Flemish people

Total population
c. 7 million
(2011 estimate)
Regions with significant populations
 United StatesIndeterminable[a]
(352,630 Belgians)[2]
 South Africa55,200[3]
Dutch (Flemish Dutch)
Roman Catholic majority
Protestant minorities[a]
Related ethnic groups
Walloons and other Germanic peoples (primarily the Dutch, Afrikaners and Frisians)

^a U.S. population census does not differentiate between Belgians and Flemish, therefore the number of the latter is unknown. Flemish people might also indiscriminately identify as Dutch, due to their close association, shared history, language and cultural heritage. There were as many as 4.27 million Dutch Americans, unknown percentage of which might be Flemings.
^b In 2011, 13,840 respondents stated Flemish ethnic origin. Another 176,615 reported Belgian. See List of Canadians by ethnicity

The Flemish or Flemings (Dutch: Vlamingen; Dutch pronunciation: [vlaːmɪŋɛn] (About this soundlisten)) are a Germanic ethnic group native to Flanders, in modern Belgium, who speak Flemish, but mostly use the Dutch written language.[5][6][7][8][9] They are one of two principal ethnic groups in Belgium, the other being the French-speaking Walloons. Flemish people make up the majority of the Belgian population (about 60%). Historically, all inhabitants of the medieval County of Flanders were referred to as "Flemings", irrespective of the language spoken.[10] The contemporary region of Flanders comprises a part of this historical county, as well as parts of the medieval duchy of Brabant and the medieval county of Loon.


The sense of "Flemish" identity increased significantly after the Belgian Revolution. Prior to this, the term "Flemings" in the Dutch language was in first place used for the inhabitants of the former County of Flanders. Flemish however had been used since the 14th century to refer to the language and dialects of both the peoples of Flanders and the Duchy of Brabant.[11] The modern Belgian province of Limburg was not part of the treaty, and only came to be considered "Flemish" in the 19th century.[citation needed]

The Wedding Dance by Pieter Brueghel the Younger, 1625

In 1830 the southern provinces of the United Netherlands proclaimed their independence. French-dialect speaking population, as well as the administration and elites, feared the loss of their status and autonomy under Dutch rule while the rapid industrialization in the south highlighted economic differences between the two. Under French rule (1794–1815), French was enforced as the only official language in public life, resulting in a Frenchification of the elites and, to a lesser extent, the middle classes. The Dutch king allowed the use of both Dutch and French dialects as administrative languages in the Flemish provinces. He also enacted laws to reestablish Dutch in schools.[12] The language policy was not the only cause of the secession; the Roman Catholic majority viewed the sovereign, the Protestant William I, with suspicion and were heavily stirred by the Roman Catholic Church which suspected William of wanting to enforce Protestantism. Lastly, Belgian liberals were dissatisfied with William for his allegedly despotic behaviour.[citation needed]

Following the revolt, the language reforms of 1823 were the first Dutch laws to be abolished and the subsequent years would see a number of laws restricting the use of the Dutch language.[13] This policy led to the gradual emergence of the Flemish Movement, that was built on earlier anti-French feelings of injustice, as expressed in writings (for example by the late 18th-century writer, Jan Verlooy) which criticized the Southern Francophile elites. The efforts of this movement during the following 150 years, have to no small extent facilitated the creation of the de jure social, political and linguistic equality of Dutch from the end of the 19th century.[citation needed]

After the Hundred Years War many Flemings migrated to the Azores. By 1490 there were 2,000 Flemings living in the Azores. Willem van der Haegen was the original sea captain who brought settlers from Flanders to the Azores. Today many Azoreans trace their genealogy from present day Flanders. Many of their customs and traditions are distinctively Flemish in nature such as Windmills used for grain, São Jorge cheese and several religious events such as the imperios and the feast of the Cult of the Holy Spirit.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Vlaminge
العربية: فلمنك
aragonés: Flamencos
azərbaycanca: Flamandlar
беларуская: Фламандцы
български: Фламандци
Чӑвашла: Фламандсем
čeština: Vlámové
Cymraeg: Ffleminiaid
Deutsch: Flamen
eesti: Flaamid
Esperanto: Flandroj
euskara: Flandriar
français: Flamands
한국어: 플람스인
hrvatski: Flamanci
Bahasa Indonesia: Suku Flandria
italiano: Fiamminghi
latviešu: Flāmi
lietuvių: Flamandai
magyar: Flamandok
македонски: Фламанци
മലയാളം: ഫ്ളമിഷ്
Bahasa Melayu: Orang Flemish
Nederlands: Vlamingen
日本語: フラマン人
oʻzbekcha/ўзбекча: Flamandlar
polski: Flamandowie
português: Flamengos
română: Flamanzi
русский: Фламандцы
slovenščina: Flamci
српски / srpski: Фламанци
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Flamanci
suomi: Flaamit
svenska: Flamländare
Türkçe: Flamanlar
українська: Фламандці
中文: 佛拉芒人