Landolia, a World of Photos
Latest Photos of the World in RSS feed
Sign In

Brussels, Belgium

 Posted by , November 14, 2010 at 08:44:02 :: Belgium

Brussels (French: Bruxelles, pronounced [bʁysɛl]; Dutch: Brussel, pronounced [ˈbrʏsəl]), officially the Brussels Region or Brussels-Capital Region (French: Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, Dutch: About this sound Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest), is the de facto capital city of the European Union (EU) and the largest urban area in Belgium. It comprises 19 municipalities, including the City of Brussels proper, which is the constitutional capital of Belgium, the seat of the French Community of Belgium and of the Flemish Community.

Manneken-pis ou Petit Julien, petite statue en bronze d'un petit garçon en train d'uriner, situé dans le quartier Saint-Jacques à Bruxelles, en Belgique


Brussels has grown from a 10th-century fortress town founded by a descendant of Charlemagne into a metropolis of more than one million inhabitants. The metropolitan area has a population of over 1.8 million, making it the largest in Belgium.

Since the founding of the Kingdom of Belgium in 1830, Brussels has transformed from being almost entirely Dutch-speaking, (Brabantian to be exact), to being a multilingual city with French (specifically Belgian French) as the majority language and lingua franca. This language shift, the Frenchification of Brussels, is rooted in the 18th century and accelerated after Belgium became independent and Brussels expanded past its original boundaries.

Not only is French-speaking immigration responsible for the Frenchification of Brussels, but more importantly the language change over several generations from Dutch to French was performed in Brussels by the Flemish people themselves. The main reason for this was the political, administrative and social pressure, partly based on the low social prestige of the Dutch language in Belgium at the time. From 1880 on, more and more Dutch-speaking people became bilingual, resulting in a rise of monolingual French-speakers after 1910. Halfway through the 20th century the number of monolingual French-speakers carried the day over the mostly bilingual Flemish inhabitants.

Only since the 1960s, after the fixation of the Belgian language border and the socio-economic development of Flanders was in full effect, could Dutch stem the tide of increasing French use. Through immigration, a further number of formerly Dutch-speaking municipalities in surrounding Flanders became majority French-speaking in the second half of the 20th century. This phenomenon is, together with the future of Brussels, one of the most controversial topics in all of Belgian politics.

Brussels Grand Place


Given its Dutch-speaking origins and the role that Brussels plays as the capital city in a bilingual country, Flemish political parties demand that the entire Brussels-Capital Region be fully bilingual, including its subdivisions and public services. They also demand that the contested Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde arrondissement will be separated from the Brussels region. However, the French-speaking population regards the language border as artificial and demands the extension of the bilingual region to at least all six municipalities with language facilities in the surroundings of Brussels. Flemish politicians have strongly rejected these proposals.

What will happen to Brussels now? Wait and see! :)

Meanwhile, visit Brussels and Belgium on Landolia.


About Simon Laroche
Simon Laroche on Google+
Simon Laroche on Twitter
Simon Laroche on Facebook
Simon Laroche on Pinterest
Simon Laroche on LinkedIn
: Coder, Designer, Webmaster and Expert SEO Consulting, Simon Laroche is also a wise traveller and an avid amateur photographer. He created the website Landolia and many others...

You like this post? Share it!


Leave a comments

Your Name or Pseudo
Your Email (not displayed)


On the companion Blog to Landolia, choose your next destination, and prepare your trip. Do you have an interesting travel article? If so Contact us and share it.

Categories

Archives