively French and exclusively Dutch Wolu Info editions. The two mono-language editions now have to have identical content and they have to be distributed in the same way. Otherwise the commune could get a 1,000 euro fine per infraction. 

    On Wednesday, the Flemish Cultural Centre in the “Op-Weule” commune complained that Woluwé-Saint-Lambert is the only commune in the Brussels Region that doesn’t have a Dutch-speaking Cultural coordinator. The commune’s request for one was turned down as Flemish authorities ruled it made too many demands (and it was also late). 

    On Friday, Olivier Maingain said the commune submitted the request despite not being legally obliged to and is ready to take on a coordinator. He said the commune asked for a specialist who could manage the renovation of the commune’s Flemish schools. Communal officials could deal with the other cultural matters. 

    Sarah Johansson
    The Brussels Times