Petr Kokaisl & Pavla Kokaislova
Abstract: This paper discusses the German-speaking community (DG) in Belgium and the transformation of its ethnic identity. On the territory of present-day Belgium there lived, for a long time, an indigenous population that speaks a German dialect. However, after part of the German territory was connected to Belgium following World War I, the ethnic transformation of the original German-speaking population changed, but there was also a change of ethnicity in the Germans who became nationals of Belgium. As the German population (or population speaking a German dialect) lives outside the autonomous region of DG, it is possible to examine the government’s influence in shaping ethnicity and language. The paper aims to answer a question concerning the derivation of their ethnicity: What constitutes the ethnicity of the German-speaking population? (E.g. language, location, historical traditions, and common historical origin) and another question concerning the development of language: What impact has the official status of the language had in its development and use?
Keywords: Ethnic Minorities; German-Speaking Community; Belgium; Eupen; Malmedy; Ethnicity; Citizenship; Autonomy.