Flemish people to have ‘reserved’ properties in Brussels Periphery
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    Flemish people to have ‘reserved’ properties in Brussels Periphery

    A street in Wemmel, a Flemish municipality in the Brussels Periphery. Credit: Google Street View

    The new Flemish government wants to reserve plots of land for Flemish residents in the Brussels Periphery in order to safeguard their “right to live in their own region.”

    The measure cites the rising prices of property in the area, which encircles Brussels but is part of the Flemish region, as a central motivation to the measure.

    The initiative has been criticised as a revival of a previous measure, wonen in eigen streek, which had similar intents and was declared null by Belgium’s Constitutional Court.

    “The right to live in one’s own region is self-evident,” the agreement, cited in BX1, reads. “Many young people and families are discouraged by rising rental and living prices [there].”

    The measure would seek to modify a properties decree in order to get the 19 Flemish municipalities in the Brussels Periphery —some of which have essentially become suburbs to the capital city— to allocate plots of land for “residents who can prove they have a clear link with a municipality or with the region.”

    “What’s most important is to ensure that the Flemish Periphery keeps its value,” Liesbeth Homans, the new president of the Flemish parliament said, referring to the Brussels Periphery.

    Homans also said that it was important for Flemish people to continue living there, adding that “everyone who came live there must know that Dutch is the main language.”

    “Flemish people should not disappear from the Periphery as Francophones come to settle in there,” Homans added.

    But the measure was seen by some observers as discriminatory for Francophones as well as for all non-Dutch-speakers and criticised as an “identitarian” fallback.

    “These are measures which target the rights not only of French-speakers but of all non-Dutch speakers, including foreigners,” federal MP Sophie Rohonyi said, adding that the measure signalled a fallback to questions of Flemish identity.

    Gabriela Galindo
    The Brussels Times