It has a statute of commune of the linguistic border with special statute for its French-speaking minority, as it is the case for several common Belgians.
There are 4.312 inhabitants in this commune, of which approximately 40% of French-speaking people (it is an estimate, because there no was linguistic census since decades).
Its surface is of 50 km ².
It is the only part of the province of Flemish Limbourg being on Right Bank of the Meuse: " In addition to Meuse ". The commune of Fourons was attached in 1963 to the Flemish province of Limbourg, following the final fixing of the linguistic Frontière in Belgium this same year. This in spite of the will of the majority of her inhabitants to remain in the province of Liege.
LocalitiesThe commune includes/understands the six old communes Fourons:
- Fouron-Saint-Martin (Sint-Martens-Voeren)
- Fouron-Saint-Pierre (Sint-Pieters-Voeren)
- Mouland (Moelingen)
- Rémersdael (Remersdaal, Walloon Rebievå in )
GeographyThe territory merges with the valley of the Voer , which is thrown out of Right Bank of the Meuse to Eijsden (Maastricht, Netherlands).
The commune is surrounded by communes of the Province of Liege: (Aimed to the south and the west, Dalhem and Aubel in the south, and Plombières in the east), except with north, border with the Netherlands.
Historybefore the French revolution, will fourons them were an oriental party of the Duché of Limbourg (for recall this duchy has nothing to do with the current province Belgian of Limbourg which it then formed part of the principality of Liege) See also (Dutch)
Linguistic problemsHistorically, part of the inhabitants spoke the local language, a dialect known locally under the name of Plattdüütsch . The administrative language into force since the introduction of the Belgian State in 1830 was French.
During the 20th century, the inhabitants adopted either Dutch gradually or French. The French-speaking Belgians represent currently a little more than 45% as shows it the elections of the CPAS. As before the official determination of the linguistic Frontière (1963) the territory belonged to the province of Liege, the local population spoke the limbourgeois but had habit to employ French while speaking with French-speaking people and Dutch while speaking with the Dutch-speaking ones. In 1963 Fouronais were generally quadrilingual (limbourgeois-Netherlander-French-German). In 2007 one speaks Dutch, French or limbourgois. With dimensions one of the French-speaking people only the people of more than 45 years still speak in limbourgeois. With dimensions about the Dutch-speaking ones the children still speak each other in limbourgois.
With the communal elections, the French-speaking majority had habit to carry it, which caused regular tensions with the Dutch-speaking provincial capacity of supervision (the commune depends on the province of Limbourg since September 1st 1963) and the Dutch-speaking minority; the quarrels went back sometimes to the top since it is the problem of Jose Happart which because the fall of the sixth Martens government on October 21st, 1987. It had gained the municipal elections and had been proposed as burgomaster. But owing to the fact that he did not know absolutely Dutch, he could not be named in a Flemish commune, in spite of the will democratically expressed by the population. It is Nico Droeven, member of the same party as Happart but which knew Dutch, who obtained the station. Jose Smeets succeeded to him in 1994.
At the time of the municipal elections of October 8th, 2000, it is the Flemish party which gained of a seat on the Walloon party “Return to Liege” thanks to the voices Dutchwomen. However, at the elections for the public Center of social action (OCMW/CPAS) of the same year, “Return to Liege” preserved the majority owing to the fact that for this vote the Netherlanders could not take part whereas, for the local elections, the active and passive right to vote had been granted for the first time to the citizens of the other Member States of the EU living in the commune. In the case of Fourons it acted especially of Netherlanders who, because of their linguistic affinities voted for the Flemish party. It was necessary however more than six months before Huub Broers could become the first Flemish burgomaster of Fourons. The members of the Retour party to Liege wanted to make recognize the disability of the elections owing to the fact that Marnixring (association of activists flamingants) had sought to influence the elections by distributing small presents to the Netherlanders among whom a free subscription with the daily newspaper Het Belang van Limburg . It is an interview with Bep Mergelsberg in the Dutch daily newspaper De Limburger which revealed it.
With the communal elections of 2006 the Dutch-speaking ones strengthened their recent majority with 60,8% of the voices compared with 39,2% for the French-speaking people. The number of the Netherlanders increased until 26% and the Young French-speaking people seek more and more houses in the close villages.
- Official site of the Municipal authorities
- Site '' Retour @ Freedoms '', in the past Retour to Liege
- Blogue of the Group '' Retour @ Libertés ''
- Site fouronnais
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