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Taal in de Rand : new study on languages in the Flemish communes that surround Brussels

Rudi Janssens (VUB) is the author of the Brussels’ Taalbarometer studies, the main source of information about the linguistic situation in Brussels. In his new study (Taal en identiteit in de Rand, VUB Press, 2014, 123p.), he investigates the linguistic situation in what the Flemish government defined as the "Vlaamse Rand". This is an area that completely surrounds Brussels and hosts nearly 300.000 inhabitants. It includes the six communes with facilities for French speakers (Drogenbos, Kraainem, Linkebeek, St Genesius Rode, Wemmel, Wezembeek-Oppem) and thirteen adjacent ones, classified as job-supplying (Vilvoorde, Machelen, Zaventem to the North-East), residential (Tervuren, Hoeilaart, Overijse to the South-East), suburban (Dilbeek, St Pieters Leeuw, Beersel to the South-West) and semi-rural (Meise, Merchtem, Asse to the North-East).
The many interesting results include striking comparisons with Brussels. For example, 51% of the residents of the Rand say they speak both French and Dutch well or very well, compared to only 21% in the supposedly bilingual Region of Brussels Capital. As to the trilingualism French-Dutch-English pursued by the Marnix Plan, it is achieved by 30% of the population in the Rand and even 39% in its "residential" part, compared to only 12% in the Brussels Region. French turns out to be the most widely known language in the Rand (78% compared to 89% in Brussels), before Dutch, the Rand’s official language (68% compared to 23% in Brussels) and English (47% compared to 30% in Brussels). In the communes with facilities, the proportions are similar to those in the Brussels Region for French (88%) and English (29%) but significantly higher for Dutch (40%).