Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Belgium
About two thirds of the people living in Belgium are Flemish,
but the Walloons make up a significant minority group (nearly a third of the population).
The Flemish people are identical, ethnically and linguistically, to the Dutch in
the Netherlands, but identify quite differently due
to cultural and political differences. The Walloons are a people a little more difficult
to define; they are French-speaking and nearly identical
to the French genetically, but claim a distinct ethnicity. These people have lived
in this region of Belgium for a long time and identify as Walloons, a definition
primarily based on cultural and historic differences, not genetic differences, although
they do exist.
Belgium has three official languages:
Dutch, French, and German.
The Flemish generally speak Dutch, which is sometimes referred to as Flemish, the
Walloons speak French and a very small minority in the east speaks German. Dutch
and German are similar in that they are both Germanic languages, but Dutch has many
similarities to English. French is a Romance language and is more closely related
to other Latin-based languages, such as Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Romanian.