Next Flanders in Dialogue breaks down local election results


The next edition of the English-language Flanders in Dialogue series takes a look at municipal election results and their impact on expats’ lives

The day after

So you’re all set to vote in the local elections coming up this month. But then what?

If you don’t understand Dutch quite well enough to get through all that jargon in the news, you might feel a little lost understanding election results. And to be honest, even if your Dutch is great, municipal and provincial election news can be confusing.

So we have good news for you: The next Flanders in Dialogue is solely focused on election results. Taking place on 15 October, the day after the vote, an expert will be on hand to talk about the results and field your questions, all in English.

Flanders in Dialogue is a series of free events in English that introduce expats to various topics. Last spring, for instance, attendees learned about why the Flemish are obsessed with cycling and met a two-time Tour of Flanders winner.

The power of local

“Flanders wants to welcome its expats, get to know them better and inform them about Flemish matters that are of interest to them,” explains Jan Buysse, director of Vleva, the Flanders-Europe liaison agency. “Flanders wants to enter into a genuine, constructive dialogue with them. But that’s easier said than done.”

Flanders in Dialogue hopes to have an impact by bringing expats together for events that combine learning something about the region, meeting some of its players, asking them questions and then breaking bread together afterwards.

This autumn’s municipal elections – open to all EU citizens and to other foreigners who have been legally resident in the country for at least five years – offered a perfect opportunity to inform expats in Brussels and Flanders about the effects of local government decisions. So the next edition, which takes place at Vleva’s headquarters in the EU district, is Local Elections: The Day After.

Whether you’re voting or not, the results of this election will affect your immediate surroundings

- Jan Buysse of Vleva

“For this edition of Flanders in Dialogue, we chose the local elections because they affect the daily lives of expats directly,” explains Buysse. “Will there be more investment in bike lanes to make it easier for you to cycle to work? Should the mayor care more for the library, community centre, swimming pool or hospital? Whether you’re voting or not, the results will affect your immediate surroundings.”

During Local Elections: The Day After, Tom Verthé of the Centre for Local Politics at Ghent University, will go over the results in cities that are home to the greatest number of expats. Lisa Bradshaw, the editor of Flanders Today, will then interview Verthé about specific impacts of the results.

“Expats will learn how their municipality, both in Flanders and Brussels, will be governed over the next six years and who is likely to be their mayor,” says Buysse. “They’ll also see the main trends in both regions and what factors contributed to the outcome of the election.”

Flanders in Dialogue: 15 October 18.00-19.00, Vleva, Kortenberglaan 71, Brussels

The event is free, but registration is required

Photo: Dirk Waem/BELGA