Brussels youth should be trilingual by 18, says Flemish Culture Minister

Brussels youth should be trilingual by 18, says Flemish Culture Minister
© Office of Sven Gatz

Sven Gatz (Open Vld), Vice Minister-President of the Flemish Government and Flemish Minister for Brussels’ Affairs and Culture has launched a campaign to promote multilingualism with youngsters. At over 50 locations across the 19 communes of Brussels, a message was sprayed on the pavement using a pressure cleaner. The image shows a Brussels’ child writing down his love for the capital in multiple languages.

With this campaign, Gatz aims for far-reaching cooperation among Dutch and French-speaking schools, and calls for a Brussels’ Minister for Multilingualism, who will listen to the concerns of different partners in the field and draw up an action plan to boost the knowledge of the three most spoken languages, in all layers of the Brussels’ society.

With more than 100 languages spoken, housing people from all over the world, Brussels is the second most cosmopolitan city in the world. In order to feel at home in such an environment, languages are the key to success, Gatz said.

“Sharing a language with one another allows for building a society in which people enjoy living, where they want to make an effort to keep it clean and fun,” Gatz said in a press statement. “I am convinced that a big city such as Brussels can strive towards this,” he added.

Gatz wants to ensure that the youngsters of Brussels view multilingualism as a natural resource that will help secure their future. “The goal is to turn as many youngsters in Brussels into trilingual citizens, speaking Dutch, French, and English, as possible. I am asking every Dutch-speaking school to enrol into far-reaching cooperation with a French-speaking school in their areas. Catch them young,” Gatz added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

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