Laguages spoken in Brussels
Official languages in Belgium are Dutch (57%), French (42%) and German (1%). Language is one of the most important facts of life in Brussels and Belgium. Brussels capital region is officially bilingual so all road sides and documents are written in French and Dutch. German is only spoken in the Ardennes area by 1% of the population.
Currently around 80% of the population in Brussels speak French as their first language. This is the language most used on the streets of Brussels and in most establishments – restaurants, bars, major shopping centres, tourist attractions, museums. A large number of people in the service industry also speak English but not all so there are times when you will need to use some hand gestures or ask if someone speaks English. It is still handy to know some travel phrases in French upon arriving.
Dutch or Flemish
What’s the difference between Dutch and Flemish? Dutch is the root language of Flemish, which could be called a dialect or local version of Dutch. It is a language that originates from the Netherlands. Dutch speakers from the Netherlands and Dutch speakers in Belgium may not be able to communicate fluently with each other because Flemish uses different nouns, different pronunciation and has evolved at a different pace from modern Dutch.
The Final Language Frontier
Historically Belgium has been at the crossroads of the Germanic and Celtic tribes, one side speaking Dutch and the other French. Debates on which language is to be lingua franca lead to public uprising. In 1962, the Language Frontier was established, which split the country linguistically, forming Flanders and Wallonia. In the 1980s further reforms created three autonomous regions: Flanders, Wallonia and the capital region of Brussels. Today, television stations, newspapers and street signs are either in Dutch or French depending on the location you are in! Only in Brussels do you find both languages written with the same regularity, although French is still the most widely spoken.
Brussels language schools
Brussels is a truly international city and also the capital of a country that speaks three languages. There are many language schools for learning French, Dutch, English and most other European languages as well. This makes learning a language in Brussels very easy. Most schools will cater to students who are working professionals too with a selection of night classes and weekend classes easily available.