Flemish Community

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Flemish Community

Vlaamse Gemeenschap  (Dutch)
Flag of Flanders.svg
Flag
Vlaanderen wapen.svg
Coat of arms
Vlaamse Gemeenschap in Belgium.svg
Flemish Community in Belgium and Europe.svg
Country Belgium
Established1980
Capital Brussels
Government
  Executive Flemish Government
   Governing parties (2014–2019) N-VA, CD&V, Open Vld
   Minister-President Geert Bourgeois (N-VA)
  Legislature Flemish Parliament
   Speaker Jan Peumans (N-VA)
Population
  Total±6,450,000 [1]
Celebration Day July 11
Language Dutch
Website www.vlaanderen.be

The term Flemish Community (Dutch : Vlaamse Gemeenschap [ˈvlaːmsə ɣəˈmeːnsxɑp] ( Loudspeaker.svg listen ); French : Communauté flamande [kɔmynote flamɑ̃d] ; German : Flämische Gemeinschaft [ˈflɛːmɪʃə ɡəˈmaɪ̯nʃaft] ) has two distinct, though related, meanings:

Dutch language West Germanic language

Dutch(Nederlands ) is a West Germanic language spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and 5 million people as a second language, constituting the majority of people in the Netherlands and Belgium. It is the third-most-widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives English and German.

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol in Italy, the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Contents

  1. Culturally and sociologically, it refers to Flemish organizations, media, social and cultural life; alternative expressions for this concept might be the "Flemish people" or the "Flemish nation". The term "community" should then not be capitalised.
  2. Politically, it is the name of which both elements are normally capitalised, for one of the three institutional communities of Belgium, established by the Belgian constitution and having legal responsibilities only within the precise geographical boundaries of the Dutch-language area and of the bilingual area of Brussels-Capital. Unlike in the French Community of Belgium, [2] the competences of the Flemish Community have been unified with those of the Flemish Region and are exercised by one directly elected Flemish Parliament based in Brussels.

History

State reforms in Belgium turned the country from a unitary state into a federal one. Cultural communities were the first type of decentralisation in 1970, forming the Dutch, French and German Cultural Community. Later on, in 1980, these became responsible for more cultural matters and were renamed to simply "Community", the Dutch (Cultural) Community also being renamed to the Flemish Community. In the same state reform of 1980, the Flemish and Walloon Region were set up (the Brussels-Capital Region would be formed later on). In Flanders it was decided that the institutions of the Flemish Community would take up the tasks of the Flemish Region, so there is only one Flemish Parliament and one Flemish Government.

State reform in Belgium

The term State reform in the Belgian context refers to the ongoing process of seeking and finding constitutional and legal solutions to the problems and tensions that exist among the different segments of the Belgian population, mostly between the Dutch-speakers of Flanders and the French-speakers of Wallonia. In general, Belgium has evolved from a unitary state to a federal state with communities, regions, and language areas.

Flemish Parliament elected legislative body of Flanders (Flemish Community and Flemish Region), Belgium

The Flemish Parliament constitutes the legislative power in Flanders, for matters which fall within the competence of Flanders, both as a geographic region and a cultural community of Belgium.

Flemish Government the executive of the Flemish Community and Flemish Region in Belgium

The Flemish Government is the executive branch of the Flemish Community and the Flemish Region of Belgium. It consists of a government cabinet, headed by the Minister-President and accountable to the Flemish Parliament, and the public administration divided into 13 policy areas, each with an executive department and multiple agencies.

Under the Belgian constitution, the Flemish Community has legal responsibility for the following:

As the Flemish Community's institutions (parliament, government and ministry) absorbed all competencies of the Flemish region, they became also competent for all regional policy areas, including:

European Union Economic and political union of European states

The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe. It has an area of 4,475,757 km2 (1,728,099 sq mi) and an estimated population of about 513 million. The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in those matters, and only those matters, where members have agreed to act as one. EU policies aim to ensure the free movement of people, goods, services and capital within the internal market, enact legislation in justice and home affairs and maintain common policies on trade, agriculture, fisheries and regional development. For travel within the Schengen Area, passport controls have been abolished. A monetary union was established in 1999 and came into full force in 2002 and is composed of 19 EU member states which use the euro currency.

