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Belgium and Sri Lanka


Belgium - A View

Belgium in Europe, is bordered with Netherlands, France and Germany. The population of Belgium is a little over one crore. This country has a very complex ethnic composition.

  • 59 per cent of the total population lives in the Flemish region and speaks Dutch language
  • 40 per cent people live in the Wallonia region and speak French.
  • The remaining speaks German.

In the capital city, Brussels ...

  • 80 per cent people speak French
  • 20 per cent are Dutch-speaking.

Ethnic Composition of Belgium

The French-speaking community which was the minority was relatively rich and powerful. The Dutch-speaking community, who got the benefit of economic development and education much later, resented it. Due to this, a number of tensions arose between the Dutch-speaking and French-speaking communities during the 1950s and 1960s. Brussels being the capital, faced the tensions more. There was a special problem there. The Dutch-speaking people constituted a majority in the country, but a minority in the capital.

Sri Lanka is an island, in the Indian Ocean near the southern tip of India.

Its population is about 2 crores. The population of Sri Lanka is diverse.

  • 74 per cent are Sinhala-speakers
  • 18 per cent are the Tamil-speakers

Among Tamils there are two subgroups ...........

  • ‘Sri Lankan Tamils’
who constitute 13 per cent of the population are the Tamil natives of the country.
  • ‘Indian Tamils’
  • are the rest, whose forefathers came from India as plantation workers during colonial period.

    While most of the Tamils are Hindus or Muslims, most of the Sinhala-speaking people follow Buddhism. There are both Tamil and Sinhala who make up about 7 per cent, and they follow Christianity.

    Sri Lanka – Cultural diversity

    • The Dutch community in Belgium, could take advantage of its numeric majority and force its will on the French and German-speaking population. This would aggravate the conflict among the communities further and may lead to a partition of the country with both the sides claiming control over Brussels.
    • In Sri Lanka, the Sinhala community could impose its will on the entire country since it enjoyed an even bigger majority.  

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