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Brief history of our Dutch Language House

Establishment

The Dutch Language House Brussels was established by decree in 2004, together with Dutch Language Houses in every Flemish province and in the cities of Ghent and Antwerp. 

All of them shared one common task: not to teach themselves, but to decide on the course or pathway that is best suited for Brussels residents who want to learn Dutch. 

From the outset, the Dutch Language House Brussels had 3 further tasks: 

  • Language promotion: Encouraging inhabitants of Brussels to learn, practise and use Dutch
  • NT2 support: Matching Brussels language courses and other initiatives to the people and the city of Brussels
  • Language policy: Supporting Brussels services, organisations and companies with questions about Dutch in their operations

Later the other Dutch Language Houses were also assigned these tasks.

Growth

The Dutch Language House grew bigger every year. Not only did more people from Brussels drop by for advice, the Language Promotion and Language Policy projects also proved very successful. After Brussels, the Patati Patata project was also launched in Ghent, the Bijt project in Brussels became Bijt in je Vrije Tijd in Flanders, the Taalgarage was also introduced in Antwerp and Limburg after a while, and together with the Huis van het Nederlands Antwerp we combined our expertise Duidelijk Nederlands in the workplace. The Language Icons, originally launched as a small Brussels project, are now used throughout Flanders and on platforms such as UiTinVlaanderen.

10 years of the Dutch Language House & merger with Bru-taal

In October 2013 it was party time at BOZAR, as the Dutch Language House celebrated its 10th anniversary. By then, our intake figures had already risen to more than 15,000 Brussels residents a year, all wanting to learn Dutch. A little later, in 2014, we became even bigger after merging with the non-profit organisation Bru-taal. Bru-taal was set up around the same time as the Dutch Language House and organised conversation tables at various locations in Brussels. Thanks to the merger, there was one comprehensive package: 1 body with 1 full range of language lessons, practice activities, methodologies and material to learn Dutch. The entire staff team of Bru-taal and the dozens of Dutch-speaking volunteers who supervised the conversation tables made the switch.

From eight Houses to 1 Brussels House and 3 agencies

For the 8 Dutch Language Houses, 2015 was an important year. Seven of the eight Houses disappeared. Three EVAs (external autonomous agencies) were created for integration and civic integration. These include the former Dutch Language Houses, reception agencies, integration services and social interpreters. The three Agencies are:

  • the Flemish Integration and Civic Integration Agency 
  • the Ghent-based In-Gent Agency 
  • the Antwerp-based Atlas Agency 

In Brussels, the Dutch Language House Brussels remained in existence. The House remains the address for all Brussels residents who want to learn or practise Dutch. 

The former Brussels reception agency bon and the integration services of Foyer are part of the Flemish Integration and Civic Integration Agency.