English is number-two language in Brussels
English is the second most common language spoken in Brussels, as the number of French speakers declines slightly and the number of those able to speak Dutch increases. But one in 10 residents of the capital speak none of the three main languages, according to the results of the Language Barometer released last week by the Free University of Brussels (VUB).
Just over 88% of the population in Brussels speaks French well to very well. English is second, at nearly 30%, followed by Dutch at 23%. Arabic comes in fourth place, with 18% of the population speaking the language. Arabic is followed by Spanish and German.
According to Guy Vanhengel, chair of the Flemish Community Commission in Brussels, the advance of Dutch is a testament to the success of Dutch-language education in the capital, where increasing numbers of children are sent from homes in which the parents do not speak Dutch.
The study also shows a drop in the number of households where a single language is spoken.
Given the position of English as a working language in Brussels, Flemish education minister Pascal Smet once again raised the possibility of introducing it as an official third language. “That would be a strong signal towards the international community,” he said.