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Thread: The German Minority in Belgium

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    Senior Member Aragorn's Avatar
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    Post The German Minority in Belgium

    see where eastern Belgium is German speaking
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    Post The German minority in Belgium

    The Belgian Eaast-kantons, which is German populated area.
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    German-Speaking Belgians: Europe's Best-Protected Minority?

    Headlines in Belgium tend to be dominated by the tug-of-war between the Flemish, based in the country's north, who want more autonomy from the less prosperous, French-speaking areas that are still coming to terms with the post-industrial age.

    But Belgium has another official linguistic group: the Germans who live on the Eastern border and make up only one percent of the population.

    The area was ceded to Belgium after the World War I under the terms of the Versailles Treaty. Over the decades, a unique Belgo-German way of life has developed.

    The capital of the German-speaking region is Eupen, close to the German city of Aachen. The area formally belongs to the province of Liège, but this minority community is autonomous and functions like a federal state of its own.

    Lingua franca: German

    People here mainly speak German in shops and schools, watch German TV channels and even have their own German-language newspaper, the Grenz-Echo or Border Echo. The sports page covers Bundesliga games, of course. But editor-in-chief Gérard Cremer said his readership has a broader outlook.

    "People are also interested in how Anderlecht or Standard Liège are doing," he said. "That's why they read the Grenz-Echo. That's why it is not your normal newspaper in that sense. It's our job to bring Belgium closer to our readers."

    Many people here might only be able to name the Belgian prime minister, while they can list the entire German cabinet. Nevertheless, they are Belgian and they certainly don't want to be called Germans.

    "We are a mix and I mean that positively," Cremer said. "Not just linguistically, but also in terms of our mentality, in all ways really."

    But Cremer added that the minority here are culturally German. And there are a lot of active cultural organizations here.

    More at the source

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    Hmm, I was searching for something and found another article about the Germans in Belgium. It's always interesting to learn new things. The article is a little old however:

    The leader of Belgium's German-speaking minority is ruffling feathers in a country long torn by language sensitivities by calling for a local referendum on the identity and future of the country's German speakers.

    The three women working behind the counter of the busy local sandwich shop on the main street in Eupen, Belgium, non-chalantly switch between German and French as they take customers' orders. One asks for a Thunfisch-Sandwich, the next a baguette au thon. They may sound like fancy names for tuna fish sandwiches, but really they go to the heart of a cultural collision in a pocket-size enclave that has undergone one historical identity crisis after the other.

    Eupen is part of Belgium's so-called east cantons, mostly clustered in an 854 square kilometer area that also includes the cities of St. Vith and Malmedy. As one of the country's three official language communities, the cities dominated by German speakers are afforded a considerable degree of autonomy under the Belgian constitution. But the area's approximately 71,000 residents still fall under the jurisdication of the mostly French-speaking Wallonian region - a situation which has led to considerable conflict in recent months.

    Calling for a referendum

    In July, the Wallonian government rejected a request by the German-speaking community to take over additional governing responsibilities. Ever since, the local minister president of Eupen's German-speaking community, has been calling for a referendum that could determine its future.

    "We want to become Belgium's fourth region next to Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels," Minister President Karl-Heinz Lambertz told DW-WORLD.

    Words like these are not among those Wallonian Minister President Jean-Cleude Van Cauwenberghe may be keen on hearing. Last month, in an interview with the Belgian daily "Le Soir," the Wallonian leader threatened to stop on-going negotiations aimed at transferring more authority to the German-speaking community if Lambertz didn't immediately cease with his referendum and fourth-region talk.

    One of the reasons why Lambertz is pushing for more autonomy is that although the German-speaking community is well looked after, he says there is still a lot of unintended discrimination in the area.

    "The Wallonians often like to say – and they don't mean this aggressively – that we are German-speaking Wallonians," he says, "but people here don't feel that way. Yes, they're residents of Wallonia, but they don't feel like Wallonians because their language and culture are different." He also emphasizes that locals are proud Belgians, and that their biggest connection to Germany, besides economic ties, is the language.

    The full text is here:
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,611297,00.html

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    Vennbahn (German exclaves in Belgium)

    Five exclaves created by a Belgian railway track that cuts into German territory between the German towns of Rötgen and Monschau, south of Aachen. Belgium owns the railway track with the territory on which it is built, making enclaves out of the five pieces of land separated from the rest of Germany.

    The exclaves are called Munsterbildchen, Rötgener Wald [which comprises the southern parts of the town of Rötgen], Rückschlag, Mützenich and Ruitzhof.

    At boundary marker no. 750 it may look on this Belgian map like the Mützenich enclave is connected to Germany proper over the railroad. But the Germans, who show the road as Belgian would surely be the most likely of the two parties to show it correctly if it was German. Therefore we conclude that Mützenich is a German exclave.



    http://geosite.jankrogh.com/vennbahn.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Minister President Karl-Heinz Lambertz View Post
    The Wallonians often like to say – and they don't mean this aggressively – that we are German-speaking Wallonians
    This is basically the same fairy tale told to the Alsatians and the inevitable result when walha are allowed to have power over our people. The situation in Eupen-Malmedy is a particular joke played on us by the French on behalf of the fake nation called Belgium. I am curious, though, whether the Vlaamse Beweging has ties to our Germans there?

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