01 Nov '20

Defining typically Belgian

door Anne Peeters
Are Flemish and French-speaking Belgians so very different from each other? ‘Not really. It is the people of Brussels who really stand out.’

In his book entitled Typisch Belgisch. Gedeelde gewoontes in een verdeeld land, journalist Lukas Vanacker explores what makes Belgians Belgian. It is a witty and easily identifiable observation. Vanacker has spent many years compiling lists of what characterises Belgians: a specific glass for every beer, ribbon development, large family gatherings. And fiddling. ‘I live in a very mixed neighbourhood in Laken and I like it that way. Typical Belgian traditions, like eating a tart with your family every Sunday or making friends for life in a youth movement, are less common in Brussels. Look, everything changes. Society is changing. Lots of things remain familiar, but what it takes for something to be described as typically Belgian, typically Brussels, Flemish or French-speaking, will also change.’