Miss Belgium Doesn’t Speak Dutch

Alizee Poulicek, the new Miss Belgium, speaks three languages. Unfortunately, Dutch is not among them.

Miss Belgium Doesn’t Speak Dutch Belgium Belgium’s political tensions entered the glamour stakes after it was revealed that the new Miss Belgium does not speak Dutch.

Alizee Poulicek, who comes from the country’s French-speaking region, was booed by some of the 4,000 audience when she admitted that she could not understand a question put to her in Dutch at the contest on Saturday night in the main Flemish city of Antwerp. Poulicek, a 20-year-old language student, speaks French, Czech and English, but Flemish tabloid daily Het Laatste Niuews headlined its Monday edition with: “Miss Belgium does not speak Dutch”.

The paper underlined that the “community crisis in our country” — where there is no government six months after general elections amid bickering between leaders of the main French and Flemish parties — “has insinuated itself into even the lightest sector.” Poulicek’s victory “is not going down well,” the daily said.

She said she had been taking Dutch lessons before the contest and has pledged to improve her standard in one of Belgium’s three official languages, along with French and German.

The incident did not hurt her image with television viewers who voted for her, but Flemish journalists assailed her with questions at a press conference, highlighting her deficiencies in their tongue.

The Flemish community accounts for 60 percent of Belgium’s 10.5 million people. A further 3.5 million live in Wallonia and one million in the largely Francophone, but officially bilingual Brussels.

It’s rather odd that she speaks Czech* and not Dutch but one presumes that a significant number of 20-year-old Belgians don’t speak all three of the country’s official languages.

Obviously, the solution is for them to all speak English . . . .

UPDATE: It turns out that she’s the “daughter of a Czech father and a Belgian mother” and “spent half her life in the Czech Republic, returning to Belgium just six years ago.” She’s also a “Czech model.” Freddy, an intrepid staffer at Gone Hollywood, has found photos.

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James Joyner
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James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Grewgills says:

    It’s rather odd that she speaks Czech

    Her father is Czech.

    Obviously, the solution is for them to all speak English . . . .

    Fortunately for your solution most do.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I never made it across to Belgium but certainly almost everyone in Amsterdam does. And that makes sense on the Czech.

  3. Tlaloc says:

    Freddy, an intrepid staffer at Gone Hollywood, has found photos.

    Yeah, well if my job consisted of looking for pictures of models on the internet I’d be pretty interipd, too! Instead I’m merely a highly ranked amateur.

  4. Anderson says:

    Blonde Eurobimbos only speak 3 or 4 languages ….

  5. John Burgess says:

    Anderson: Can you point me to a map about that?

  6. DC Loser says:

    I lived in the French speaking part of Belgium, and it’s true most of the Walloons can speak only French, though there are quite a few bilingual Flemish speakers also. In most of Flanders, many can speak English, though I’m not sure of their fluency in French.

  7. Tano says:

    Hmmm, who cares what language she speaks?

  8. Boyd says:

    Finally, something I can agree with Tano about! 🙂

    And I could extend his comments, but being a retired sailor, they would probably violate James’s site policies. And if they don’t, they should.

  9. dutchgirl says:

    Imagine if Miss America only spoke spanish? There’d be plenty of people upset about that. Same goes here. (And while Dutch and Flemmish are very similar, they are not the same. The pretty blond should learn Flemmish)

  10. Pasmoi says:

    I don’t understand the number of people who speak Flemish vs. French vs. German in Belgium. According to the article 60% of 10.5 million speak Dutch (Flemish). Then it says an additional 3.5 million Flanderites live in Wallonia. That only leaves 700,000 people who speak French and/or German. Can anyone from Belgium or elsewhere clarify this because something smells fishy in Belgium.

  11. DC Loser says:

    The article states:

    The Flemish community accounts for 60 percent of Belgium’s 10.5 million people. A further 3.5 million live in Wallonia and one million in the largely Francophone, but officially bilingual Brussels.

    That means, the population of Flander is about 6 million. Wallonia has 3.5 million, and the bi-lingual district of Brussels has 1 million, which brings the total Belgian population to 10.5 million. These numbers are not about linguistic communities but rather population in each geographic area.