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German-speaking Community
Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft
—  Community of Belgium  —

Flag
Country Belgium
Established 1993
Capital Eupen
Government
 - Minister-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz
Day of the German-speaking Community November 15
Language German
Website www.dglive.be
The Executive (government) of the German-speaking Community meets in Eupen.

The German-speaking Community of Belgium (German: Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens, DG, Dutch: Duitstalige Gemeenschap) is one of the three federal communities in Belgium.[1] It is the main part of the so-called East Cantons (German Ost-Kantone) of Belgium. It has an area of 854 km², and a population of over 73,000, of which almost 100% are German speaking (traditionally Ripuarian-speaking). This is about 0.73% of Belgium's entire population. Its capital is Eupen; it is part of the province of Liège (Lüttich), and borders on the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg. Historically, the Walloon city of Arlon, has a German-dialect speaking population, (Luxembourgian), however it is not officially considered part of the German-speaking community in Belgium.

Contents

History

The area known today as the East Cantons consists of the German-speaking Community and the municipalities of Malmedy and Waimes (Weismes), which belong to the French Community of Belgium. The East Cantons were part of the Rhine Province of Prussia in Germany until 1920 (as the counties (Landkreise) of Eupen and Malmedy), but were annexed by Belgium following Germany's defeat in World War I and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles.[2] Thus they also became known as the cantons rédimés, "redeemed cantons". The peace treaty of Versailles demanded the "questioning" of the local population, about their political status. This process was not carried out as an anonymous plebiscite. Instead those locals who were unwilling to become Belgians and who wanted the region to remain a part of Germany were required to register themselves along with their full name and address. In fact the Belgian military administration, headed by Herman Baltia, prevented an equitable carrying out of this "questioning" and many locals feared reprisals or even expulsion after enlisting.

In the mid-1920s, there were secret negotiations between Germany and Belgium and the kingdom of Belgium seemed to be inclined to sell the region back to Germany as a way to improve its finances. A price of 200 million gold marks has been mentioned.[2] At this point the French government fearing for the complete postwar order intervened at Brussels and the Belgian-German talks were called off.

The new cantons had been part of Belgium for just 20 years when in 1940 they were retaken by Germany in World War II. The majority of people of the east cantons welcomed this as they considered themselves German. Following the defeat of Germany in 1945 the cantons were once again annexed by Belgium, and as a result of alleged collaboration with Nazi Germany an attempt was made to de-Germanize the local population by the Belgian and Walloon authorities.

In the early 1960's Belgium was divided into four linguistic areas, the Dutch speaking Flemish area, the French speaking area, the bilingual capital of Brussels, and the German speaking area of the east cantons. In 1973, three communities and three regions were established and granted internal autonomy. The legislative Parliament of the German-speaking Community, Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, was set up. Today the German-speaking Community has a fair degree of autonomy, especially in language and cultural matters, but it still remains part of the region of French speaking Wallonia. There has been much argument in the past few years that the German-speaking Community should also become its own region which is an ongoing process with the permanent transfer with previous accord of some competences concerning social policy, conservation of sites and monuments, environment protection policy, transport, the financing of municipalities, among other things from the Walloon Region. One of the proponents of full regional autonomy for the German-speaking Community is the current Minister-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Government

The German-speaking Community has its own government, which is appointed for five years by its own parliament.[3] The Government is headed by a Minister-President, who acts as the "prime minister" of the Community, and is assisted by the Ministry of the German-speaking Community. The government currently formed by four Ministers:

  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President and Minister for District Authorities.
  • Oliver Paasch, Minister for Education, Formation and Employment.
  • Isabelle Weykmans, Minister for Culture, Media and Tourism.
  • Harald Mollers, Minister for Family, Health and Social Affairs

Municipalities in the German-speaking Community

The seat of the Executive and Council of the German-speaking Community in Eupen

The German-speaking Community consists of the following nine municipalities:[4]

Flag and coat of arms

The entrance of the ministerial building of the German-speaking Community shows the coat of arms of the Community, which has the nine cinquefoils arranged differently from the flag, and also sports a royal crown.

In 1989, there was a call for proposals for a flag and arms of the Community. In the end the coat of arms of the Community was designed by merging the arms of the Duchy of Limburg and the Duchy of Luxembourg, to which the two parts of the community had historically belonged.

A decree adopted on 1 October 1990 and published on 15 November 1990 prescribed the arms, the flag, the colours as well as the Day of the German-speaking Community of Belgium, which was to be celebrated annually on November 15.[5]

The coat of arms, in heraldic blazon, is: Arms: Argent, a lion rampant gules between nine cinquefoils azure. Crest: A royal crown. The flag shows a red lion together with nine blue cinquefoils on a white field. The colours of the German-speaking Community are white and red in a horizontal position.

See also

References

External links

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Simple English

The German-speaking Community of Belgium (German: Deutschsprachige Gemeinschaft Belgiens, short DGB) is one of the three federal communities in Belgium. It is the main part of the so-called East Cantons (German Ost-Kantone) of Belgium. It has an area of 854 km2 (329.7 sq mi), and a population of over 73,000, of which almost 100% are German speaking (traditionally Ripuarian-speaking).

Its capital is Eupen; it is part of the province of Liège and borders on the Netherlands, Germany, and Luxembourg.

The area was known as Eupen-Malmedy, and is now called the East Cantons. It is made up of the German-speaking Community and the municipalities of Malmedy and Waimes (Weismes), which belong to the French-Speaking Community of Belgium.

The East Cantons were part of the Rhine Province of Prussia in Germany until 1920 but were annexed by Belgium following Germany's defeat in World War I and the subsequent Treaty of Versailles. Thus they also became known as the cantons rédimés, "redeemed cantons". The peace treaty of Versailles demanded the "questioning" of the local population about their political status.

This was not a secret vote, and anyone who did not want to become Belgian had to register their full name and address. Many locals feared reprisals or even expulsion after enlisting.

In the mid-1920s the kingdom of Belgium seemed to want to sell the region back to Germany. The French government told the Belgians to stop the Belgian-German talks about the deal.

In 1940 the new cantons were retaken by Germany in World War II. They had only been in Belgium for 20 years, so the majority of people of the east cantons still thought of themselves as German. Following the defeat of Germany in 1945 the cantons were once again taken over by Belgium.

In the early 1960s Belgium was divided into four language areas, the Dutch speaking Flemish area, the French speaking area, the bilingual capital of Brussels, and the German speaking area of the east cantons. In 1973, three communities and three regions were established and granted internal autonomy. The legislative Parliament of the German-speaking Community, Rat der Deutschsprachigen Gemeinschaft, was set up. Today the German-speaking Community has a degree of self government, especially in language and cultural matters, but it still part of French speaking Wallonia.

Some people want the German-speaking Community to be its own region. One of these is the current Minister-President Karl-Heinz Lambertz.

Government

The German-speaking Community has its own government, which is appointed for five years by its parliament. The Government is headed by a Minister-President, who acts as the "prime minister" of the Community, and is assisted by the Ministry of the German-speaking Community. The government currently formed by four Ministers:

  • Karl-Heinz Lambertz, Minister-President and Minister for District Authorities
  • Bernd Gentges, Deputy Minister-President and Minister for Vocational Training and Employment, Social Policy and Tourism
  • Oliver Paasch, Minister for Education and Research
  • Isabelle Weykmans, Minister for Culture and Media, Monuments and Sites, Youth and Sport

Towns and cities in the German-speaking Community

Other Websites


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