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German (Belgium)

Deutsch-Belgien 

OVERVIEW OF THE LANGUAGE

German is one of the three officially recognized languages in Belgium along with Dutch and French.

There are some 100,000 German speakers in Belgium today; 69,000 living in the areas where German is officially recognized around St Vith and Eupen, and some 20,000-25,000 in the unrecognized areas which include Montzen and Arel. The German-speaking region comprises of 9 municipalities in the eastern part of the province of Liège, which is within the French-speaking area of Belgium.

The official German language community, die Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens has an elected cultural parliament, the "Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft" and a regional government, the "Exekutive der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft". These two bodies administer the autonomous authority given to the German-speaking community, which, since 1988, includes almost complete reponsibility for education.

OVERVIEW OF THE MEDIA

 

Media marked with an asterisk (*) are described in further detail in the media database Mercator Media Database.

The German-speaking community in Belgium has an official state-owned radio station, the BRF - Belgischer Rundfunk der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft* - which broadcasts entirely in German for 16 hours a day and can technically reach a potential audience of 1 million German-speaking listeners. In addition, there are 9 private radio stations which are officially recognized and given frequencies by the government of the German-speaking community - Ministerium der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft. They broadcast almost entirely in German for up to 24 hours a day on various wavelengths in certain localities and regions. These include Radio Aktivität* and Radio Fantasy*.

The Medienzentrum* in Eupen which is the main central library in Eastern Belgium and the main centre for documenting videos, cassettes and CDs, is responsible for coordinating German language programmes broadcast on television via the satellite channel Télévesdre*.

There is one German daily newspaper, "Grenz-Echo" which is prepared, published and distributed by "Grenz-Echo Verlag"* situated in Eupen. The paper covers international and regional news, current affairs and regional culture and has a circulation of around 13 500. The publishing house is also responsible for a monthly German magazine published in Brussels "Der Kontakt" and annually produces a selection of books which range from cultural, political and regional interests to novels. A total of 10 books were published in 1994.