Many posts on this blog discusses the Flemish-Wallonian divide. It is easy to get confused. One often wonders, do they speak French in Waterloo or Flemish? Is Antwerp in Flanders or apart of Holland (because they speak Dutch in Antwerpen). Is Brussels considered Flanders or Wallonia? These issues are enough to drive any expat to drink (or a Belgian) and luckily this country is an drinker's heaven.
Did you know that there is a sliver of an area in Belgium that are German speaking?? If you say no, I won't berate you and call you ignorant about Belgium because before I came here, I also had no idea. I first heard of Eupen in my Belgium guide book. I added Eupen to my list of towns I wanted to visit.
According to Wikipedia, Eupen is a municipality located in the province of Liege (Liege is French speaking). It is 15km from the Dutch border and German border. At the end of WWI, Eupen was transferred from Germany to Belgium as was stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles. There
are about 17,000 living there. Eupen is the seat of the German speaking community in Belgium.
On our way back from Liege in June, we stopped off in Eupen. I was fascinated that here I am in Belgium, a country that is bilingual (even if many Belgians don't speak the other official language) and there is a population that speaks German. Actually German is the third official language in Belgium but I don't think many people speak it. Eupen had all the German sensibilities like punctuality, cleanliness and politeness. Walking down the small streets a warm drizzle fell, I could not help but think how complicated politics is here. Even though Eupen is part of Belgium, do these Belgians identify with Wallonia? Eupen is in Wallonia but it is not French speaking and nothing there looked remotely French.
Again this is one of the many Belgian contradictions.