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Apollo11 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-22-06 04:51 AM
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78. Belgium
The one thing that keeps Belgium together is the city of Brussels.

Belgium has 3 regions:
1. Flanders is the northern half of the country with around 6 million inhabitants who speak Dutch.
2. Wallonia is the southern half of the country with around 4 million inhabitants who speak French (except for a few thousand in the east of the country who speak German).
3. Brussels is a city with 1 million inhabitants. It is recognised as a separate region, but it is completely surrounded by Flanders.

Brussels has around 1 million inhabitants and less than 10% of them are Dutch-speaking. The reason is that most Dutch-speakers have moved out of Brussels into the surrounding towns and villages (in Flanders).

I guess about 70% of Brussels inhabitants are French speakers. The rest are non-Belgians from all across the European Union and other countries (Morocco, Turkey, etc.). But in most shops and cafes you will hear French being spoken. Then English. Dutch you will rarely hear (even though officially it has equal status with French as the 2 official languages of the Brussels Region).

Many Flemish politicians are attracted to the idea of a separate state. But they would not do it without Brussels. And the population of Brussels would not accept being part of a Flemish State in which French speakers would be a marginalised minority.

That's why the current Federal System - in place since 1981 - is probably the "least bad" solution for keeping everyone more-or-less happy (or at least - preventing violence in the streets).

You will still get trouble at some football (soccer) games between teams from the north and south (like last weekend there was a game Liege against Genk).

