Elsene to merge Dutch and French cultural programmes and libraries

Summary

The Brussels municipality’s Dutch- and French-speaking culture teams are working together to draw up a common cultural policy and agenda for the next five years

Two to tango

Elsene is claiming a first in Brussels by merging its Dutch- and French-speaking cultural programmes, including libraries, theatres and artist residences. The municipality wants to offer a completely bilingual experience to residents, many of whom have been asking for the barriers between the two linguistic communities to be removed.

The municipality’s Dutch- and French-speaking culture teams are now working together, in the same office, to draw up a common cultural policy and agenda for the next five years. “Some people don’t even realise that we have two libraries,” commented Céline Letartre, the municipality’s head of libraries. “That's one of the issues that this merger should solve.”

Three extra workers, who are bilingual, have been hired to help bring the two teams together and share best practices. “This is just the beginning,” said Els Gossé, the city councillor responsible for Dutch-speaking culture in Elsene, a municipality popular with expats. “Little by little, we will work together on joint projects.”

Ixelles already has a multilingual literary festival. Living Stories takes place in May in people’s homes located between the two municipal libraries.

Photo: Elsene’s Dutch-language library
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