Members of the Flemish Parliament elected in the Brussels-Capital Region have no right to vote on Flemish regional affairs, only on community affairs, since affairs concerning their region are governed by the Brussels Parliament. Legally speaking, in the region of Brussel-Capital, the Flemish Community is responsible not for individual people but for Flemish institutions such as schools, theatres, libraries and museums. The reason is that no distinct sub-national status exists in Belgium. Yet, individuals living in Brussels can opt by their own choice for certain policies of the Flemish Community.

Language

Dutch is the official language of the Flemish Community. Minorities speak French, Yiddish, Turkish, Arabic, Berber, Italian, Spanish, English and German. Though most of these groups are recent immigrants, since the Middle Ages, Jews have formed the oldest minority to retain its own identity.

Turkish language Turkic language mainly spoken and used in Turkey

Turkish, also referred to as Istanbul Turkish,, and sometimes known as Turkey Turkish, is the most widely spoken of the Turkic languages, with around ten to fifteen million native speakers in Southeast Europe and sixty to sixty-five million native speakers in Western Asia. Outside Turkey, significant smaller groups of speakers exist in Germany, Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Northern Cyprus, Greece, the Caucasus, and other parts of Europe and Central Asia. Cyprus has requested that the European Union add Turkish as an official language, even though Turkey is not a member state.

Berber languages Family of similar or closely related languages and dialects indigenous to North Africa

The Berber languages, also known as Berber or the Amazigh languages, are a branch of the Afroasiatic language family. They comprise a group of closely related languages spoken by the Berbers, who are indigenous to North Africa. The languages were traditionally written with the ancient Libyco-Berber script, which now exists in the form of Tifinagh.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, and together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to it of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it still plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Italian is included under the languages covered by the European Charter for Regional or Minority languages in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Romania, although Italian is neither a co-official nor a regional or a traditional language in these countries, where Italians do not represent a historical minority. In the case of Romania, Italian is listed by the Government along 10 other languages which supposedly receive a "general protection", but not between those which should be granted an "advanced or enhanced" one. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

Compared with most areas in the Netherlands, the historical dialects of Flemish people still tend to be strong and particular to locality. Since the Second World War however, the influences of radio and television, and of a generally prolonged education, as well as the higher mobility for short trips or for moving towards farther localities, have resulted in a deterioration of the traditional 'pure' dialects, in particular amongst younger people. Some of the differences between the dialects are eroding, and mainly in localities or suburbs with a considerable influx from other areas, new intermediate dialects have appeared, with various degrees of influence by standard Dutch. In Dutch, these are often called tussentaal ("in-between language", often used for near-standard Dutch interspersed with typical dialect aspects) or, rather derogatorily, verkavelingsvlaams (a mix of more or less "cleaned-up" dialects as heard in a newly built-up suburban area with people influenced by different dialects). More recently,[ when? ] a number of local initiatives have been set up to save the traditional dialects and their diversity.

In Brussels, the local dialect is heavily influenced by French, both in pronunciation and in vocabulary. Nowadays, most Flemings in Brussels do not speak the local dialect. This is due in part to the relatively large numbers of young Flemings coming to Brussels, after a long period of many more others moving out while French-speakers moved in.

In certain municipalities along the border with the Walloon and the Brussels-Capital regions, French-speakers enjoy "language facilities". These cover rights such as to receive official documentation in their own tongue. Similar facilities are enjoyed by Dutch-speakers in some Walloon municipalities bordering the Flemish Region, by German-speakers in two municipalities in the French language area of the Walloon Region, and by French-speakers in the territory of the German-speaking community. The geographical limitations of the communities require the French Community to ensure Dutch basic education in its municipalities with facilities for speakers of Dutch, and the Flemish Community to finance French schools in its municipalities with facilities.