But the Leader of the Flemish Region does have a point. I know French speakers who live in Flanders but never take the trouble to learn Dutch and integrate with their neighbours. And when you hear a Francophone trying to speak Dutch/Flemish - they often make a real hash of it.
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  -Belgium 'an accident of history with football and beer' Thankfully_in_Britain  Aug-19-06 02:47 AM   #0 
  - Everyone seems to be getting along rather nicely...  Sherman A1   Aug-19-06 02:54 AM   #1 
  - Belgium is famous  edwardlindy   Aug-19-06 04:20 AM   #2 
  - Name five famous Belgians  trogdor   Aug-19-06 03:27 PM   #14 
  - Jacques Brel,Rene Magritte,Gerardus Mercator,Ilya Prigogine,Adolphe Sax,  struggle4progress   Aug-19-06 03:39 PM   #16 
  - The original joke  edwardlindy   Aug-19-06 05:25 PM   #19 
  - The French love to tell Belgian jokes  kskiska   Aug-22-06 07:53 PM   #87 
  - Jacky Ickx!!!!  Blue_Tires   Aug-19-06 08:33 PM   #25 
  - And his yummy daughter Vanina....  truebrit71   Aug-21-06 03:54 PM   #62 
  - forgot about Kim Clijsters  Blue_Tires   Aug-19-06 08:34 PM   #26 
  - Are you kidding  jamesinca   Aug-20-06 10:14 AM   #30 
  - Eddy Merk  jamesinca   Aug-20-06 10:17 AM   #31 
  - Belgium has Spa-Francorchamps  dnbn   Aug-20-06 11:45 AM   #43 
  - welcome to the site!  Blue_Tires   Aug-20-06 11:54 AM   #44 
  - It used to be even better....ever seen the movie Grand Prix?  truebrit71   Aug-21-06 03:55 PM   #63 
  - I'll do you one better.  JohnLocke   Aug-20-06 04:48 PM   #50 
  - Where is the love for Jean Claude Van Damme?  KamaAina   Aug-21-06 05:32 PM   #67 
  - Wily Coppens  sofa king   Aug-22-06 12:17 AM   #74 
  - Simenon  Great White Shark   Aug-22-06 08:00 PM   #88 
  - boring? BORING???  Coes   Aug-20-06 10:47 AM   #37 
  - Boring?  Aridane   Aug-21-06 07:49 AM   #59 
     - Welcome to DU!  Oreo   Aug-21-06 01:27 PM   #61 
  - Most countries in Europe have groups of people..  Endangered Specie   Aug-19-06 05:01 AM   #3 
  - and beer!  xchrom   Aug-19-06 05:29 AM   #4 
  - Someone called ?  Stella_Artois   Aug-19-06 05:49 AM   #5 
  - Hey, I'm drinking you right now...  Viking12   Aug-19-06 06:56 PM   #22 
  - Not that crap!  Thankfully_in_Britain   Aug-20-06 06:56 AM   #28 
     - To tell you the truth  dogfacedboy   Aug-20-06 09:55 AM   #29 
        - Oh yes they do!  Thankfully_in_Britain   Aug-21-06 12:10 PM   #60 
           - My point was that beer shouldn't be made with fruit flavors.  dogfacedboy   Aug-22-06 08:25 AM   #81 
  - So now Belgium does not have the right to exist? What is this new vogue  no_hypocrisy   Aug-19-06 05:56 AM   #6 
  - Doesn't Flanders have the right to defend itself?  treestar   Aug-20-06 10:36 AM   #34 
  - ANTI-FLEMITE!!!  yibbehobba   Aug-22-06 07:00 AM   #80 
  - a break-up  Coes   Aug-20-06 10:53 AM   #38 
  - "Oh, Belgium, man, BELGIUM!"  mcscajun   Aug-19-06 09:00 AM   #7 
  - Hey now...don't let them hit on Belgium!!!  madame defarge   Aug-19-06 09:21 AM   #8 
  - Eddie Merckx was addicted to Godiva chocolate. We all knew  alfredo   Aug-19-06 09:59 AM   #10 
  - we visited and fell in love with Belgium  kineneb   Aug-19-06 03:36 PM   #15 
  - A long-term trend within the EU  DavidD   Aug-19-06 09:47 AM   #9 
  - "the new regionalism"  anotherdrew   Aug-19-06 03:53 PM   #17 
     - Cool  DavidD   Aug-19-06 10:31 PM   #27 
     - I think we need that here  nemo137   Aug-22-06 03:11 AM   #76 
  - I remember the language riots in the early 60's  Turbineguy   Aug-19-06 10:20 AM   #11 
  - Well, he's kind of right. But wrong to be insulting to the French.  Coventina   Aug-19-06 10:23 AM   #12 
  - Question for you  badgervan   Aug-19-06 06:50 PM   #21 
  - I don't claim to be an expert on names but  Coventina   Aug-20-06 10:29 AM   #32 
     - Thanks  badgervan   Aug-20-06 04:30 PM   #49 
  - Belgium was once part of The Netherlands...  Texifornia   Aug-19-06 07:15 PM   #23 
     - The separation came during Spanish rule in the 16th century.  Coventina   Aug-20-06 10:33 AM   #33 
  - Reminds me of a Monty Python sketch  muddleofpudd   Aug-19-06 03:07 PM   #13 
  - Phlegms!!  mycritters2   Aug-19-06 06:21 PM   #20 
  - I loved that one too  treestar   Aug-20-06 10:38 AM   #35 
  - Did you ever see  edwardlindy   Aug-20-06 06:05 PM   #55 
  - Flanders! Wohoo!  JVS   Aug-19-06 03:58 PM   #18 
  - Fallout from the abandonment of NATO  SquireJons   Aug-19-06 07:48 PM   #24 
  - I disagree  Coes   Aug-20-06 11:02 AM   #40 
  - I think it's a factor  SquireJons   Aug-20-06 07:06 PM   #56 
  - They didn't start any wars  knight_of_the_star   Aug-21-06 06:02 PM   #68 
     - Yeah but what about the Congo?  Ouabache   Aug-21-06 11:58 PM   #71 
        - My bad  knight_of_the_star   Aug-22-06 11:34 AM   #83 
  - I thought it was a wonderful and beautiful country!  tabasco   Aug-20-06 10:44 AM   #36 
  - "No intrinsic value?"  Kajsa   Aug-20-06 11:02 AM   #39 
  - okay  Coes   Aug-20-06 11:06 AM   #41 
     - OK, I'm really asking- Why is a breakup necessary?  Kajsa   Aug-20-06 11:26 AM   #42 
        - it's hard to already use the word 'necessary'  Coes   Aug-20-06 11:54 AM   #45 
           - welcome to the site!  Blue_Tires   Aug-20-06 12:16 PM   #47 
           - I forgot to welcome you to DU.  Kajsa   Aug-20-06 02:15 PM   #48 
  - one last kick for Germinal Beerschot  Blue_Tires   Aug-20-06 11:58 AM   #46 
  - I especially love Belgium!  DemExpat   Aug-20-06 05:11 PM   #51 
  - My daughter's boyfriend is from Antwerp  Danmel   Aug-20-06 05:18 PM   #52 
  - My daughter lived there this year for 5 months for her studies  DemExpat   Aug-20-06 05:32 PM   #53 
  - Audrey Hepburn isn't a famous Belgian? HELLO????  rocknation   Aug-20-06 05:51 PM   #54 
  - For Audrey alone, Belgium qualifies as a great country!  Matilda   Aug-20-06 09:05 PM   #57 
  - Just born in Brussels, but grew up in UK and Holland, her mother was a  demo dutch   Aug-22-06 12:23 PM   #84 
  - Only by place of birth  muriel_volestrangler   Aug-22-06 05:31 AM   #79 
  - what a coincidence  pitohui   Aug-20-06 10:35 PM   #58 
  - Different kind of football, besides, our beer sucks.  KamaAina   Aug-21-06 06:47 PM   #70 
  - The best things in history have happened by accident.  Minstrel Boy   Aug-21-06 04:01 PM   #64 
  - My favorite Belgian: Herge.  Jed Dilligan   Aug-21-06 04:05 PM   #65 
  - Absolutely no doubt.....although Goscinny and Uderzo were pretty good...  truebrit71   Aug-21-06 04:12 PM   #66 
  - Greatest? Them's fightin' words...  AZCat   Aug-22-06 03:21 AM   #77 
     - Well, what can I say?  Jed Dilligan   Aug-22-06 07:04 PM   # 
     - self delete  Jed Dilligan   Aug-22-06 07:04 PM   #85 
  - hey, what about their chocolate?  Darth_Kitten   Aug-21-06 06:44 PM   #69 
  - Have you heard of the famous 'Blue Moon' Belgian beer? No?  Ouabache   Aug-22-06 12:05 AM   #72 
     - Yep nothing Belgian about that stuff. It's a Coors product.  sofa king   Aug-22-06 01:35 AM   #75 
  - 'king, the national football team and certain brands of beer'  Rex   Aug-22-06 12:07 AM   #73 
  - Belgium  Apollo11   Aug-22-06 04:51 AM   #78 
  - Very informative tidbit - thanks!  President Kerry   Aug-22-06 10:58 AM   #82 
  - If it's Tuesday...  ZombyWoof   Aug-22-06 07:33 PM   #86 
     - They've made some good movies  kskiska   Aug-22-06 08:16 PM   #89 

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