The Frenchification of Brussels
is the transformation of Brussels
, from a Dutch
-speaking city to one that is bilingual or even multilingual, with French
as both the majority language and lingua franca
. The dominant aspect of this transition was the shift from Dutch to French among local Flemish
residents over several generations, though immigration of French-speakers and international immigration also played a role.
The transition began gradually in the 18th century, but accelerated after the Belgian Revolution
, with Brussels as the capital of newly independent Belgium. In spite of the Dutch-speaking majority, French was made the sole official language, and French was the language of the government, the courts, culture, the media and education. The Dutch language had a low social prestige in Belgium at the time, and knowledge of French was considered necessary for social advancement. The massive shift from Dutch to French was underway by the late 19th century. At first there was a surge in the number of bilingual residents, mostly native Dutch speakers who had learned how to speak French, at the expense of monolingual Dutch speakers. As Dutch was often not passed down from one generation to another, the number of monolingual francophones in Brussels grew considerably. Halfway through the 20th century, the number of monolingual French-speakers surpassed the number of bilingual French/Dutch speakers.
In the 1960s the Belgian language......