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Lack of bilingual shopkeepers in Brussels

Published on 09/09/2004

9 September 2004

BRUSSELS – A new study has revealed a shortfall in bilingual shopkeepers in the centre of Brussels, it was reported on Thursday.

The study was carried out by Het Huis van het Nederlands and the Town Center Management Brussel Centrum to determine the ability of town centre shopkeepers to speak Dutch.

It revealed that 63 percent only spoke a little Dutch or none at all.

Of this number, 73 percent said they wanted to take a language course.

The association conducting the study has announced a new project, under the name “Winkelstratenproject”, that will provide free Dutch lessons to around 200 shopkeepers.

The course will begin on 11 October and last until the end of the school year.

Around half of the new language recruits are independent business owners and the other half from large commercial stores.

The course will coincide with a new initiative to be launched during the January sales where sales staff taking Dutch lessons will wear badges to let Flemish speakers know they speak their language.

The Flemish Culture Minister Bert Anciaux said that the second phase of the operation would be extended to the whole of Brussels.

The Het Huis van het Nederlands Brussel association has already enrolled 2,500 people for Dutch lessons since its launch last October.

[Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news