I Linguistic walls in Brussels schools?


Schools divided by language in Brussels

Visited schools

A. In November 2014, Europe celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. The existence of this wall arbitrarily separa- ting human beings does not make any sense today, and especially difficult to imagine in a country like Belgium, the capital of the European Union. As Marcello Di Cintio wrote: "By reducing the prospects for dialogue, walls in society create two sides and force us to choose one of them".

B. And yet, today, a wall more than two kilome- ters long does exist in the middle of Brussels. The playgrounds, dining halls and corridors of more than 90 schools are physically separated by barriers or red lines into a section reserved for children being taught in French and a section reserved for children being taught in Dutch.

C. What exactly are we referring to? What are these walls in practice?


Of adults aged under 45 who went to school in Brus- sels, nearly one in ten faced these walls between communities


Each day, around 30,000 children are confronted with these physical barriers in 90 schools across Brussels.


These walls between the communities prevent all these children from experiencing fully the linguistic diversity of Brussels,which would be considered anywhere else in the world to be one of our capital's strengths.

2 km

The Brussels-Capital region is littered with walls that, if placed end-to-end, would form a wall / barri- er nearly two kilometers long, the distance as the crow flies from the Manneken Pis to the Cinquantenaire park.