Number of Dutch-speaking people in Brussels goes down

Brussels is as multi-lingual as ever. However, according to the new language barometer presented by researcher from VUB, Rudi Janssens, and the Flemish Minister of Finance, the number of Brussels residents who estimate that their knowledge of Dutch is ‘good’ to ‘excellent’ has decreased to 16% since 2001, where the percentage was 33%.

One of the main reasons behind the decline seems to be the particular demography of Brussels. Since 2000, 2.25 million people have arrived in the capital, including 1.87 foreigners who spoke little to no Dutch, and who rarely decide to learn Dutch.

However, if the knowledge of Dutch decreases, then its utility increases such as in the workplace.

Francophone education is also responsible for this impoverishment of Dutch practice in the capital. The new barometer further showed that knowledge of Dutch among young people who attend French-institutions is also decreasing.  Only 7.8% of 18 year-olds who studied at a French-language school consider that they speak Dutch.


Since 2001, the barometer has been mapping the linguistic knowledge of the inhabitants of Brussels by using a sample of 2,500 individuals.