The German-speaking Community
The German-speaking Community is a political independent entity, a small state within the Belgian federal system and is legally recognized by article 2 of the constitution.
The German-speaking Community has about 75,000 citizens, for the most part German-speakers.
Its territory, about 854 square kilometres, corresponds to that of the German language region. It is composed of nine municipalities.
German is used in administrative, educational and court matters. The French-speakers receive special language rights called “facilities” i.e. that they get the administrative documents in French.
The territory consists of two distinct parts: in the North, the « Eupener Land » (district of Eupen) is small, but heavily populated and in the South, the Belgian Eifel (district of St Vith).
Eupen and its region house many industries of supraregional importance such as the Eupen cable works and the Jacques chocolate factory. Eupen (18,500 inhabitants) is the seat of the Parliament, the Government and the public radio station of the German-speaking Community, BRF. The sole Belgian German-speaking newspaper (Grenz-Echo) is also published in Eupen.
Many forest and pastureland areas characterize the landscape of the Belgian Eifel; walkers and tourists may find many leisure-time possibilities.
Forestry and agriculture are no longer as important resources as they used to be. In reality, they have been replaced by small and medium-sized craft enterprises. St. Vith is an important commercial and educational centre in the south; there, you can find the Tourist Office of the East Cantons e.g.
The German-speaking Community is perfectly linked to an international road network; you can reach Eupen in one hour’s drive from the congested areas of Brussels, Cologne and Düsseldorf. It is also connected to the Euregio Meuse-Rhine territory and to the cross-border cooperation area Saar-Lor-Lux. Many persons working in Germany or in Luxembourg live in the German-speaking Community.