Flemish institutions in Brussels

Where responsibilities of the Flemish Region can be devolved to the provincial level, no such equivalent exists in the Brussels-Capital Region, which itself exercises many competencies for territorial tasks elsewhere assigned to the provinces. The community competencies (education, culture and social welfare) there, are exercised by the two affected institutional communities. The Flemish Community therefore established a local elected council and executive (the Flemish Community Commission or 'VGC') to cater for intermediate-level decision making & public services. The VGC then recognised local, municipal institutions to take care of the purely local public service in these community areas (called gemeenschapscentra or community centres).

Media

Flanders has an official radio and television broadcasting company, the Vlaamse Radio en Televisieomroep or VRT in Dutch. Since 1989, several private companies for region-wide radio and television broadcasting have become established. There are also so-called "regional" broadcast companies of which the range is limited to only smaller parts of the Flemish Region. The written press is dominated by a number of 'quality' dailies (such as De Tijd , De Morgen and De Standaard ), several 'popular' dailies (such as Het Laatste Nieuws and Het Nieuwsblad ) and a large number of general and specialized magazines. [ neutrality is disputed ]

Related Research Articles

Flanders Community and region of Belgium

Flanders is the Dutch-speaking northern portion of Belgium and one of the communities, regions and language areas of Belgium. However, there are several overlapping definitions, including ones related to culture, language, politics and history, and sometimes involving neighbouring countries. The demonym associated with Flanders is Fleming, while the corresponding adjective is Flemish. The official capital of Flanders is Brussels, although the Brussels Capital Region has an independent regional government, and the government of Flanders only oversees the community aspects of Flanders life in Brussels such as (Flemish) culture and education.

Communities, regions and language areas of Belgium first-level subdivisions that make up the federated entities of Belgium

Belgium is a federal state comprising three communities and three regions that are based on four language areas. For each of these subdivision types, the subdivisions together make up the entire country; in other words, the types overlap.

Provinces of Belgium subdivision of Belgium

The country of Belgium is divided into three regions. Two of these regions, the Flemish Region or Flanders, and Walloon Region, or Wallonia, are each subdivided into five provinces. The third region, the Brussels-Capital Region, is not divided into provinces, as it was originally only a small part of a province itself.

Municipalities of Belgium Administrative divisions of Belgium

Belgium comprises 581 municipalities grouped into five provinces in each of two regions and into a third region, the Brussels-Capital Region, comprising 19 municipalities that do not belong to a province. In most cases, the municipalities are the smallest administrative subdivisions of Belgium, but in municipalities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, on the initiative of the local council, sub-municipal administrative entities with elected councils may be created. As such, only Antwerp, having over 500,000 inhabitants, became subdivided into nine districts. The Belgian arrondissements, an administrative level between province and municipality, or the lowest judicial level, are in English sometimes called districts as well.

Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region community and regional parliament

The Parliament of the Brussels-Capital Region, is the governing body of the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium. It is also known as the Brussels Regional Parliament.

French Community of Belgium Community of Belgium

In Belgium, the French Community refers to one of the three constituent constitutional linguistic communities. Since 2011, the French Community has used the name Wallonia-Brussels Federation, which is controversial because its name in the Belgian constitution has not changed and because it is seen as a political statement. The name "French Community" refers to Francophone Belgians, and not to French people residing in Belgium. As such, the French Community of Belgium is sometimes rendered in English as "the French-speaking Community of Belgium" for clarity.

Flemish Region Region of Belgium

The Flemish Region is one of the three regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Colloquially, it is usually simply referred to as Flanders. It occupies the northern part of Belgium and covers an area of 13,522 km2. It is one of the most densely populated regions of Europe with around 480 inhabitants per square kilometer.

Flemish Community Commission Flemish Community representation in Brussels

The Vlaamse Gemeenschapscommissie is the local representative of the Flemish authorities in the Brussels-Capital Region, one of the three regions of Belgium. The VGC depends on the Flemish Parliament, and its council is made up by the members of the Dutch linguistic group of the Brussels Parliament, whereas its executive is made up of the two Flemish ministers and the Flemish secretary of the Brussels-Capital Government.

