Majority of Flemish Believe No Immigrants Can Be Truly Belgian

Illustration shows the conditions of waiting outside for asylum seekers in front of the &#

A poll has found that a majority of those living in the Dutch-speaking Belgian region of Flanders believes that no immigrants can be truly Belgian and that to be Belgian requires being born in the country.

The poll of 2,000 residents of Flanders, conducted by the University of Antwerp and the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, found that 55 per cent believed that unless someone is born within Belgium they can never be fully Belgian or Flemish even if they adopt the values and culture of the country.

However, 76 per cent of Flemish people stated that immigrants should adopt Belgian culture and customs as much as they can anyway, with Flemish being convinced that through assimilation people can become Flemish and Belgian themselves, La Libre reports.

Language, particularly in Flanders where a dialect of Dutch is spoken, is a major step toward assimilation for immigrants and 81 per cent of those polled said that learning Dutch is a crucial condition for those becoming Flemish.

Right-wing parties, such as the Flemish separatist Vlaams Belang are likely to be more strict with immigrants but a majority of those surveyed stated that it should be harder for immigrants to obtain Belgian nationality than it is currently.

Belgium has one of the largest migrant and migrant-background populations in Europe, with an estimated one-third of the residents of the country coming from foreign backgrounds according to a report from January 2021.

According to the Belgian statistical agency Statsbel, just 67.9 per cent of Belgian residents are native Belgians, down from 74.3 per cent of the population in 2010.

Mass migration has also played a major roe in Belgium’s population growth, with 90 per cent of the growth in 2019 being attributed to immigration.

Statsbel later reported that in 2020 just over half of all of the children born in the country were born to women of Belgian origin and Belgian nationality, while 25 per cent were born to those who were neither born in Belgium nor acquired Belgian citizenship. the remaining children were born to those from overseas who had become Belgian citizens.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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