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Flanders to invest €1 million for more Dutch in Brussels

Credit: Belga

The Flemish Community Commission (VGC) will invest €1 million over the next five years to ensure a better spread of Dutch in Brussels, Brussels minister Sven Gatz announced on Tuesday.

The goal of the money is “to support Dutch in Brussels with a mature target audience,” Gatz said in a press release.

Specifically, the money will go to Huis van het Nederlands (House of Dutch), an organisation that helps people and businesses in Brussels with all things Dutch.

The VGC and the House of Dutch will work on five major pillars, Gatz said.

“First of all, the House directs the Brussels offer of Dutch as a second language, monitors its quality and develops new initiatives tailored to the Brussels context in which the students follow lessons,” Gatz explained.

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“The House will also provide support to organisations from our Dutch-speaking network and, in a second order, to Brussels-based companies and authorities wishing to open their operations to a multilingual public,” he continued. “The House will provide a tailor-made offer for the provision of Dutch-speaking services.”

Language issues in Brussels have come to light in a coronavirus context several times recently, after a woman was not able to receive adequate assistance in Dutch at the Heysel vaccination centre, and a similar, more recent incident, with a Dutch-speaking man at the coronavirus test centre by the Parc du Cinquantenaire.

Gatz told The Brussels Times that such incidents “highlight that the sensitivity between French- and Dutch-speakers in the city is still present,” and promised to bring the issue up with the Council of Ministers.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times