Communication is an art, we all know that but in Belgium it is a very special art.
In Belgium, communication is not only about words and emotions, it is essentially about emotions and politics.
For a population of 11.239 million on an area of 30,528 square kilometers we not only count 2 Kings, 2 Queens and 6 governments but also 3 different official languages.
Yes, Belgium has 3 official languages:
So when we meet we say:
Dutch: Goeie dag!
German: guter Tag!
Now you think everybody in Belgium is at least trilingual and we all speak the 3 languages everywhere in the country?
No, that would be much too simple!!
No, each of these languages is spoken in delineated areas.
The language spoken in a specific area is also the language of administration for that area.
So now I hear you thinking:
“Belgium must be divided in 3 areas: the Dutch area, the French area and the German area”.
That again would have been far too easy!
No!!! Belgium counts 4 language areas:
- the Dutch language area
- the French language area
- the German language area
- the bilingual Brussels-Capital area: French and Dutch.
Are you still with me?????????????????
I hope so because this is not yet the end.
Take a deep breath and stay focused.
In the Dutch and French areas there are a few cities, 27 to be exact with “facilities”.
That means that people there can choose an other official language than the one officially spoken.
Héy!!!!!!! Where are you????? Lost????
No panic, we manage so you should too!!!
And to make it just a little bit more complicated beside the 3 official languages a lot of people still speak dialects.
I think this is enough for one day, but before leaving you, I want to share with you a new tremendous idea our Flemish minister of education had a time ago.
He seems to think we still need to make it all a little more complicated and made the following suggestion:
“If Brussels aspires to be an international city, it should make English an official language”
Now I am speechless.
What about you????