Municipalities with language facilities Belgium

There are 27 municipalities with language facilities in Belgium which must offer linguistic services to residents in either Dutch, French, or German in addition to their official languages. All other municipalities – with the exception of those in the Brussels region which is bilingual – are unilingual and only offer services in their official languages, either Dutch or French.

Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde former constituency in Belgium

The area within Belgium known as Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde encompasses the bilingual Brussels-Capital Region, which coincides with the arrondissement of Brussels-Capital and the surrounding Dutch-speaking area of Halle-Vilvoorde, which in turn coincides with the arrondissement of Halle-Vilvoorde. Halle-Vilvoorde contains several municipalities with language facilities, i.e. municipalities where French-speaking people form a considerable part of the population and therefore have special language rights.

Belgians are people identified with the Kingdom of Belgium, a federal state in Western Europe. As Belgium is a multinational state, this connection may be residential, legal, historical, or cultural rather than ethnic. The majority of Belgians, however, belong to two distinct ethnic groups or communities native to the country, i.e. its historical regions: Flemings in Flanders, who speak Dutch and Walloons in Wallonia who speak French or Walloon. There is also a substantial Belgian diaspora, which has settled primarily in the United States, Canada, France and Netherlands.

Languages of Belgium languages of a geographic region

The Kingdom of Belgium has three official languages: Dutch, French, and German. A number of non-official, minority languages and dialects are spoken as well.

Partition of Belgium hypothetical split of the country into Wallonia and Flanders

The partition of Belgium is a hypothetical situation which has been discussed by both Belgian and international media envisioning a split of the country along linguistic divisions, with each of the Flemish Community (Flanders) and the French-speaking Community (Wallonia) either becoming independent states or, historically, joining the Netherlands and France, respectively. Both communities currently have a large degree of autonomy within the Belgian federation.

2009 European Parliament election in Belgium election of the delegation from Belgium to the European Parliament in 2009

The European Parliament election of 2009 in Belgium was on Sunday 7 June 2009 and was the election of the delegation from Belgium to the European Parliament. The elections were on the same day as regional elections to the Flemish Parliament, Walloon Parliament, Brussels Parliament and the Parliament of the German-speaking Community.

Francization of Brussels

The Francization of Brussels refers to the evolution, over the past two centuries, of this historically Dutch-speaking city into one where French has become the majority language and lingua franca. The main cause of this transition was the rapid assimilation of the Flemish population, amplified by immigration from France and Wallonia.

Regional elections were held in Belgium on 7 June 2009 to choose representatives in the regional parliaments of Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels and the German-speaking Community of Belgium. These elections were held on the same day as the European elections.

The Flemish or Flemings are a Germanic ethnic group native to Flanders, in modern Belgium, who speak Flemish, but mostly use the Dutch written language. They are one of two principal ethnic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons. Flemish people make up the majority of the Belgian population. Historically, all inhabitants of the medieval County of Flanders were referred to as "Flemings", irrespective of the language spoken. The contemporary region of Flanders comprises a part of this historical county, as well as parts of the medieval duchy of Brabant and the medieval county of Loon.

The Dutch language used in Belgium can also be referred to as Flemish Dutch (Vlaams-Nederlands), Belgian Dutch, or Southern Dutch (Zuid-Nederlands). Dutch is the mother tongue of about 60% of the population in Belgium, or by approximately 6.5 million people.(over 11 million inhabitants). It is the only official language in the Flemish Region (Flanders) and, in addition to French, the official language in Brussels. However, in the Brussels Capital Region and in the adjacent Flemish-Brabant municipalities, Dutch was largely displaced by French as an everyday language.

References

  1. Since the Brussels-Capital Region is part of both the Flemish and French Community of Belgium, it is not possible to give a definitive population figure. The Brussels-Capital Region has 1,119,088 inhabitants (as of 2011-1-1), of which some 10-20% could be seen as being part of the Flemish Community. Together with the Flemish Region which has 6,306,638 inhabitants (as of 2011-1-1), this gives an estimated 6.4 to 6.5 million inhabitants.
  2. The parliament of the French Community is distinct from the Walloon Parliament; this is more obvious for the parliament of the German-speaking Community because its much smaller territory is within the latter region.