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Bart150

Belgian November 11

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Bart150

I caught snatches on Dutch TV of the Belgian commemoration today.

It was a national commemoration in the presence of the King, but it was held at the Menin Gate, which commemorates only British Empire soldiers.

It was due to start at 11 o’clock but it was nearly ten minutes late, and then began very boringly with a couple of platitudinous speeches.

A few announcements were made both in Flemish and English, but each of the main speeches and prayers (of which there was far too much IMO) were in EITHER Flemish or English.

By its constitution Belgium is unquestionably a multilingual country, so it seems a bit odd that not a word of French was spoken.

 

This makes me ponder about Belgians who served and who died in 14-18. Are there any statistics on the breakdown between Flemish- and French-speakers?

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ForeignGong

Google search brings up a few hits and most state approx. 40,000 soldiers died.

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sassenach
On 11/11/2018 at 12:18, Bart150 said:

I caught snatches on Dutch TV of the Belgian commemoration today.

 

It was a national commemoration in the presence of the King, but it was held at the Menin Gate, which commemorates only British Empire soldiers.

 

It was due to start at 11 o’clock but it was nearly ten minutes late, and then began very boringly with a couple of platitudinous speeches.

 

A few announcements were made both in Flemish and English, but each of the main speeches and prayers (of which there was far too much IMO) were in EITHER Flemish or English.

 

By its constitution Belgium is unquestionably a multilingual country, so it seems a bit odd that not a word of French was spoken.

 

 

 

This makes me ponder about Belgians who served and who died in 14-18. Are there any statistics on the breakdown between Flemish- and French-speakers?

 

The Belgian King was not present at the morning ceremony at the Menin Gate, he was there (with the Queen) that evening. 

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Roger Gozin

Belgium is NOT bilingual "by its constitution". Only Brussels is "officially" bilingual (French/Dutch). Dutch is the only legal language used by authorities and public services in Flanders, French is the only language for public services in Wallonia . A small region on the eastern border also uses German in official matters. The Belgian constitution thus recognizes French, Dutch and German as official languages without stating that "the country as a whole" is bilingual or trilingual. The Menin gate in Ypres obviously lies in Flanders , so the King using Dutch and not French in his speech is in conformity with legal regulations. I know this sounds a bit odd but I'm only the piano player.

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Bart150

Yes, indeed. My posting was clumsily phrased. The fact remains, I think, that Belgium is an odd country.

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Roger Gozin

It most certainly is. It is more or less the Canada of France and the Mexico of the Netherlands. 

 

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