Belgian Awkwardness: Now what?

If you understand the history of Belgium, you wouldn’t be surprised to see that Brussels, the capital of Belgium, the supposed bilingual capital, is in fact a 90% French-speaking city, if not 100%. The country nowadays would most likely face the option of a final partition eventually. Brussels might even have the possibility to single out as sort of city state like the status of Luxembourg to serve as the de facto “European Capital”. But the problems in Belgium would never cease to exist.

Why? Because the friction between Flemish and Walloon is no longer THE most important issue that impair Belgium as an entity at the moment. The country functions fairly well even without the presence of a national government over a year after all. This is because Belgium has already been governed separately in most sectors; and the final partition would finalize this process in due time as a result of Flemish nationalism. No major damage is expected to bring upon the people in Belgium (Walloon may be even poorer, but not much though). European Union is the new grand identity of both Flemish and Walloon nowadays. The termination of the existence of the polity of Belgium would have little impacts on the societies in Belgium at the moment. The real awkwardness of Belgium right now is the shift of demographics in this region. Wikipedia says the country in total has 25% of this population that are not even born in Belgium. When I was in Brussels, there were two very strong impression I had for the city: 1. everyone speaks French (a bit annoying but acceptable still); 2. the city is full of Muslims with even more babies (first confused and then extremely concerned). Islam has already become the second largest religion in Belgium after the Catholic Church. With the youngest population group in Belgium, it would be a lie if I didn’t feel concerned about this gradual demographic shift in the Southern Netherlands. Even though being an outsider myself, I hope to see the locals there retain their own rich heritage, instead of bringing some totally alienated group to build up and expand their colony in the heart of Europe.


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