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It is with deep sadness that we mark the passing of Rudi Janssens, who died of cancer on August 21st.

A sociologist by training, Professor Rudi Janssens started his career in the 1980s at the VUB research Centre for the Interdisciplinary Study of Language Matters in Brussels (Centrum voor de Interdisciplinaire Studie van de Brusselse Taaltoestanden), which later became BRIO, the knowledge centre for Brussels and its periphery, of which he was the driving force and where he studied the relationship between mobility, migration and integration, and relocations to and from Brussels. But he is probably best known for his research into language use and language policy in Brussels and other multilingual and multicultural cities. Particularly influential were the four ‘Taalbarometers/Language Barometers’, the large-scale surveys which he meticulously constructed, conducted, analysed and interpreted, and which mapped the complex patterns of language use and language knowledge in Brussels and its periphery over a period of two decades (1999 – 2018) marked by great changes in Brussels’ demography.

Rudi was a warm and generous person, a dear colleague, and an exceptional researcher, combining academic rigour with intellectual integrity and modesty. The fact that Rudi himself did not live in Brussels (but in Bruges) enabled him to observe and map out the Brussels language situation with great objectivity and sense for nuance. In 2020 Rudi was invited by Minister Sven Gatz to join the Brussels Council for Multilingualism, chaired by Philippe Van Parijs.

Rudi has also been a member of the core group of the Marnix Plan since its launch in 2013, and almost everything of what the Marnix Plan has done and achieved since is indebted to Rudi’s work and insights into the dynamics of Brussels.

Rudi had a brilliant way of talking about everything that mattered to him and a unique talent for appreciating life. And above all, a lot of generosity, in spirit and in action. We are grateful to have had Rudi as a colleague and friend for so many years, and we send our condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and students. He will be sorely missed.

Hommage will be paid to Rudi in the afternoon of the second Brussels Multilingualism Day on 25 September 2021.