Flemish, also known as Southern Dutch or Belgian Dutch, is any of the numerous Dutch language dialects used in Zeelandic Flanders, French Flanders, and Flanders (northern part of Belgium) by over 6.5 million individuals. Flemish refers to the people, culture, and region of northern Belgium. Belgium recognized Dutch, German, and French as the three official languages of the country, with Dutch being the most widespread. There are four Dutch dialects in Flanders: Limburgish, West Flemish, East Flemish, and Brabantian. Brabantian is the main contributor to tussentaal (Flemish Dutch).
Where Is Flemish spoken?
Flanders is one of the languages, regions, and community areas of the country which occupies an area of about 5,221 square miles. It is the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium and the official capital city of Flanders is Brussels. The government of Flanders governs the community aspect of the region including education and culture. Even though it’s not a bigger part of the country by area, Flanders is home to over 68.5% of the Belgian population (7,876,873).
Flanders has a population density of about 1,200 Belgians per square mile. Flanders borders Wallonia to the south, the Netherlands to the east and north, and France to the western side near the coast. The official bilingual enclave in the Flemish area is Brussels.
The region is divided into five provinces: Limburg, Antwerp, Flemish Brabant, West Flanders, and East Flanders. Flemish Brabant is the newest province that was created in 1995 after the Brabant province was split. The largest municipality in Flanders by population is Antwerp with over 1,824,136 residents while Limburg is the smallest municipality (863,425).
The French Flanders is part of the Flanders County situated in present-day France where Dutch is still spoken. The Dutch and Flemings were the dominant ethnic groups in French Flanders. French Flanders lies in the present-day area of Hauts-de-France and corresponds to Dunkirk, Douai, and Lille arrondissements on the southern boundary with Belgium. French Flanders together with Cambresis and French Hainaut make up the Nord department. It is a flat marshland situated in a coal-rich region to the southern parts of the North Sea. French Flanders is made up of two areas; Walloon Flanders and French Westhoek. The French Westhoek lies between the North Sea and Lys River while Walloon Flanders is on the southern side of Lys River.
Zeelandic Flanders is the southernmost area of Zeeland province, Netherlands. It is the northeastern part of the historical region of Flanders that currently lies in Belgium. Zeelandic Flanders shares a land boundary with West Flanders and the eastern Belgian provinces. It is bordered by Belgium to the south, Drowned Saeftinghe Land to the east, and the Zwin nature reserve to the west. Zeelandic Flanders is on the southern side of Western Scheldt. It occupies an area of about 338 square miles of which 55 square miles is water while 283 square miles is land. Zeelandic Flanders has over 106,522 inhabitants.
Zeelandic Flanders is made up of three municipalities: Hulst, Terneuzen, and Sluis. Zeelandic Flemish is the native dialect of the western side of the region. Land-van-Cadzands and Land-van-Axels dialects are spoken in the central area of Zeelandic Flanders. East Flemish influenced with Brabantian is used in the eastern parts of the region.
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