New complaint over lack of Dutch-speaking help at Brussels test centre
Share article:
Share article:

New complaint over lack of Dutch-speaking help at Brussels test centre

Credit: Belga

Police were yesterday called to intervene in a dispute between a Dutch-speaking man and the staff of a coronavirus testing centre at Merode in Brussels.

The man came for testing to the centre, and sought to be assisted in Dutch – which ought in principle to be possible. However at that time there was no-one available to help him in Dutch, which led to a dispute. Staff at the centre called the police.

The test centre in Etterbeek is set up with the help of the local commune, and is organised by the Communal Community Council – the body that brings together representatives of the French-speaking community and the Flemish community.

Staff on the ground, however, are representatives of the French-speaking Red Cross.

The man himself, named only as Wim, contacted Bruzz with his story.

When I arrived, the steward spoke to me in French. I answered that I want to be helped in Dutch. The person just continued in French, after which I asked him again to speak to me in Dutch,” he said. Another steward then joined and spoke to me in French as well.”

Related News

 

When Wim said he would like to be helped in Brussels in Dutch, the man replied that “things in Brussels are done in French”.

The police were called, and a police spokesperson said their aim was to calm the situation.

That happened pretty quickly and the man left.”

The police themselves were able to give the man the help he needed.

All government institutions in Brussels must offer bilingual services, stressed Etterbeek councillor for Dutch-speaking affairs, Frank Van Bockstal (CD&V).

We’re not talking about defending an academic thesis in Dutch,” he said. It’s only about basic help and courtesy in Dutch to help people find their way. You just have to be able to say: line up here, keep your distance. This escalation is not acceptable during a health crisis.”

Wim, meanwhile, had to join the end of a long queue after the incident, and chose instead to leave. He took a test later at the testing station in Zaventem, in Flemish Brabant.

Last week a similar situation arose at a testing station at Heysel in Brussels, when a Dutch-speaking woman looking for information was answered only in French,

Alan Hope
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Masks reintroduced indoors, teleworking encouraged
Masks will again be mandatory inside shops and other indoor public spaces, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced in a press conference on ...
Belgium intends to activate the pandemic law, says Health Minister
"We intend to activate the pandemic law," Public Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke confirmed on Tuesday in the House committee, ahead of Tuesday's ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
EU auditors: More worried about the future budget than about pervasive errors in the 2020 budget
The European Court of Auditors (ECA) have signed off the 2020 EU accounts as giving a true and fair view of the union’s financial position but like ...
Belgium aims to tackle sexual violence with video interrogations
The federal government is looking to tackle sexual violence and increase convictions connected to this crime by relying more heavily on video ...
Duvel celebrates 150th anniversary with special brew in commemorative bottle
Belgium’s Duvel Moortgat Brewery is celebrating its 150th anniversary with the release of a special brew in a commemorative bottle shaped like its ...
Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins
The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990. He started by baking big ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...