The German-speaking Community of Belgium (DG)

No, no-one speaks “Belgian” in Belgium – and, yes, German is also spoken there – as well as French and Dutch of course. And because the three languages are everywhere both in their own country and in the region, German-speaking Belgians are multilingual and – almost fortuitously – exhibit a remarkable degree of cultural flexibility.

The German-Speaking Community (DG) of Belgium borders on Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Covering an area of 843 km2, the DG is situated in the east of the country. East Belgians live at the point where Romance and Germanic cultures meet, which makes its mark on their lifestyle and enriches their cultural life. Rhenish customs and Dutch tolerance, French lifestyle and Prussian organisation are fostered. They manage this in many ways. They always have time for a chat at the supermarket and still get to their appointment on time.

East Belgium as a holiday destination

The German-speaking community is home to over 75,000 German-speaking Belgians. The East Belgians live in a place where their national and international neighbours like to take their holidays. Meadows and fields alternate with extensive forests covering as much as half of its total area. Besides the Hohes Venn nature reserve, one of Europe's last intact high moors, the most popular tourist attractions in the Belgian Eifel are the Ourtal valley, the Bütgenbach lake and the mining museum in Recht. In the north of the DG, Eupen with its proud mansions and its dam and the potters’ village of Raeren with its castle are well worth a visit. The pottery made in Raeren is now part of Europe’s cultural heritage. Many visitors combine their stay with culinary pleasures, with which many excellent restaurants spoil their customers.

The German-Speaking Community of Belgium

What makes Belgium special is its languages. Over time, the parts of the country in which different languages are spoken have also developed different cultural and economic ways of life. The structure of Belgium’s federal system, with three regions and three communities is a reflection of these differences. The three communities take account of the cultural differences. There are Flemish, French and German-speaking communities. They administer all the areas of life associated with language and culture, including education and training, personal matters such as family or youth policy and, last but not least, all cultural matters. As an institution, “the German-Speaking Community” – like all federal states – consists of a parliament, government and administration, or civil service. Because of their small size, the lines of communication to the political decision-makers are short. This provides a small region with big opportunities. Where it is not feasible to provide facilities for a population of 75,000, we start looking to our neighbours. Cross-border cooperation is also everywhere in the work of institutions and in the daily life of citizens.

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