If there’s one acronym you need to know when living in Belgium it’s BHV and for the uninitiated it stands for Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, it’s a big hoo-ha and has to do with the problem of appointing and keeping a prime minister who can cope with the turmoil. Belgium has to be split along this line, with Vilvoorde North of Brussel and Halle to the South, it has to a lot to do with how people pay taxes, apparently there are more Flemish working in Brussels who pay taxes there and they don’t feel they are getting the benefit of these taxes, don’t quote me! I don’t think anyone else in Belgium really feels the language issue except the people living in and around Brussels, that’s us. We live in a ‘commune a faciliter’ or a ‘fasciliteitsgemeente’ which means that this ‘should’ be a Flemish area but because many Francophones have settled here, they decided to given in and make it bilingual, there are 7 similar areas around Brussels. What does this mean? It means that if I go to my local municipality or a local shop I may theoretically speak Dutch or French. In practice I am still careful because village boundaries just pop up out of nowhere.
Today everyone in Belgium is voting while the South Africans are out there watching soccer in the colour and noise-filled stadiums, watching on Tv is akin to listening to a large swarm of bees buzzing very loudly, well done, Bafana Bafana!