"Flemings don't live in the street, they live in houses"

Moroccans in their home country and in Belgium are not happy with a new Flemish brochure that was presented in Morocco yesterday. The leaflet is aimed at informing Moroccans considering establishing a new life in Flanders. The Flemish minister responsible for Integration, Geert Bourgeois, defends the leaflet.

The brochure "Migrating to Flanders" will be handed out in Morocco to Moroccans who are thinking of moving to Belgium. The leaflet however contains some "controversial" sentences, Moroccans claim.

It says for example that "Flemings don't live in the street. They mainly live in their house", "Hurting someone, also your partner or children, is forbidden" and "Life in Flanders is expensive. In most families both partners are working to be able to pay for everything."

The Moroccan community in Belgium is not happy with the text, which has also triggered criticism in Morocco as it can suggest certain things.

The Flemish minister responsible for Integration, Geert Bourgeois (Flemish nationalist) defends the brochure. "You have to look at the target group. People with a university degree who come to Flanders gather the information they need elsewhere. It's important to have a brochure providing basic information for the less educated."

However, one could ask the question whether we are all "good" Flemings ourselves. "Children should be in school in time", "People don't just visit each other, they make an appointment first" and "Flemings eat vegetables, fruits, potatoes, pasta and rice", are a couple of other extracts. 

Other extracts from the brochure "Migrating to Flanders"

  • The weather is unstable and it often rains there.
  • Different as the people may be, everyone is equal. Everybody has the same rights and duties, regardless of sex, religion, background, income, physical appearances, sexual preferences... Man and woman are equal. They enjoy the same rights, both at home and at work.
  • Those who work, should also pay taxes.
  • Most Flemings try to live a healthy life.
  • Flemings are punctual: if you have to do something at 9 o'clock, you should also do it at 9 o'clock.
  • People don't just pop in unexpectedly. They usually make an appointment first. They like their privacy.