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Belgium in Brief: The Language Of Brussels

The news that Etterbeek is trying to engage foreign citizens more actively in local decision-making by allowing them to do so in English raises an interesting question. 

What’s your Brussels Language? 

For some, this might seem like a pretty obvious question, especially if they happen to be from somewhere francophone. For others, however, it’s a bit less straightforward.

  • Is English your second language, but still the one you use the most? 
  • Do you speak something other than your native tongue at home? 
  • Have you reached a point where you speak a Frankenstein language around the house that’s a mix of a few?

Personally, I have reached a stage that “can you pass me the dinges” is now just normal for me.

So, would making English more official help you? 

According to Brussels Minister for the Promotion of Multilingualism Sven Gatz, who argued the region as a whole can’t ignore the role of English as a language, English should be adopted as an official language in every aspect of daily life.

To Gatz, Belgium now has an opportunity to discuss multilingualism, “discussions that should include a modernisation of the law to consider English as one of the main languages in Brussels,” he told The Brussels Times.

So, where do you stand on this? Would making English more official help integration? Or bring it to a halt? Let @johnstonjules know.

BUT WAIT, one last thing: Want news from The Brussels Times in your inbox every morning? Sign up for The Recap, a free daily newsletter containing all the stories you need to know from the day before. It goes great with your morning coffee. 

Belgium in Brief is a free daily roundup of the top stories to get you through your lunch break conversations. To receive it straight to your inbox every day, sign up below:



1. Belgium advised to only allow entry to fully vaccinated travellers

Belgium’s different health ministers only want to allow entry to travellers who have been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus first, they stated in official advice to Friday’s Consultative Committee. Read more.

2. Etterbeek gives English a seat at the table on local life

One Brussels commune, Etterbeek, has created a new project to engage foreign citizens more actively in local decision-making by allowing them to do so in English for the first time. Read more.

3. Brussels looks to recover 120,000 doses given to residents of other regions

Brussels Minister of Health Alain Maron asked for 120,000 doses to be recovered in Brussels, following reports that vaccines were given to non-residents of the region, during a meeting between the country’s health ministers on Wednesday. Read more.

4. Flanders insists on same closing hour for indoor and outdoor hospitality

The Flemish government will insist on implementing the same closing time for the indoor and outdoor areas of the hospitality industry, according to Flemish Vice-Minister President Hilde Crevits. Read more.

5. Nine out of ten restaurants in Belgium ready to reopen next week

Over 90% of restaurants in Belgium are planning to reopen on Wednesday next week, when the hospitality sector can reopen indoor areas, according to a survey by restaurant booking platform The Fork. Read more.

6. Evidence of ‘endemic racism’ among Brussels fire and emergency medical services

Unia, an independent public institution that fights discrimination and promotes equal opportunities in Belgium, says they have compiled evidence of racism within SIAMU, which provides emergency medical assistance to victims of accidents or medical emergencies in Brussels. Read more.

7. France to vaccinate children aged over 12 from mid-June

The French government announced on Wednesday that people aged between 12 and 18 will be able to receive a coronavirus vaccine from 15 June. Read more.

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