The so-called “Language Barometer” looks into language use in the Flemish Brabant municipalities around Brussels on behalf of the Flemish Government.
In its latest report the Language Barometer showed that the number of people in the area that speak good Dutch has fallen by 1.1% from 69.6% to 68.5%. The fall has come about manly due to an increase in the percentage of non-Dutch-speaking Belgians living in Flemish municipalities just outside Brussels that are unable to speak Dutch well or have no knowledge of the language at all. 5 years ago 77.5% of the Belgians living in the area that spoke another language than Dutch at home said that they were proficient in the language. In this year’s survey this had fallen back to 76.3%.
Mr Weyts is not happy with the figures “20% of the Francophone Belgians don’t speak a word of Dutch and show no affinity with the local Flemish community. If people give up on our community, we will also give up on them”.
Mr Weyts adds that this all begs the question of whether Belgians that live in Flanders but don’t have a command of Dutch should still be entitled to unemployment benefit of other social benefit payments. “It’s a question of give and take”.
Meanwhile, the percentage of non-Belgians living in the Flemish Brabant municipalities that are adjacent to Brussels that can speak Dutch is 24.5%, 10 percentage points more than in 2014. However, this is still far lower than the percentage of Francophone Belgians living in the area that are proficient in Dutch. Nevertheless, Mr Weyts still says that “Non-Belgians are better Belgians than Francophone Belgians, as they are always more prepared to learn Dutch”.