Blog & News
Languages of Belgium
Most people expect to hear Dutch or French in Belgium, but what surprises many is that the country has not two, but three official languages. Unlike other countries in Europe that have successfully created a united national identity out of multiple linguistic communities Belgium’s linguistic diversity has become a political affair in recent years.
Here are some basic words translated into Flemish:
Goodbye: Tot ziens
Thanks: Dank je
You’re welcome: Graag gedaan
While these are basic words translated into French:
Goodbye: Au revoir
Please: S’il te plaît
You’re welcome: De rien
- Flemish (Dutch): 60% (6.5 million)
- French: 40% (4.5 million)
- German: 1% (75,000 thousand)
Brussels is officially bilingual, with all street signs, transportation information, and even commercial advertising presented in both French and Flemish. But the reality of this supposedly bilingual utopia is very different from what the reality is. Despite the fact that Brussels is the capital of the European Union and home to thousands of international companies and organizations, you absolutely need some level of French if you want to complete the everyday challenges of getting a haircut, visiting a doctor, or shopping at the supermarket.