BELGIANS (Dutch : Belgen, French : Belges, German : Belgier) are
people identified with the Kingdom of
Belgium , a federal state in
Western Europe . As
Belgium is a multinational state , this connection
may be residential, legal, historical, or cultural. Majority of
Belgians, however, belong to two distinct ethnic groups native to the
Flemings who speak Dutch in the north, on the border with the
Netherlands , and
Walloons who speak French and/or Walloon to the
south, on the border with
France . There is also a substantial Belgian
diaspora , which has settled primarily in the
United States , Canada
* 1 Etymology
* 2 Belgian culture
* 3 Relations between Belgian linguistic communities
* 3.2 Walloon (French-speaking)
* 3.3 German-speaking community
* 4 Religion
* 5 Demographics
* 6 Notable
* 7 See also
* 8 References
The 1830 revolution led to the establishment of an independent
country under a provisional government and a national congress . The
name "Belgium" was adopted for the country, the word being derived
Gallia Belgica , a
Roman province in the northernmost part of
Gaul that, before Roman invasion in 100 BC, was inhabited by the
Belgae , a mix of Celtic and
Germanic peoples .
The Latin name was revived in 1790 by the short-lived United Belgian
States which was created after a revolution against Austrian rule took
place in 1789. Since no adjective equivalent to "Belgian" existed at
the time, the French noun "Belgique" (or "Belgium") was adopted as
both noun and adjective; a phenomenon borrowed from Latin which was
still commonly used during the period. From the sixteenth century,
Low Countries " or "
Netherlands ", were referred to as 'Belgica'
in Latin, as was the
Dutch Republic .
Main article: Culture of
RELATIONS BETWEEN BELGIAN LINGUISTIC COMMUNITIES
Main article: Languages of
Belgians are primarily a nationality or citizen group, by jus soli
(Latin: right of the soil), also known as birthright citizenship, and
are not a homogeneous ethnic group .
Belgians are made up of two
main linguistic and ethnic groups; the Dutch-speakers (called the
Flemish ) and the French-speakers (mostly
Walloons ), as well as a
third tiny but constitutionally recognized group from two small
German-speaking areas. These sometimes competing ethnic and linguistic
priorities are governed by constitutionally designated "regions or
communities" , depending on the constitutional realm of the topic, a
complex and uniquely Belgian political construct. Since many Belgians
are at least bilingual, or even trilingual, it is common for business,
social and family networks to include members of the various ethnic
groups composing Belgium.
Brussels-Capital Region occupies a unique political and cultural
position since geographically and linguistically it is a bilingual
enclave within the unilingual
Flemish Region. Since the founding of
the Kingdom of
Belgium in 1830, the city of
Brussels has transformed
from being almost entirely Dutch-speaking into a multilingual city
with French as the majority language and lingua franca , a process
that has been labelled the Frenchification of
Since the independence of
Belgium in 1830, the constitutional title
of the Belgian head of state is the "King of the Belgians" rather than
the "King of Belgium".
Flemish people Map of the medieval County of
Belgium the Flemish, about 60% of the population, form a
clearly distinguishable group, set apart by their language and
customs. However, when compared to the
Netherlands most of these
cultural and linguistic boundaries quickly fade, as the
the same language, similar or identical customs and (though only with
the southern part of today's Netherlands) traditional religion with
the Dutch .
However, the popular perception of being a single polity varies
greatly, depending on subject matter, locality and personal
Flemings will seldom identify themselves as
being Dutch and vice versa, especially on a national level.
Walloons Cheering crowds greet British troops
entering Brussels, 1944 Belgian students at an event
Walloons are a French -speaking people who live in
Walloons are a distinctive community within
Belgium, important historical and anthropological criteria (religion,
language, traditions, folklore) bind
Walloons to the
French people .
More generally, the term also refers to the inhabitants of the Walloon
Region . They may speak regional languages such as Walloon (with
Picard in the West and Lorrain in the South).
Though roughly three-quarters of Belgium's French speakers live in
Wallonia, it is important to note that French-speaking residents of
Brussels tend not to identify as Walloons.
Main article: German-speaking Community of
The German-speaking Community of
Belgium is one of the three
constitutionally recognized federal communities of
Belgium . Covering
an area of less than 1,000 km2 within the province of Liège in
Wallonia , it includes nine of the eleven municipalities of the
East Cantons and the local population numbers over 73,000
— less than 1% of the national total. Bordering the
Luxembourg , the area has its own parliament and
The German-speaking community is composed of the German-speaking
parts of the lands that were annexed in 1920 from Germany. In
addition, in contemporary
Belgium there are also some other
German-speaking areas that belonged to
Belgium even before 1920, but
they are not currently considered officially part of the
German-speaking community in Belgium:
Northeastern province of Liège and
Arelerland (city of
Arlon and some
of its nearby villages in Southeastern province of Belgian Luxembourg
). However, in these localities, the
German language is highly
endangered due to the adoption of French .
Main article: Religion in
Roman Catholicism has traditionally been Belgium's majority religion,
with approximately 65% of the
Belgians declaring themselves to be
Catholics. However, by 2004, nationwide Sunday church attendance was
only about 4 to 8% (9% for Flanders only). A 2006 inquiry in Flanders
, long considered more religious than the
Belgium , showed 55% of its inhabitants calling themselves
religious, while 36% said that they believed that God created the
Main article: Demographics of
Belgium had a population of 10,839,905 people on 1 January 2010, an
increase of 601,000 in comparison to 2000 (10,239,085 inhabitants).
