Spanish, Austrian, and French domination have left the Flemish
language unaltered for the simple reason that it was never used
as a written language, except for catechisms, prayer-books, legends,
etc., for the use of the lower classes. Since the year 1840 several
scholars of eminence and a number of learned societies have zea¬
lously striven to procure the introduction of Flemish into the higher
political and social circles, but their efforts have hitherto met with
indifferent success. A law was passed in 1873 permitting a more
general use of Flemish in judicial proceedings than had previously
been competent; but, while this may tend to preserve and purify
the language, the fact remains unchanged, that a knowledge of
French is still considered indispensable to all but the lowest agri¬
cultural and labouring classes.
The following peculiarities of pronunciation are common to
Flemish and Dutch: y (in Dutch if) is pronounced like the Eng¬
lish a-ee (but in West Flanders like e), u like the French u, eu like
the French eu, eeu like the English a (in fate), oe like oo, ae like
ah, ou as in English, ui like the French eu-i, oei like we, sch
like s and the guttural ch in the Scotch loch, and sch at the end
of a word almost like s.
After what has been said, it need hardly be added that a slight
knowledge of French will enable the traveller in Belgium to con¬
verse with every one with whom he is likely to come in contact,
and that an acquaintance with the Flemish and Walloon dialects
will probably be of little use except to the philologist. Those
who are ignorant of French will be glad to know that English is
spoken at most of the principal hotels throughout the country.
V. Churches, Picture Galleries, and Collections.
The Churches (Roman Catholic) are usually open from 6 a.m.
till noon, but in the afternoon the visitor must apply to the sacris¬
tan. If the architecture or the pulpit be the chief object of interest it
may be inspected in the forenoon, but when pictures are to be seen
the attendance of the sacristan is necessary, as they are often covered
with curtains or concealed in side-chapels. The best hours in this
case are 12-4 p.m., when there is no service. Fee for one person
'/2-1 fr., and for a party more in proportion. In many churches
the fees are fixed by tariff.
Picture Galleries and Collections are generally open gratis
from 10 or 11 a. m. till 3 or 4 p. m., but on certain days a trifling
fee for admission O/2-l ft-) is sometimes charged. For admission
to town-halls and similar sights, the fee is usually about the same.
In visiting a private collection a single traveller is expected to
give a gratuity of 1-2 fr.