Why a Belgian train conductor speaks 13 languages

Belgium is a country of contrasts and paradoxes. A land of cultural wonders and traditions, a historical crossroad in Europe, it has been a cauldron of diversity in many aspects of life, the one coming to the forefront most often: language.

In the past, the Belgian State was dominated by a French-speaking elite, an elite that strove for the existence of bilingualism in Flanders, and which was to some extent obtained in stages starting in 1883.

But things changed. On July 14, 1932, a law settled the growing feeling of discomfort among Flemings: the teaching became mono-lingual.

After the Second World War, a split in the Ministry of Education took place between 1961 and 1968. A policy of one language is reinforced by the linguistic laws of 1962-63, with the setting of the linguistic border. The development of teaching in Dutch in Brussels and the incident known as Walen buiten in Leuven in 1968, when the French-speaking students of the University were forced to relocate to Louvain-La-Neuve. And that’s why, since 1968, there is a Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) and a Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL) in Louvain-la-Neuve.


This Belgian train conductor speaks 13 different languages 😂

Publiée par Brussels Express sur Jeudi 21 juin 2018


In recent years, the efforts to learn the language of the other community have given way to a more ‘useful’ quest for other languages such as English, German, Spanish. It is estimated that about 90% of high school students are interested in mastering English, as well as many other languages.

In Brussels a lot of French-speaking families want to put their children (from 3 to 12) in Flemish speaking schools. In the Walloon region more and more Communes (Municipalities) promote “Immersion classes” in Dutch.

In Flanders, for the past fifteen years, the focus has been more on the English language. And perhaps for this reason, the new generation of Flemish-speaking people tend to show a slightly lower level of French-speaking skills than they used to do in the past. Nevertheless, Belgians overall are good with languages.

One example is this train conductor: Belgian efficacy!