Between 1990 (9,947,782 inhabitants) and 2000 the increase was only
291,000. The population of Flanders,
Brussels on 1
January 2010 was 6,251,983 (57.7%), 3,498,384 (32.3%) and 1,089,538
List of Belgians
List of Belgians
* ^ National Institute for Statistics
* ^ Results American Fact Finder (US Census Bureau)
* ^ "Ethnic Origin (264), Single and Multiple Ethnic Origin
Responses (3), Generation Status (4), Age Groups (10) and Sex (3) for
the Population in Private Households of Canada, Provinces,
Territories, Census Metropolitan Areas and Census Agglomerations, 2011
National Household Survey".
* ^ http://www.mo.be/fr/artikel/les-belges-l-etranger
* ^ French inflow of nationals by country of nationality, by year
* ^ Demographics of the Netherlands
Germans with an immigrant background Archived 4 May 2009 at the
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Panorama das relações belgo-brasileiras Archived 24 May 2008
Wayback Machine .
* ^ Dobbelaere, Karel ; Voyé, Liliane (1990). "From Pillar to
Postmodernity: The Changing Situation of Religion in Belgium" (PDF).
(The Allen Review). Online at
Oxford Journals , Oxford University
Press : S1. Retrieved 25 February 2011. External link in publisher=
* ^ Gooch, Brison Dowling (1963).
Belgium and the February
Martinus Nijhoff Publishers ,
The Hague ,
Netherlands . p.
112. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
* ^ Bunson, Matthew (1994). Encyclopedia of the Roman Empire
(Hardcover 352pp ed.). Facts on File, New York. p. 169. ISBN
* ^ Footnote: The Celtic and/or Germanic influences on and
origin(s) of the
Belgae remains disputed. Further reading e.g. Witt,
Constanze Maria (May 1997). "Ethnic and Cultural Identity". Barbarians
on the Greek Periphery?—Origins of Celtic Art. Institute for
Advanced Technology in the Humanities,
University of Virginia
University of Virginia .
Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 6 June 2007.
* ^ "un peu d\'histoire: la révolution belgique". Canaris1790.be.
* ^ jus soli, definition from merriam-webster.com.
* ^ Hobsbawm and Ranger (1983), The Invention of Tradition, Sider
1993 Lumbee Indian Histories
* ^ Seidner,(1982), Ethnicity, Language, and Power from a
Psycholinguistic Perspective, pp. 2-3
* ^ Smith 1987 pp.21-22
* ^ Levinson, David (1998). Ethnic Groups Worldwide: A Ready
Reference Handbook. Phoenix, AZ: Oryx Press. p. 14. ISBN 1-57356-019-7
* ^ Ramon Arango, Leopold III and the Belgian Royal Question, p.9.
* ^ Raymond Fusilier in Les monarchies parlementaires en Europe,
Editions ouvrières, Paris, 1960, p. 350, wrote the Belgian regime of
1830 was also inspired by the French Constitution of the Kingdom of
France (1791-1792) , the
United States Declaration of Independence of
1776 and the old political traditions of both Walloon and Flemish
* ^ National minorities in Europe, W. Braumüller, 2003, page 20.
* ^ Nederlandse en Vlaamse identiteit, Civis Mundi 2006 by S.W.
Couwenberg. ISBN 90-5573-688-0 . Page 62. Quote: "Er valt heel wat te
lachen om de wederwaardigheden van Vlamingen in Nederland en
Nederlanders in Vlaanderen. Ze relativeren de verschillen en
beklemtonen ze tegelijkertijd. Die verschillen zijn er onmiskenbaar:
in taal, klank, kleur, stijl, gedrag, in politiek, maatschappelijke
organisatie, maar het zijn stuk voor stuk varianten binnen één
taal-en cultuurgemeenschap." The opposite opinion is stated by L.
Beheydt (2002): "Al bij al lijkt een grondiger analyse van de
taalsituatie en de taalattitude in Nederland en Vlaanderen weinig
aanwijzingen te bieden voor een gezamenlijke culturele identiteit. Dat
er ook op andere gebieden weinig aanleiding is voor een gezamenlijke
culturele identiteit is al door Geert Hofstede geconstateerd in zijn
vermaarde boek Allemaal andersdenkenden (1991)." L. Beheydt, "Delen
Vlaanderen en Nederland een culturele identiteit?", in P. Gillaerts,
H. van Belle, L. Ravier (eds.), Vlaamse identiteit: mythe én
werkelijkheid (Leuven 2002), 22-40, esp. 38. (in Dutch)
* ^ Ethnic Groups Worldwide, a ready reference Handbook, David
Levinson, ORYX Press, (ISBN 1-57356-019-7 ), p. 13 : «
identified through their residence in
Wallonia and by speaking
dialects of French. They, too, are descended from the original Celtic
inhabitants of the region and Romans and Franks who arrived later.
Walloons are mainly Roman catholic. »
* ^ Ethnic Groups Worldwide, a ready reference Handbook, David
Levinson, ORYX Press, ISBN 1-57356-019-7 , p.13 : "Walloon culture was
heavely influenced by the French"
* ^ The Encyclopedia of the Peoples of the World, A Henri Holt
Reference Book, page 645 : « Culturally there is continuity between
the French and the Walloons, Wallon culture consisting mainly of
dialect literary productions. While historically most Wallons came
within France's cultural orbit
* ^ The German-speaking Community
Society for Threatened Peoples :
* ^ "Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF),
European Union :
European Commission , p. 233, 2012, retrieved
14 August 2013 The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to
be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other
Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and
Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK.
Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
* ^ Inquiry by 'Vepec', 'Vereniging voor Promotie en Communicatie'
(Organisation for Promotion and Communication), published in Knack
magazine 22 November 2006 p.14 (The
Dutch language term 'gelovig' was
translated in the text as 'religious', more precisely it is a very
common word for believing in particular in any kind of god in a
monotheistic sense, and/or in some afterlife .
Prince-Bishopric of Liège
Prince-Bishopric of Liège
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