Taxi drivers at Brussels Airport will be off duty for two and a half hours on Friday. They protested against the Flemish government's intention to make the Dutch language exam compulsory next year.
Despite its name – Brussels Airport – the airport is not located in the Brussels region, but in Flanders. The Flemish government believes that drivers should be able to speak Dutch with their customers at at least a B1 level. This means that anyone can speak “simple Dutch”.
If the government's plans go ahead, taxi drivers will have to take a Dutch language test from July 1, 2024. Belgian unions fear three-quarters of taxi drivers could lose their licence. According to the unions, most drivers do not speak enough Dutch.
Most drivers come from French-speaking Brussels. Although the city is officially bilingual, a large portion of it barely speaks Dutch.
Taxi drivers say they find this measure “disproportionate” and that they can now communicate well with their customers.
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